Tuesday, February 7, 2012

REVIEW: Lana Del Rey - Born to Die

Grade: 63% (D)

Countless reviews of Lana Del Rey's "debut" full length Born to Die already open with a discussion of her rise to stardom. We're gonna skip that. We're gonna skip that, and her SNL bomb, and everything LDR-media/hype related. The sad thing is, when you finally do get to listen to Born to Die, you realize that all of the bullshit was for good reason.

Not the positive hype that is, but the hate. Lana's (or Lizzy's?) newest release comes at you with the lyrical integrity of what we expect Miley Cyrus to be releasing in about three years. While I lived with the controversy over the title track's line "kiss me in the pouring rain," I can't deal with around 99% of the rest of her lines. I'm not sure where she lost me. Maybe it was the rapping about the Hamptons, Bacardi, and a guy's inability to keep his pants on because of her on "National Anthem." Or maybe it was the 7-Eleven reference on the aptly titled "Diet Mountain Dew." That's aptly because nobody likes Diet Mountain Dew. She even sings "kiss me hard" on a completely different track.

Lana's poor attempt at lyrics signal towards a few things. A quick glimpse at the lyric-sheet while you spin the record and you immediately know where she thinks her career is heading. The music and lyrics are guided towards the pop audience that could blow up an attractive female with a voice like Lizzy's. She is mixing her hip-hop influence music with her attempt at "edgy" lyrics. It's as if she is hoping to gain the respect from the majority of Americans after they were scared off by the actually genuine lyrics of her smash hit "Video Games." 

We're not buying Lana's edginess though. It's too forced. It's too forced in the way that when I hear her songs, I think that this is something that a naive suburban mom would like. The motives behind her lyrics are really that bad. She wants us to think she smokes drugs and parties late at night, but she also wants her men to take care of her and dote on her wishes. On top of this, she sings like a whiny little bitch most of the time. Instead of coming off as a strong and insightful girl from Brooklyn like she wants us to believe, she instead comes off as a needy 20-something who refuses to stop acting like a little girl. 

So that's harsh I know. But even besides the lyrics, the track listing and length is all out of whack. With a massive 15-song set, she opens with six, count them six, tracks we have heard a taste of before, and then sends us into a spiraling oblivion of relatively unknown and forgettable tracks. It's sad too because even through the lyrical follies, built around the strength of "Video Games" these six tracks could make a strong EP. 

The strings are definitely strong, and some of the beats and rhythms are likable. But in the end, this album isn't buyable and neither is Lana's attitude and personality. I concede that the haters were right, it was too good to be true. Lizzy (fuck that alter ego) took advantage of the system and now is reaping the benefits with album sales while taking a hit of respect because people are beginning to realize she is no good out of the studio. Maybe I am a little too harsh, but these lyrics have gotten to the point where they make me angry. See the song (terrible title and theme in all), "This is What Makes Us Girls," when she whispers, "pabst blue ribbon on ice." You're not a fucking hipster Lizzy, stop acting like it and go record a collaboration with Kanye before you are out of the spotlight. 

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