There’s a new girl in town with an invented name that sounds so exotic and the look of a young American suburban wife from the 60’s. Her singing voice is captivating indeed as she switches between femme-fatale icy coos and sex-kitten purrs, effectively naïve and dangerous at the same time. (Check out hip-hop flavored “Off To The Races” and melodramatic “Carmen”). Her seductive warbling brings artists like Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Gwen Stefani to mind but hers is rather unique.
The interesting thing about Lana is that you can’t really pinpoint or pigeonhole her music. Some call it Indie Pop. Some label it as Alternative. She describes herself as a gangsta Nancy Sinatra and her music, “Hollywood Sadcore” (whatever that means!) The album sounds as if it is a soundtrack made for some tragic-themed indie movie. (“Summertime Sadness”, “Diet Mountain Dew”, “Without You”, “Dark Paradise”). Her singles, “Videogames”, “Born To Die” and “Blue Jeans” are notable songs that will establish Lana Del Rey, the brand. However, her songs are way too similar that one can’t really tell which is which. It would be interesting to see how she would perform these songs in a full-length concert without driving the audience go zzzzzzzzzzzz. Some tracks (“Lucky Ones”, “Lolita”, “National Anthem”) are overproduced because their melodies are somewhat weak and uninspiring. "Born To Die" is nevertheless a cohesive album that unfortunately falls victim to its own repetitiveness.
It is an era where things from the past are all coming back and being rebranded as some cool chic urban things. Therefore retro-loving crowd will definitely embrace this album. It is early to tell whether she’s nothing but a one-trick pony. “Born To Die” plays well as lounge music. Play it in the background when you are hosting a dinner but make sure that the food you are serving is scrumptious and the conversation, stimulating. Should Adele be warned? Not quite yet.