Lana Del Rey: Born to Die
27th January 2012
Interscope, Polydor, Stranger
One of the most highly anticipated albums of the past year is finally here. This is Lana Del Rey’s second album but first on a major label having previously released under an independent label. Since the release of her debut single, ‘Video Games’, Del Rey has been propelled into the limelight and fans have been teased in waiting for an album by the release of second single ‘Born to Die’.
Del Rey (real name Lizzy Grant) offers a rather unique style, a blend of old and new with elements of 60s pop and urban beats running right through this album. Del Rey herself describes herself as a ‘gangsta Nancy Sinatra’ and she’s really not far wrong to be honest. The album starts off with the title track ‘Born to Die’ which is by now an already very well-known single.
‘Born to Die’ is in a lot of ways quite different from Del Rey’s debut single, ‘Video Games’, but in terms of vocals the two are very similar. In ‘Born to Die’ Del Rey’s low-pitched vocals are accompanied by strings and electronic beats. There is a melancholic and haunting feel to the track and this very effectively reflects the content of the lyrics.
‘Off to the Races’ is the next track contrasts greatly with both ‘Born to Die’ and ‘Video Games’ and may be quite a shock to many who had only heard these tracks before. The instrumentation in this track is much the same as in ‘Born to Die’ but in terms of vocals it’s almost like a completely different vocalist has joined the album. Initially you hear the familiar low-pitched vocals that Del Rey has become known for but then for the chorus her voice completely transforms into a high-pitched, much more feminine voice than before.
‘Video Games’ will certainly be the most familiar of the tracks on this album. Accompanied by strings, piano and eventually snare and bass drum, Del Rey’s vocals lead a crescendo-like atmosphere, one which so many fans have been drawn in by.
‘Radio’ is a track worth noting as it shows off more of those high-pitched vocals heard in ‘Off to the Races’. Del Rey cites Britney Spears as one of her influences and in these vocals it is easy to hear that influence. However the track stays true to Del Rey’s own rather unique style and that is important.
Overall this album is a good starting point for Lana Del Rey, who had previously failed under her real name Lizzy Grant, but I feel that she could build on it. There is not a huge amount of variety here, the tracks are for the most part very alike and that is the album’s main drawback.