Thursday, 9 February 2012

Lana Del Ray - Born To Die [CD] [QUICK&SHORT]

What is it?
Debut offering from new pop artist, Elizabeth Grant (a.k.a. Lana Del Ray), who  claims she is a "self-styled gangsta Nancy Sinatra", and citing influence from Elvis Presley, Britney Spears and Kurt Cobain. She shot into the spotlight last year when her Youtube video for the track "Video Games" gained massive popularity and currently has over 27 million views [see below]:


Is it any good?
Well, yes and no. The refined, effortlessly charismatic sound that is in each of the first 4 tracks gets lost more and more as the album goes on. That is:
  1. Born To Die
  2. Off To The Races (slightly less, but for the unsettling theme mixed with the  girlish giggles in the chorus)
  3. Blue Jeans
  4. Video Games

Really, the first 4 are brilliant - I have had each of them stuck in my head for weeks now and their simple, uncluttered arrangements allowed Elizabeth's voice to stand out. This must be what people describe when they say they like Amy Winehouse or Adele - I think if you like either of those two you should enjoy these. 

Tracks 5 and 6 are still quite good, although this is when the lyrics start to feel a bit too contrived to be bearable - the use of cliche throughout is obviously to try to gain that timeless sheen but it gets tired very quickly.

From then on the album is fine to listen to, with several tracks still sounding great, but the lyrics and vocals seem to have had much less thought put into the composition. It's almost as if they threw a bunch of phrases about love, modern life and Jersey-girl references to the floor and randomly picked them and shoved them into the latter few songs. Feeling timeless now? Nope. Sorry.

There's also this sample used a bloke shouting "Oh!" or something and it's used far too frequently on several tracks and I just can't see what it adds to it.


Now the artist I would most liken the later tracks to is Britney Spears, unfortunately not the glorious early pop gems, but post-Toxic stuff, where it's trying to incorporate R'n'B into the mix to appease the market and it ends up sounding like a half-baked mess.

Conclusions
Well the first few tracks show that Lana Del Ray is talented and she certainly has mass appeal.
I have no doubt that if Lana's second album can be a full length chilled crooner then I will absolutely love it.
Perhaps feeling the need to pay homage or appeal to the pop charts diluted her sound, and now that's out the way she can get on with making albums full of timeless music rather than tacky filler.

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