Interscope Records’ newest darling, Lana Del Rey, has just released her debut album, “Born To Die.” An odd mix of hip-hop beats with bluesy vocals and agonizingly naked lyrics, this new kind of pop music can either change the direction of pop music or be thrown to the wolves for its weirdness.
Unfortunately for Del Rey, 2012 got off to a bad start with her dismal “Saturday Night Live” performance that was supposed to promote her new album. Instead, it made a lot of people laugh. She was one of the few artists in “SNL” history to perform without having an album out and her nerves got the best of her. However, the music should always speak for itself and as far as this debut goes, it speaks highly of Del Rey.
The common thread throughout this album is that Del Rey is determined to tell her life story, even if it gets repetitive. Her voice goes so deep it’s reminiscent of Cher and it could skew into boring territory, but she manages to hold her own on each track.
It’s a stretch to call this kind of music pop because of songs like “Born To Die” and “Video Games,” which are very old-school and almost slow and cabaret-like. But songs like “Diet Mountain Dew” and “This Is What Makes Us Girls” show a more playful side of Del Rey that most of America has not seen yet. She plays different roles on various tracks, showing each side of her personality.
There are some very awkward moments when she tries to rap in “National Anthem,” but the song is too fun and narcissistic to really bother anyone. While Del Rey’s satirical and extremely sarcastic views about life are apparent in her music, she never strays into full-on pretentious mode.
Many critics have lambasted Del Rey for being unemotional in most of her songs, but what they fail to see is that her apathy is what makes her unique. She’s telling the story as if in a stoned haze with a circle of friends. And that might not be appealing to some people, but she has gotten herself a tight group of followers on Twitter and Tumblr who are dedicated to making her successful this year.
There’s something extremely raw and strange about Del Rey. She sings as if someone stole her soul and she is now trying to retrieve it. She is not the new Adele — she is the opposite. She doesn’t pine for a man already lost to her — she almost shrugs off her heartache, the tragedy and her suicidal thoughts. She’s an ice queen and there needs to be more of that in pop music right now.