LANA DEL REY Born To Die
1 Born To Die 4:46 (UK single, #9)
2 Off To The Races 5:01
3 Blue Jeans 3:29 (UK single, #32)
4 Video Games 4:46 (UK single, #9)
5 Diet Mountain Dew 3:43
6 National Anthem 3:51 (UK single, #92)
7 Dark Paradise 4:03
8 Radio 3:35
9 Carmen 4:09
10 Million Dollar Man 3:50
11 Summertime Sadness 4:25
12 This Is What Makes Us Girls 3:58
What’s this? Modern music? Yikes!
One of the (very) few Noughties acts to crack my Top 100, Lana Del Rey seemed to come right out nowhere with the stunning Video Games single in late 2011. It was the type of record which stopped me in my tracks, and those don’t come around too often (even in the 1980s, there might only be a handful every year). Happily, the album proved it was not a one-off, delivering her beautifully contrived and focused aesthetic with a suite of songs to match anything in the past 20 years.
What with it being new music and everything, the picture does become a little more complicated thanks to deluxe editions with extra songs, and then the whole “Paradise” project which was both a separate mini album in its own right and repackaged with Born To Die as “Born To Die: The Paradise Edition” (see what they did there). For the purposes of this rundown, we’ve just stuck to the original 12-track version.
In an age when everyone tries so hard to be authentic and ordinary and relatable, Lana Del Rey has been a wonderful antidote, creating her own universe that mixes Hollywood’s Golden Age retro stylings, trailer-trash iconography and elements of hip-hop to create something identifiably her own. The use of several buzzwords and phrases throughout the album feels not so much a product of limited vocabulary but a deliberate ruse to bind the songs together as a whole.
Perhaps it’s irritating to some, but I tend to be biased when it comes to Lana Del Rey.