Lana Del Rey: Born To Die

by Christian Redl

Rating: 2/5

Song To Look Out For: Video Games

Lana Del Rey has been the topic of internet bloggers and hipsters for the past few years. Breaking out into the music scene as an Indie artist, her avid followers have been waiting with bated breath for the long awaited release of Lana’s debut LP, Born To Die. And now that its here, many wish it remained a distant dream rather than a reality.

Lana Del Rey ventures far out of her comfort zone delivering what is more of a Trip-Hop album, rather than her usual acoustic modus operandi. While giving credit for being bold for such a monumental achievement, the release of one’s first LP, it’s difficult to see any cohesive vision within the album. Each song plainly blends into the next making this album seem like you are trapped in an episode of the Twilight Zone; it never ends.

Lana’s vocals are often strained, as her range is narrow, while she again steps far out of her comfort zone. In “National Anthem,” we are given a short reprieve when Lana raps her lyrics sparing listeners from pinched vocals. Almost every vocal track is reverbed, making what Lana’s voice truly sounds like still a mystery.

Despite its drawbacks, there is at least one positive to this album. “Video Games” is a song reminiscent of Lana Del Rey’s original sound that gave her such a loyal fan base. An acoustic love song with unconventional lyrics give this song a different character and feel compared to the rest of the album. “Video Games” is not overly complicated with synths and double tracking or other instrumentations, it is just Lana doing what she does best: being honest.

For all of the hype leading up to its release, Born To Die is severely underwhelming. Lana’s producer released an album that sounds like it was a collection of demo tapes placed in arbitration, wishing for the best. Lana Del Rey’s career is far from over, and hopefully as time goes on, her sound will be identified and fine-tuned in the studio. It will surely be interesting to hear the follow-up album.