Album review: Paradise Edition of Born to Die

If you follow me on Twitter you know I am a little obsessed with Lana Del Rey’s music. Sure she might be full of herself, for example saying recently she didn’t think she would make another album because everything she wanted to say she has already said. But what artist isn’t full of themselves in some way and  made their own grandiose statement at one time or another. Didn’t JT say he was done with singing a few years back so he could focus on acting — going as far to refer to himself an actor, businessman, and singer-songwriter (notice the order there)? And yet here he is bringing sexy back yet again with the recently released album The 20/20 Experience. 

So there, I’ve proven my point (a bit) – artists are a bit lofty in their perception of themselves. But in the case of Lana Del Rey, when you strip it away, you get a singer whose cinematic sound is truly unique, with vocals that are throaty and real as it carries you in and out of stories laced in pop culture Americana.

I loved her sophomore album Born to Die. There is not one song I don’t like on that album.  My favorites are “Born to Die,” the album’s title track, “National Anthem” and “Off to the Races.” The lyrics to the last make it hard to not  sing along to the song, while the video for the first brings her music to life in such an extraordinary, theatrical way.

Del Rey’s Paradise has received mixed reviews, and while I don’t think it is as strong as Born to Die, I do really, really like a couple of its tracks, “Ride,” “American” and “Gods and Monsters.”

“Ride” is worth download because unlike her more fast paced, gritty tracks  on Born to Die, her vocals are stripped of the adolescent wide eyed anger that followed her on that album, and bring out a softer, more  cathartic Del Rey (despite the fact the song is about a prostitute, apparently).

“American” is by far my favorite song on the album. I can’t stop listening to it. The music is surprisingly eloquent for the story she is telling.  It’s the perfect tune to listen to while sipping a glass of wine in the tub. Yeah, I went there, because that’s the kind of chill vibe is encourages.

And then there’s “Gods and Monsters.” Oh you deliciously wicked, strange, lovely, slightly off-beat track. 

What can I say about this one other than 1) don’t sing it out loud in the office while wearing a headset cause the lyric with the F Bomb is a little provocative, and 2) it’s as the song says, “it’s innocence lost.”

Critics slam her, fans love her, I simply put appreciate unique music, individuality and freedom of expression, and Del Rey has these in spades.


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