Thursday, August 15, 2013

Album Review: Born to Die by Lana Del Rey

If you were 20 in 2012 when this album came out you would probably find this album very new and refreshing. If you were 40 in 2012 and you heard this album without any context you would assume it was some 90's artist that you had just never heard before. While so many female artists are borrowing heavily from the 50's and 60's and early 80's, Lana Del Rey does sound refreshingly different as she borrows heavily from 90's.

If you think about artists like Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, Vanessa Daou, and others around that time period you'll get a good sense of the music that influenced this album. There are moments, like on "Blue Jeans," where it almost feels like a complete Tori Amos ripoff.

By the way this isn't a bad thing. There were some interesting female artists during the 90's and so she's borrowing from an interesting time. The problem is that the album just doesn't hold up over 12 songs. It's a bit overproduced at times and lyrically a bit weak at times. Still it does have a different sound than a lot of stuff out there right now and so it feels a bit fresh in that sense, just as Jewel felt fresh in 1995.

I bring up Jewel on purpose because Lana Del Rey made quite a splash with this album. It went to number 2 in the US and number 1 in the UK. The trick for Lana Del Rey will be to see if she can follow this up with another hit album or if she'll fade into the background as Jewel did. With the success of this album she will inspire many more artists to pull from that mid 90's sound and so she won't sound as unique the next time around.

Lyrically she's interesting and so perhaps she can push her music forward. Interesting to see.

Following the Rhapsody rating method I give it 2 out of 5 stars for Not Bad.

1 comment:

  1. I listened to this song before reading your review and thought to myself, "Man, that sounds just like Tori Amos."

    I remember the first time I heard "Hey, Jealousy" by the Gin Blossoms on the radio. I actually do remember the moment because I liked the song so much, and I it came on the radio at a moment I was having this very confident feeling about figuring out how the roads worked after having moved to Washington, D.C. Anyway, the whole time I was listening to it, I was thinking to myself, "Wow, John Waite's back, and he sounds fantastic."