Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Album Review - Lana Del Rey, "Born To Die"

Megan Purazrang
WCB Music Writer

Lana Del Rey
Born To Die
Released - January 27, 2012
Producers - Al Shux, Chris Braide,
Emile Haynie, Justin Parker,
Patrick Berger, Rick Nowels,
Robopop, Jeff Bhasker
Label - Interscope, Stranger
The sensation characterized by Lana Del Rey and created by actress and singer Elizabeth Grant, began a year ago traveling virally from music blog to music blog and later landed on an episode of SNL has lost its drive with the release of her well anticipated debut album titled Born To Die.

The album is bittersweet combining elements of fine potential growth and monotonous sound. A trait of curiosity exists and is waiting to be revealed in all respects involved from the intriguing song titles to the make believe America she creates as the character Del Rey, and the influential inhabitance of Lolita. What is even more puzzling than the inquisitiveness is the lack of completion. The album has all of the pieces and yet, it never forms to circulate with progression.

The vocals are persistent and at times quite impressive. Del Rey uses hiccup pitches at the end of particular lyrical lines, giving a form of texture as an overlay to the consistent beat. Her style does not stream far from vintage and with more experience may develop into a unique strength, but until then it remains unfinished.

It begins with “Born to Die” led by dramatic strings and a minor backdrop of a hip hop influenced drum beat and this is the introduction to the atmosphere for the remainder of the record, literally it does not drift far. Following the self-titled are songs that either make it or don’t even come close to doing so. “Off the Races” for example, is one of the more pleasant pop-like songs on the record. The beat flows well and creates a listener-friendly vibe throughout its entirety. “Blue Jeans” made a memorable impression on the blogging community, but it does not live up to the proclaimed reputation. Despite consisting of romantic lyrics prominently the line “I will love you to the end of time,” the reoccurring flaw is her “hit and miss” emotion. The words convey brilliance and it is notable that the way she sings at times clashes and comes across as fake, nearly to the extent of the fictitious character she role-plays.

The song “Video Games” accompanied by its music video is the sole reason Del Rey gained immediate popularity. Fortunately, the ballad is one of the highlights of the album with strong lyrics and emotion. Other songs that carry this same recognition are “Dark Paradise” and “This Is What Makes Us Girls.”

One of the many underlining themed qualities within this album is its hint of seductive tone. It reappears in various occasions and only adds to the artificial taste of her sound. It is clearly not fitting without the proper setting. Catchy lyrics add positive affections to the songs, but there is not enough risk to distinguish the good from the mediocre.  The foundation is set, maybe once Grant steps out of her naive character and reveals her true reflection a real music sensation will occur.

1 comment: