REVIEW: West Coast – Lana Del Rey

With its brooding and sultry vocals Lana Del Rey has given us a tempting snippet of her forth coming second album (or third, depending how they are counted) ‘Ultraviolence‘.  With its name taken from the Anthony Burgess novel ‘A Clockwork Orange‘ we can expect much of the same dystopic sounds of her 2012 album ‘Born to Die‘ but taken up a notch, making it as alluring as ever.  With its clever advertising campaign featuring billboards of the song’s first line ‘Down on the West Coast, they got a sayin’…‘ and Lana tweeting pictures under the title of ‘West Coast‘ fans knew that this eagerly anticipated new song and consequential album was on its way fast.

The monumental journey that every Del Rey song takes the listener on is carried on with ‘West Coast‘ without exception.  Beginning with slow-paced guitar (I believe to be rather like that of Radiohead’s ‘Talk Show Host‘) the listener enters the sumptuous world of Lana, absorbed by every beat.  The music builds to a climax and expecting a big chorus which is so typical of Del Rey I was surprised to find the opposite, however it wasn’t disappointing in an anti-climactic sense, it only adds depth to the song, an unusual feature only throwing you deeper into the romanticism of her work and velvet-esque voice.

It is clear to see Dan Auerbach’s (one member of ‘The Black Keys‘) influence on this track as producer.  Her style has evolved – ‘West Coast‘ is ‘Video Games‘ 2.0, darker sounding then before and placing more focus on instruments.  The use of drums and heavy bass creates a darker, grown up feel – a step is taken away from the orchestral beginnings of ‘Born to Die‘ and ‘Young and Beautiful‘ in favour of this heavier, sultry sound matching her shift from 1950s glamour to a grittier image.   ‘West Coast‘ is just the beginning in this new age of Del Rey, a subtle hint in her change in style but not too far to alienate fans.

If ‘West Coast‘ is anything to go by we can expect great things from ‘Ultraviolence‘; Auerbach’s influence has created a strong lead track.  Aided by the introduction of stronger instrumental parts ‘West Coast‘ is a welcome development of Del Rey’s sound into a darker but just as cinematic piece, building the sound of her 2012 album ‘Born to Die‘ in the right direction to create  one of the most anticipated albums of the year.


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