Newest Review: ... that I had to look round and my eyes were immediately fixed to the T.V. screen. The lyrics talk of being in love with someone despite being... more
Born to be Replayed.
Born To Die - Lana Del Rey
Member Name: SmoothCriminal
Born To Die - Lana Del Rey
Advantages: Compelling lyrics, gorgeous voice, addictive hooks
Disadvantages: Two weaker tracks
The opening track, 'Born to Die' is without a doubt one of my favourite songs of the past five years. The song speaks of a dark and dangerous love, where the protagonist knows that the relationship will not last, but as with life, one must embrace it and enjoy for however long it lasts. "Don't make me sad, don't make cry/Sometimes love is not enough, and the road gets tough, I don't know why" Lana muses emotively over the chorus. The production on the track is grand and magnificent, rich in different sounds and texture. The song sounds phenomenal on high-quality headphones where one can hear every nuance of the song's sonic composition. Addictive in melody, and dramatic in lyrical content - 'Born to Die' is my idea of the perfect song.
The song is meant to form part of a trilogy along with 'Video Games' and 'Blue Jeans'. The former is a languishing, sleepy ballad which forms an ode to a boyfriend with a melody that slowly claws into your head, and demands to be listened to over and over. The latter definitely conforms to the notion that Lana is a gangster Nancy Sinatra, as a reverberating steel guitar punctuates a wistful ballad about a man who leaves his lover in search of money, when all the protagonist wants is to be with him. The breezy melody of the chorus alongside the staccato verses creates an interestingly structured song, and a gorgeous piece of music.
Lana is often mislabelled as a balladeer, whereas in reality, she has several up-tempo tracks on the album. 'National Anthem' is my clear favourite on the CD, as dramatic violins and explosive percussion characterise the dramatic sing-along track. With quirky spoken word verses ("Money is the reason we exist, everybody knows it, it's a fact - kiss, kiss"), the song has a stomping, addictive chorus as Lana repeats hypnotically "Tell I'm your national anthem". This patriotic imagery is a theme throughout the album, with the breezy 'Radio', a cheerful yet surprisingly restrained tribute to perseverance. "American dream came true somehow, I thought I'd chase it until I was dead", Lana whispers. As with almost the entire album, the hook is impeccable, and gets into your head just after one listen. 'Off to the Races' is perhaps the most hip-hop influenced track on the set, as the pulsating production reverberates loudly, complimenting the dark subject matter as Lana sings of her lover's "cocaine heart". Her versatility lies in her ability to create both rousing hip-hop infused anthems, and gentle love-ballads - this contrast never makes the album feel disjointed, but in fact, adds to its strength.
The album has a slight dip in quality with 'Carmen' and 'Million Dollar Man' - neither track quite measures up to the superb precedence established by earlier songs. The latter is a meandering, sleepy mid-tempo that is far from memorable. While, 'Carmen' is the only moment in the album when it feels slightly over-produced. Thankfully, however, two mediocre tracks amongst twelve is hardly a deal-breaker.
The albums finest moments come later, with the sublime 'Summertime Sadness'. The song tells a powerful love story with vivid imagery ("Done my hair up real big, beauty-queen-style/High-heels off, I'm feeling alive"). There is something about Lana's storytelling and lyrics which almost place her at a different point in time, as if she is a relic from the 1960s. The stuttering production and the hypnotic chorus of "Kiss me hard before you go, S-S-Summertime sadness" draws you in again and again. 'This is What Makes Us Girls', similarly, seems to be a journey through Lana's youth and is told so precisely, that you can picture it in your head. The song is beautiful, warning that girls "don't stick together, because they put love first." The song has a fast beat, which keeps the momentum of the album going - although admittedly feels out of place as the final track on the CD.
There is a deluxe edition of the album out, containing three additional songs - 'Without You', 'Lolita' and 'Lucky Ones'. Two out of the three, are two of my favourite Lana songs of all time - so needless to say, this is absolutely worth the extra few pounds on the purchase.
'Born to Die' is without a doubt one of my favourite debut albums of all time. The lyrics are so relatable, the melodies are mesmerising and Lana's voice is rich in emotion and character. Few artists have the ability to paint such a clear vision of their artistry so early on. Lana Del Rey seems almost other-worldly in both appearance and musical output, but in that, lies her charm. She is unlike any other singer out at the moment and her album is a sheer joy to listen to from start to finish.
Stand-Out Tracks: Born to Die, Blue Jeans, This is What Makes Us Girls, Summertime Sadness, National Anthem, Radio
Summary: A near-flawless debut, combining both modern pop and traditional blues.