Some may say that that Lana Del Rey’s rise to success was quick, but truth be told she’s been working on her craft for over eight years. And while most may think this is her first album, it’s technically her third. Each release, displays the constantly evolving artist. What one will note between releases is that Del Rey’s vocals have become lower since that initial first release. In doing so, Del Rey has a unique vocal styling that’s easily recognizable to the listener.
The second element brought to the table here is the unique instrumentation choices; retro may be in, but few are doing it like this. Del Rey’s style recalls 60’s orchestrated pop, though it’s taken to new levels, including sampling, short raps, in a style she has coined as “Hollywood Sadcore.” Whatever it is, it works, and many of the criticisms of Born to Die attack the production of this record, which is absolute crap considering I’ve heard more production on Rap and Hip/Hop albums than this. Is it overwhelming at anytime? No not really, it may not be your normal does, but in no way is it overwhelming.
The albums greatest strength comes in it’s trilogy, “Video Games,” “Blue Jeans,” and “Born to Die.” The songs are interwoven and together they tell a tale of a sad, tragic relationship. “National Anthem” is the only song that becomes bothersome, being the epitome of what Rap artists are. Whether it’s satire or not, the album could have done without it. The remainder of the album is remarkable in it’s own right, offering up great cinematic orchestral sequences, as well as sweet, sweet brooding.
There is a reason why this is one of the most anticipated albums of the year; whether it became love at first listen with “Video Games” or the music video for “Born to Die,” Born to Die paints a picture of the past, revisited by someone young, tragic, and beautiful.
Album Rating: Stream It or Digitally Download It (Legally of Course)
Listening Co-efficient: Active Listen
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