It was only last summer that Lana Del Rey’s Video Games homemade-video stormed across the blogosphere, leaving everyone wanting to hear more from this mysterious new singer that was crooning her way over our computer speakers. No one really knew much about her past but as the months unfolded a lot has been written and the buzz around Del Rey was big enough to have Interscope sign a deal with her. 20 million youtube plays later and the debut album arrives: Born To Die is the name and it encapsulates the 3 songs that have been released during the last months (Video Games, Blue Jeans and the title track) as well as the finished version of other tracks that seemed to be popping up everywhere in demo format.
In essence, this is an album that expands the Hollywood sadcore genre that Lana Del Rey created to define her sound and aesthetic. And it’s in the exploration of that concept that the album finds its strength. Described as an homage to “true love and living life on the wild side” the entire album plays with the idea of different types of bad girls, either of the gold-digging type or simply out-of-control girls living on the edge. Sometimes with excitement, others with bruised regret, but always entertaining. Off To The Races (do I hear next single?) combines brilliantly the bad chick type of identity the singer has created for herself by mixing hip hop beats, luscious orchestrations and street rhymes. Diet Mountain View starts off with a delicious melody that seems out of a 70’s tv commercial (You’re no good for me / But baby I want you) only to become a sort of a genius cross between Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made For Walking and a James Bond tune.
While some may criticize the lack of variety here, it is outstanding how the production of the record maintains a cohesive mood throughout and is able to sound current and retro at the same time. Top track Summertime Sadness reminds you by the end of the album that we are in the presence of a singer that manages to easily bring out a sublime conceptual performance while maintaing a mystique over her persona like only the most memorable femme fatale could do. And for that we salute you Miss Del Rey. (8,5/10)