Friday, June 29, 2012

Born to Die | Lana Del Rey

A quick first listen to Lana Del Rey's voice may shock you; it takes a little getting used to before you begin to like it, like Mark Foster's voice of Foster the People.  However, once you get comfortable with her voice, it sets in just how amazing it can be (in the studio...)

The cover of Born to Die also drew me into buying it: it's a simple yet creative cover, such as the cover of Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster. Del Rey's stern stare and strong stature are actually sort of intimidating, but intrigued me.

Moving into the actual album, it begins with the title track, which was one of the songs that convinced me to buy the full album.  "Born To Die" is one of the few songs on the album that is sang mainly in Del Rey's lower register.  This is one of my favorites. The second single to be pulled from the record, "Video Games," is also another one of my favorites.  This song is also sang in a lower register, and contains lyrics describing a one-sided relationship in which the singer is head over heels for her boyfriend, but he could care less for her.

After hearing the first two singles from the album, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy.  However, once I bought a copy of Born to Die at Best Buy, and popped it into my car stereo to listen to, I was in complete shock.  None of the other ten songs sounded like "Born to Die" or "Video Games." In fact, Lana Del Rey sounded much different in terms of vocal range in the rest of the record. "Off to the Races" and "Diet Mountain Dew" are where Del Rey begins to experiment with the upper ranges of her vocal range.  "Diet Mountain Dew," however, is a much better example of her vocal capabilities over "Off to the Races." In the song, Del Rey's boyfriend is compared to Diet Mountain Dew, because although Diet Mountain Dew seems healthier than its regular sugary counterpart, it really isn't.  Her boyfriend takes that same effect on her as Diet Mountain Dew.

Both "National Anthem" and "Radio" are great examples of what to expect from a typical song from Born to Die:  They both have great choruses, but unimpressive verses.

My other favorites from the album included "Dark Paradise" and "Summertime Sadness."  "Dark Paradise" was impressive; the lyrics were deep and the vocals were amazing.  The song speaks of a boyfriend that has passed away (it is suggested that he committed suicide,) now the singer is wishing that she could pass away as well, but is afraid that her boyfriend won't be "waiting on the other side." Although I liked "Summertime Sadness" better than most of the songs on the album, I will admit that it sounds very similar to "Born to Die."

In all, this album is composed mainly of songs containing weak but catchy verses and powerful choruses, with exceptions being "Dark Paradise," "Video Games," "Born to Die," and "Summertime Sadness."  I was going to give the album a rating of three stars, but I crossed the border of giving it four simply for the breathtaking choruses. Do not let Lana Del Rey's terrible Saturday Night Live performance curve your interest in the album: Del Rey is much better in the studio than she is live (Taylor Swift alert?)  Check out the album now; it's worth the money.

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