Lana Del Rey - ‘Born To Die’ album review

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Read our review of one of 2012's most anticipated albums

Watch ‘Video Games’ by Lana Del Rey


  • Lana Del Rey - ‘Born To Die’

    Rating: 3/5
    By Kim Taylor Bennett

    In case you haven't been following the past six months of rabid Del Rey dissection, the primary points of interest have been, are her lips fake? Was she much cop when she made music under her real name, Lizzy Grant? Followed by endless cul-de-sac debates about authenticity, with each televised performance posted on YouTube inspiring pages of commentary, reaching fever pitch after a recent 'Saturday Night Live' appearance. 'Career killer!' crowed her critics; meanwhile a leaked email from an NBC news anchor lambasted the 25-year-old's effort as 'one of worst outings in SNL history'.

    Certainly her performance was off-key and painfully awkward, but having seen her in the flesh we can confirm that Lana Del Rey can sing. She's actually quite captivating and her confidence will surely grow. Just give the girl a chance, ferchrissakes.

    Thankfully this debut has some excellent cuts beyond the now familiar femme fatale torch tunes 'Video Games', 'Born to Die' and 'Blue Jeans'. Backed by trip-hoppy beats, 'Off to the Races', 'National Anthem' and 'Diet Mountain Dew' up the ante; her melodies are mellifluous, her pacing surprising and nimble. Unfortunately, the compositions are let down by overcooked production: songs are slathered in strings and punctuated by distracting samples. Equally, her preoccupation with doomed affairs and seamy switchblade lovers wears thin over 12 tracks.

    Her imagery flutters with dresses donned and disrobed, lipstick and liquor. Only 'National Anthem' and the standout 'Radio' suggest she's got any backbone at all. Everywhere else she's a weak-kneed waif, helplessly beholden to a man, even as he leaves her sobbing in the dust. Del Rey's debut definitely needs a re-edit, but she's still a promising prospect. Haters keep hating; we're on Team Lana.

    Listen 'Born To Die' on Spotify

Users say

5 comments
Mimi
Mimi

Oh jeeezzz David, THAT's all you have to say? "EVERYBODY STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING! SOMEONE ON THE INTERNET IS WROOONG AND I AM RIGHT!" Urgh. Anyway, I'm on team Lana too! The woman is utterly fascinating, and I do adore her haunting voice. She can take such crude, ugly words and effortlessly make them sound like poetry - this is the sign of a true artist, and it cannot be manufactured.

Steph
Steph

Uh.. certainly parts of the SNL performance were off-key. Flat, I should say.

Roman
Roman

Hello all. In our eagerness to share our thoughts on Miss Del Rey's efforts with world we inadvertently gave her an extra star in her rating. The official verdict is 3/5 and today (Monday Jan 30) we've updated the feature to reflect this. Thanks Roman Tagoe Senior Content Producer, Time Out Digital

David
David

"Certainly her performance was off-key" if by that you mean in pitch rather than metaphorically, you really shouldn't be a music critic (or at least one who things they're musical), I've just listened to that SNL performance and it was weird, and possibly 'bad', but it wasn't out of tune at any point.