There is always hype surrounding an artist when they are coming out with a debut album. “Born to Die”, the first album released by Lana Del Rey (Elizabeth Grant), saw a massive wave of praise (or essential lack thereof) by critics.
In order to truly have an opinion of this album, fans need to forget all about her performance on “Saturday Night Live.” A difference must be made between what an artist can do in a live show than from what he or she can do in a studio recording.
Released in October 2011, “Video Games” is a calm and subtle masterpiece of collaboration between Del Rey’s vocals and the melodic, soothing orchestral instruments. It takes some artists more than their debut album to find a sound as sharp and defined as this track. Though it is not a revolutionary new sound, it is still something that can be admired.
In the album’s title track, there are trip-hop themed beats as well as some alternative interludes that are incorporated within seconds of the start of the song. Del Rey’s vocals match the rhythm and create an enchantingly confident vibe that some artists lack.
Though most of these tracks are something new, there is still a sense of déjà vu when listening to each composition. For example, a few seconds into “Blue Jeans” there is a screaming similar to that of Awolnation’s single, “Sail”.
In “Off to the Races”, there is a bit of Garbage’s style incorporated in the beats and lyrical compilation of the song. The track is also one of the few in which she does not use her “traditional” voice and instead uses a more feminine and higher pitched voice, making the song flow better.
“Diet Mountain Dew” is a catchy pop track which really should have been a single. It has a ’50s feel to it and gives the audience a true glimpse into the image that Del Rey tries to give off.
The remaining songs lack any deeper emotion or message. The only exception to this is “National Anthem,” which demonizes and re-writes the American dream by saying, “Money is the anthem of success. So put on mascara and your party dress.”
“Born to Die” spans many genres and does not solely focus on a specific demographic, allowing the album to have a broader appeal.
The album contains an Adele track to hook the listeners, as well as the ’90s Brit-pop tracks and the stereotypical American pop songs.
Overall, the album has respectable tunes but is not worth buying. Del Rey is still jumping around genres in this album, looking for the one that emphasizes her talents.
She is a talented signer and there is much to look forward to from her, but “Born to Die” is simply an album that serves as a stem to see in which musical direction she will chose to follow.