Lana Del Rey - Born To Die

09 February, 2012

By  Katerina Antonopoulou

After having heard Elisabeth Grant's aka Lana Del Rey debut album titled "Born To Die" for about 2 days on repeat while driving back and forth to work, in the bathroom, while making dinner and walking my dogs, I still haven't reached a solid conclusion about what I truly think of her. Which could mean only one of two things. One, I'm either less smart than I would like to believe I am or two, she has a great production team backing her up who created an album which is not bad or entirely boring but is definitely not the album you would fall in love with. 

Granted the persona of a "gangsta Nancy Sinatra" she created (or was it her rich daddy's minions - the opinions depend on what kind of magazines / internet sites you choose to read) is extremely appealing, very hipster-like and "vintagy" (god, I hate that term). Singing about falling in love with bad boys, money, dancing on tables, death, drugs and alcohol, all combined with the sexy image of a semi naked Lana pouting, drinking and / or making out with hot guys in her retro video clips has resulted in gaining fans all over the world declaring their undying love and admiration for her style, her voice and ultimately her songs but she has also gained many sworn enemies who reject anything of the above with the excuse of the unoriginality of the whole package. Obviously her disappointing, to say the least, appearance in SNL didn't help her prove herself worthy of admiration. 

One thing is for certain though. I really dig her album voice. Again I'm making this distinction because as I said, a) she has a canning team behind her and b) SNL. I thoroughly enjoy her singing style. It's haunting and in moments its captivating. She may not be great but you hear a decent voice with interesting highs and lows. Hell, she even talk-raps in "Off to the races". A digitally enhanced song where you hear a Lolita voice compelling you. "Born to die", "Blue Jeans" and "Video Games" you know them. You've heard them. You've danced with them. Her proclaimed self-made videos of the songs are the ones which made her the talk of those who have internet connection. Yes they're heavily produced, yes she couldn't back it up live, but you have to admit she sounds irritatingly old school cool. And maybe her lyric in "Video Games": "this is my idea of fun.. playing video games…" is the one in this album that is the most honest when it comes to our age and personal relationships. 

"Dark Paradise" is a song devoted to death and love. Admittedly its full of clichés, but it is one track that makes a difference because of it synths. So after six tracks it comes as a refreshing sound in the album. "Carmen" and "Million Dollar Man" are representatives of what Del Rey does best. Sing songs with a dreamy filling, a bit jazzy, with a sexy sad voice which would make interesting video clips. 

"This is what makes us girls" is perhaps a more autobiographical song. Full of what a 16 year old dreams in her life. Well a sixteen year old like Del Rey sees them. As not all sweet sixteen year olds steal police cars with the seniors, nor do they look for heaven and put love first. But hey, whatever works to work that image and walk that walk. 

The thing with this record is that it's empty. Nothing brilliant in it, nothing that vividly stands out. She is pleasant to the ear and to eye. She has a very nice sense of style and her videos are worth watching. But those characteristics are not enough to justify the hype that has been created for her. Her music is just a background like any other mediocre pop album and with the exception of two or three songs we probably won't remember her in five years from now. Until then though, get ready to hear her everywhere you go. Between you and me though, that's not a bad thing. I enjoy her voice way more than I enjoy those god-awful X Factor bands. 



Primary Genre: Pop

Subgenre: Indy-pop

Release Date: 31 January 2012

Label: Polydor

Influences: Hope Sandoval

Like This And You'll Probably Also Like:  Cults, James Blake

Album Highlights: Video Games, Born To Die, Blue Jeans, Million Dollar Man








"Well I have to say this isn't really my cup of tea if I'm very honest... but I guess, if pushed really, really hard, I can see what the appeal is. Yet it just doesn't work for me: I don't particularly love the vocals, the lyrics nor the music. Neither do I hate it though, it must be said, so 5/10"




Contributor mini-profile

Katerina Antonopoulou

Katerina Antonopoulou

10 Fluffy Reviews
Remember what Dread Astaire used to sing: “Shit happens when you party naked”. It sounds disturbingly fun. Don’t you think?
Mini bio

She almost failed math in high school because instead of solving integrals she kept reading "Q" and "NME". Luckily she is somewhat intelligent and managed to get her degree from Uni. She now works her way towards becoming a broker, which would be relatively easy if it wasn't for the fact that her social skills are equal to those of Mr Bean.

Favourite Bands / Artists
The Kills
The Eighties Matchbox B Line Disaster
The Libertines
Kings Of Leon
A.R.E. Weapons
Warren Zevon
Frank Sinatra
The Dead Weather
The White Stripes
Depeche Mode