Friday, November 16, 2012

Lana Del Rey Born to Die: Paradise Edition Review


You may have seen this week that Lana Del Rey released a new edition of her first album Born to Die, called the Paradise Edition. It brings us 8 new, previously unreleased songs, showing a different side of Lana Del Rey.

Without further ado…

1. Ride- I love the harmonies at the beginning, Lana’s sultry, raspy vocals, beautiful, yet slightly creepy Freudian lyrics (her trademark, really), the melodramatic string section, and the way the melodies all flow into each other, creating a symphony of sorts. It makes me want to “just ride.” 5/5

2. American- Another solid track, American has a very retro sound to it, but at the same time her strong, versatile voice makes it entirely current and modern. I admire her for pushing herself to explore her high, child-like notes; it shows her determination to not just be another female singer who follows the trends. The “oh-oh”’s in the song have a slightly angelic quality, contrasting the very adult lyrics. 5/5

3. Cola- Oh, boy. This song boasts one of the most disgusting, but memorable opening lines: “My p**** takes like Pepsi Cola.” Well, that’s direct; I’ll give her that much. The lyrics are rather self-explanatory, though she makes some interesting references and similes. “Harvey’s in the sky with diamonds” references “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” by the Beatles, while “I gots a taste for older men” alludes to her other songs “Off to the Races,” “Lolita,” and just about every other unreleased song she has on YouTube. Lyrics aside, the instrumental side of things is incredible! Once I stopped focusing on her less than classy beginning, I fell in love with this song. Around the 2:44 mark, I heard some Michael Jackson influenced vocals and the guitars in the background are reminiscent of the mainstream music of the 1980’s. All in all, one of the best songs on this edition. 5/5

4. Body Electric- I hate to admit it, but the first time I heard this song, I hated it. Now, I’m absolutely obsessed with it. The lyrics—I hate to keep focusing on the same thing—are one of the best elements of this song. The allusions to Elvis, Marilyn Monroe,  Walt Whitman—and the title of this song references his poem “I Sing the Body Electric”—and Monaco, Spain, who serve as her friends, paint her as a rather crazy woman, which one could argue she always tries to come across as less than sane. With anyone else, I would call bull and put them down for pretending to be someone they’re not, but with Lana (or Lizzie, if you  like that better) she embodies this crazy lady thing and makes it sexy, but never lets it overpower the amount of effort she puts into her music. Anyways, the prominent strings and her pleading, powerful vocals really make this song. 5/5

5. Blue Velvet- A cover of The Clover’s wildly popular song from the 1950’s, Lana obviously put her own spin on it, utilizing her velvet-like vocals J, while personifying the musical style of the 1950’s. It feels less like a cover, and more like a tribute track. 5/5

6. Gods and Monsters- A slower track, but still good. I like it, just not quite as much as I like the other tracks. Referencing Jim Morrison after she just made a ton of allusions in Body Electric feels cheap. I do, however, like the keyboard line, the slow drums, her lower, raspier vocals, and self-conscious lyrics “if I get a little prettier/can I be your baby?”. 4/5

7. Best track on the album. A few months ago, I was looking up her unreleased music and stumbled across this gem. I love the drunkenly swaying beat, her lilting, angelic vocals, and the minimalistic instrumentation.  The lyrics are terribly melancholy, exploring a girl who is addicted to cocaine (Yayo is a slang term for coke), living in a trailer park. Lana does sad best. At first, I thought the line “Let me put on a show for you Daddy” referred to her Freudian relationship with her dad, but, after some research, I’ve figured out that line refers to her having to strip to support her coke habit, not that that’s any better, really. Regardless, this song is one of her most emotionally gripping tracks and has the most staying power out of any of the other (still great) songs on the album.

8. Bel Air- the angelic piano and strings at the beginning, playing the melody from Lolita masterfully tie the two albums together. From what I’ve deduced, the song is about Lana’s secretive relationship she had a long time ago with Axl Rose from Guns N Roses. I’m not entirely positive if that’s true, though that does explain the lines “Roses/Bel Air/Take me there” and “Sweet child of mine.” Lyrics aside, her lovely, soaring voice complements the strings in the background. However, the chorus is rather repetitive and ends up grating on my nerves. 4/5


So, that’s it for this week. Next week, I’m hoping to do another album review. Cross your fingers. J

Until then,


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