A lot of hype has surrounded New York raised singer Lana Del Rey over these past few months. Now one of the most talked about breakthrough acts, nominated for three awards at next months Brits, Del Rey found it very difficult in the beginning to stike a deal with any one of the many US record labels with her debut single, Video Games. A self made video for the track and 25 million million YouTube hits (and counting) later and the world was at her doorstep hailing her as the next big thing in music along every label trying to lure her through their doors.
Through the singers hard work and laborious efforts to do what she loves we have so far been treated to two incredible singles from Del Rey in the form of Video Games and her latest release, Born To Die. Both tracks have proven to be commercially and critically successful releases for Del Rey as they pave the way for the singers debut full length album, also titled Born To Die, which seen its highly anticipated release on Monday 30th January and we were over the moon to finally get our hands on a copy of the record.
Born To Die, in my opinion, is the big selling point on this 12 track collection and where else would you begin but with the haunting melody of this latest single release. With a lyrically dark opening that unfolds throughout its near five minute lifespan the title track pulls out all the stops with its precise and flawless production and a string section that the track rides on while giving you goosebumps instantly as the singer sings of death and drugs while offering us a beautiful vocal style that makes this track one of the best single releases of the year so far.
Off To The Races is one of the albums more upbeat and dare I say it, bubblegum pop influenced additions. The track is more Kylie or Britney than what we have heard from Del Rey thus far from her single releases as she hits some rather squeaky vocal peaks in the tracks infectious chorus and although the tone of the track is much different to the majority of the track-listing it works well with the singers eloquent touch and bouncy approach to the number.
Further down the record National Anthem is a patriotic filling to Born To Die with its high spirited and anthemic choir sung chorus that compliments the tracks powerful tone as Del Rey tries her hand at a slow paced rap carrying the number through to the melodically gorgeous Dark Paradise. Putting more of a dramatic spin on this track the number is, again, more pop influenced than most inclusions on the record but still containing the same instrumentation as heard on the rest of the album, particular within the title track.
As the bells ring out and a harp is strum we are offered the chilling yet passionate Video Games. The single that catapulted Del Rey into the international spotlight sits confidently in the first half of the record and comes with a glossy retro glazing and sits atop a beautiful backdrop of strings making the track one of the centre-pieces of Born To Die.
Radio is a syrupy number with lyrics that serve equally as both sweet and metaphorically brilliant components. Lines like “my life is sweet like cinnamon” and “pick me up and take me like a vitamin” keep you listening intently and craving more.
Giving Born To Die a dose of jazz, Million Dollar Man bodes well for the songstress as the starlet adds a flavoring reminiscent of Fiona Apple to the record on one of the standout numbers within the track-listing. Swaying through close to four minutes of gut-wrenching melancholia the singer pours her heart out in a tale of having her heart broken, a topic that flows heavily throughout Born To Die.
As well as showcasing the songwriting craft that has become Del Rey’s art the album also puts the star in the spotlight for owning a truly gifted set of vocal chords and those qualities have created a record that comes hand in hand with the best production the business can offer a new artist and what you have in the final product is a winning formula that can only go in Del Rey’s favor.
The star seems to have been criticized a lot recently due to a nervous and seemingly lacklustre performance on American TV favorite, Saturday Night Live which is unfortunate given the talent that Del Rey has to offer.
It may be easy to write someone like Lana Del Rey off as a fleeting fad or a one hit wonder but Born To Die is a record that proves that that is simply not the case. A record that is overflowing with emotional balladry, exquisite instrumentation and the most graphic attention paid to lyrical detail on top of a collection that is drenched with some of the most moving and haunting vocals of any singer around today is what Born To Die represents and one that any music lover should be very proud to own. Born To Die is a powerful release from one of music’s brightest and most talented new artists.
::: RenownedForSound.com’s Editor and Founder –
Interviewing and reviewing the best in new music and globally recognized artists is his passion.
Over the years he has been lucky enough to review thousands of music releases and concerts and interview artists ranging from top selling superstars like 27-time Grammy Award winner Alison Krauss, Boyz II Men, Roxette, Cyndi Lauper, Lisa Loeb and iconic Eagles front man/songwriter, Glenn Frey through to more recent successes including Newton Faulkner, Janelle Monae and Caro Emerald.
Brendon manages and coordinates the amazing team of writers on RenownedForSound.com who are based in the UK, the U.S and Australia.