Lana Del Rey "Born To Die" or "Born To Be Great"

2/1/12
8.1ARTIST INFO

Am I the only blogger out there who is remarking how appropriate Lana Del Rey's 1st song on her new album "Born To Die" is in fact called "Born To Die."   According to the reviews coming out this week from Pitchfork (who scored Lana with a 5.5 rating) and Rolling Stone getting out it's wang to take a piss on LDR...it seems like this album is geared to be not so much "Born To Die" but "Born to Suck."  

And on that note...hey, did you see our "Hitler Reacts to Lana Del Rey" video?

 

But now back to the review.  Back to you.  Back to me.  I'm on a horse.

Kicking off the album, is "Born To Die."  And I'm continuing my "Born To Die" litany.  It's almost eerie.  Like this song was written after Lana's "scratch-your-head-at-this" performance on Saturday Night Live.  I mean really...after all the drama and blog lovers vs haters.  These are the 1st words we hear:

"Why?"  /  "Who Me?"  / "Feet Don't Fail Me Now"  /

"Take Me To The Finish Line"  /

"Oh My Heart It Breaks...Ever Step That I Take"

 To me ... that's the sentiment Lana Del Rey probably had 5 minutes after her SNL performance.

And by the way, didi you miss it or can I help point out that Lana's daddy is like a friggin millionaire?  That's right...Lana was no struggling indie artist...her poppa is RICH.  Not that this has anything to do with Lana's music...but I do think it feeds the frenzy of the indie cred vs pop manufactured crowds.   Yes, much like M.I.A. (who trust me, was living the posh life hanging at Justine Frischmann's multimillion pad during the making of "Arular")...we want our indie artists to have a struggle...just like us...just getting by...to have it rough.  Now, I'm not saying that Lana didn't put in her musical dues to learn her craft.   But we don't like our indie creddy stars being sent to private school and hanging in NY aristocratic circles.  

And by the way, what happened on "Blue Jeans???"  I thought there was an original demo version, which was 10x better and showcased the song better?  

On the production front, Emile Haynie does a good job here but damn, Emile do you have to put that "soul shout" sample in every Lana song.  WTF is it...it's some black guy screaming "Sarge" or "Sire" or something...dude, it get's pretty annoying after a while.  I mean REALLY ... listen to "Blue Jeans" here...that "shout sample" happens over 100 times.  

"Blue Jeans" - Lana Del Rey

 

Emile...thanks for not putting this sample on at least 1 song on the album.  Anyway...

Now, all in all, when it comes to the song "Video Games," I have to give mega propz.  The song is a classic.  No two ways about it.   Brilliant from start to finish.  The lyric is an A+, vocal is great...production is timeless.  This harkens back to the days of master songwriters like Jimmy Webb who wrote "Macarthur Park" or a Marilyn Bergman who wrote "Windmills of My Mind"...these are class level pieces of songwriting.  And I don't know if Lana will be around next year...but this song should be around for another 50 years. 

A Lana Del Rey Performance of "Video Games" that doesn't suck

Overall this album is not as bad as it's been touted (see the recent reviews form Billboard, Spin and Pitchfork).  Despite this, I'm predicting in the United States Lana Del Rey will sell 75-100,000 + albums 1st week...landing her in the Top 10 Billboard albums.  But on the other hand, even in China they are getting a good laugh at Lana Del Rey.  (poor girl).  

 

Admittedly, part of this album does feel like I've been tricked.  It's like when you see those big over the top movie previews...you know...the ones that just pick the 3 "good" parts of the movie...and then when you lay out your $15, you sit around in a smelly theater with your feet sticking to the coca cola and good n plenty residue of decades past...you wonder where the fuck the rest of the movie is.   That's kind of like listening to this album.  I feel a little suckered.   Because...

Anyone following Lana Del Rey...(like BitCandy has...we 1st wrote up Lana Del Rey 6 months ago) already knows (or has) 1/2 of the album.   And that 1/2 are the "good" songs!  ("Video Games" "Blue Jeans" "National Anthem" "Diet Mountain Dew." The rest is for the most part...pretty much filler for the indie cred grave that was recently dug.  But don't worry...we can fill that hole with some Interscope marketing dolla bills...holla!

And one other thing...on "National Anthem" and "Lolita" - Please listen...Lana Del Rey...please, you should NOT rap.  This is 1 step better than that time Madonna thought she was the next MC.  You can not "spit rhymes."  LDR...step away from the rap mic.  

"National Anthem" - Lana Del Rey

 

On another LDR rapper type song...wouldn't it be brilliant for Gwen Stefani to have recorded "Lolita" instead...I can really hear that. Check it out here. 

"Lolita" - Lana Del Rey 

 

But look...I know you have some reality TV to watch and you have to run...so what's the bottom line on LDR?   I think that despite being pushed and marketed as a creddy "indie" artist with (it turns out) a silver spoon in her mouth, and ahh, yeah...her former pop tart history as Lizzy Grant...that "Born To Die" is actually a solid 1st outing...I mean 2nd outing.  At face value this is a good (but not great album).  

Unfortunately and as mentioned, I feel a little cheated having been hyped on the "only" good tracks on the album, leaked / released / marketed by the label...leaving me with only 1 other great song I hadn't heard called "This Is What Makes Us Girls." 

"This Is What Makes Us Girls" - Lana Del Rey

 

"Without You" is also quality. 

 Keep it up Lana...you're a genius lyric writer (really we mean that)...if you're in this for long haul (20 years) ... in a few more albums it's going to be bananas.   This is a solid debut but unfortunately LDR is up on the crucifix these days. 

This isn't "Born To Die."   This is "Born To Do Something Great"...Eventually...or even today, within reason.

Album: