Earlier this year US singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey released her debut studio album Born To Die. Upon it’s release in January by Interscope Records, Polydor Records and Stranger Records. In the UK alone the album was a commercial success by selling 50,000 copies on it’s first day of release. Born To Die then went on to become number one in the UK Albums Chart as well as number two in the US Billboard 200. To date it has gone on to sell over 1.5 million copies worldwide.
The tone of the album itself is at times rather dark. With many of the tracks telling stories about a young women (Del Rey) experiencing turbulent relationships and ultimately a life with the wrong crowd. In the song ‘Off To The Races’ she refers to her “One true love” as a “Cocaine-hearted” boyfriend.
While the first released single off the album in ‘Video Games’ is a fantastic track, it’s use of harps and strings along with Del Reys haunting vocals trouble traditional gender roles and vulnerability of a young women relying so much on one man. But ‘Radio’ sees a pleasing juxtaposition with a tale of contentment and triumph through “My life is sweet like cinnamon. Like a ******* dream I’m living in”.
Lana Del Rey describes her music as “Hollywood sadcore” and she has been described as a “Self-styled gangsta Nancy Sinatra“. Her music has a beautiful cinematic sound that references many aspects of popular culture, particularly that of the 1950s and 1960s Americana.
Last year before the albums actual release it won ‘Q’s Next Best Thing’ award at the 2011 Q Awards and then the year of it’s release saw the album nominated for a number of awards and win a Brit Award and a Ivor Novello Award.
Born To Die is soulful, with elements of pop, hip-hop and jazz. Del Rey’s vocals compliment the dreary sound and stories of the album. At times a cabaret or a hard-hitting drama and even a late-night garden party with a cocktail of booze and drugs make up this fabulous album of vulnerability, sadness and hope.
Earlier this year Lana Del Rey brought back the rights for her previous independent album Lana Del Ray A.K.A Lizzy Grant. Which was briefly released online in 2010 but then withdrawn. Del Rey is set to release it for the second time later this year along with her third studio album.
Lana Del Rey: Born To Die 4 out of 5