After being rinsed through the hype machine and placed upon a plethora of pedestals over the last few months Lana Del Ray’s highly anticipated album Born To Die is finally hear. Whether you know the name due to what seems like everyones constant pushing of “Video Games” or THAT SNL performance, there’s no denying that her name has ben banded about the internet more than lolcats. But the time for talk is over and the only question left to ask is the only question that matters, is the album as good as it’s been hyped to be?
The honest answer is not really, dont get me wrong the singles heard so far along with a selection of album tracks are pretty great, but it also has its fair share of weak tracks and inconsistencies as well. Del Rays statement in “Blue Jeans” that she “grew up on hip hop” is evidently not just a cute line. We got a little sample of this with latest single and title track “Born To Die” but it’s much more evident when you dig into the album. “Diet Mountain Dew” and “Off To The Races” are fuelled by snapping drum beats and inserted samples which give a different impression of the artist than previously sketched. The problem is that it not only feels somewhat out of place with the Twin Peaks esque guitar riffs and smokey percussion she projects so well, but it feels a little forced and a little over-cumbered. In tracks like the two mentioned above the vocals are quirky and pretty light on their feet but the instrumentation feels bogged down and overcrowded. Im all for experimenting with sounds but the structuring of some tracks on here is a little heavy handed and clumsy.
Another problem I had was well, is that she dosent really have anything to say. Sure she has that cute little vintage, boutique lyrical style which gives her character and works in her favour for the most part. But there’s just not an awful lot of substance or context here, she comes across as a loyal girlfriend who is pro-love and a lady who likes nice things but thats about it. Theres no real explanation to who she is or what makes her tick. Whether that authentically goes hand in hand with her seemingly nervous off mic persona I dont know, but it feels as if she is purposely putting a shield up beween the listener and herself through her songwriting.
Sure there is still a lot of potential for her to capitalise on but this time around she’s misfired pretty wide of the mark. Born To Die isn’t a bad album by any means but it’s neither particularly very good or interesting either. What is interesting though, is seeing in which direction her stock travels now that the album is finally out. Will we see a shift amongst supporters or can the extension of style tucked away on the record help her spread further afield?