mon 15/07/2024

CD: Lana Del Rey – Born to Die | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Lana Del Rey – Born to Die

CD: Lana Del Rey – Born to Die

She's the flavour-of-the-month pop star, but over an album the impact of the singles dissipates

Lana Del Rey's 'Born to Die': dread phantoms, bad boys and nothing-special hip-hop pop

The dust will eventually settle around the flapdoodle about withdrawn albums, whether Lana Del Rey is authentic, a fabulist construct or rubbish live. And when it does, this, the debut album, will be left. There’s no doubt that “Video Games” and its follow-up “Born to Die” were terrific singles, sieving the existential drift of Julee Cruise and Chris Isaak through a hip-hop sensibility. The package was completed by the irresistible Del Rey voice, a downer-dosed Stevie Nicks.

Whatever the carping, the former Elisabeth Grant’s name is all over Born to Die. She – as Lana Del Rey – has written every track, with seven collaborators including our own Justin Parker and Tim Larcombe (Sugababes and Girls Aloud are amongst his other credits). A forthcoming single co-opts Guy Chambers. The Brits are supplemented by the other name all over Born to Die, Brooklyn producer Emile Haynie. His other clients have included Tinie Tempah and Eminem.

Opening with a strong quartet, including "Video Games” and the title track, the album initially brands itself as a downbeat swirl, permeated with dread phantoms and tattooed bad boys. But “Diet Mountain Dew” dissipates the mood. A slice of OK, shuffling, nothing-special hip-hop pop, it hinges on a fairly lame lyric about “being in love forever”. “You’re no good for me, but baby I want you,” it continues. Hardly stand-out stuff, like the strings and beats of “National Anthem” which follow – “money is the anthem of success,” she proclaims over a reheated trip-hop backing. Returning to the glumster path with “Radio” and “Carmen”, Born to Die settles back into evoking an anxiety-filled nostalgia. But the spell's been broken. Crafted, but not consistent, the unsure-of-itself Born to Die doesn’t sustain or build on the impact of “Video Games”.

Watch Lana Del Ray perform “Video Games” on Later... With Jools Holland


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