When I first heard the song "Video Games" by newcomer, Lana Del Rey, I didn't like it at all. It was sluggish and didn't seem to have any drums anywhere in the song. Little did I know that this song slowly seeped into my subconscious like an invisible Trojan horse waiting to unlock my brain to a near irrational fanaticism. When "Born To Die" was finally released, I found myself listening to the entire album over and over and my Last.fm account captures this shamelessly.
On this debut album, we get the songs that every one's heard on various satellite radio stations and music blogs, such as "Born to Die", "Blue Jeans", and the ubiquitous "Video Games". Each of these songs sound more vibrant and defined on the album than by themselves on the radio, whether it's merely a psychological observation or not. Stand out tracks that no one gets to hear yet include "Off To The Races", where we hear LDR almost rapping. "Diet Mountain Dew", despite it's hilarious title, has a sultry vocal with a hip hop beat. "National Anthem", which starts off with a string section similar to "Bitter Sweet Symphony" by the Verve, has a couple of lyrical cringe moments, but delivers an epic punch. "Dark Paradise" channels the balladry of Madonna. "Radio" could possibly be my favorite song on the album with it's slow building structure and melody warping into an epic bridge/chorus that leaves me with goose bumps. LDR also uses the word "Fuck" on this song, so I would recommend buying the uncensored version of this album from an independent record store like Indy CD & Vinyl and not from Target or Walmart. "Carmen", "Million Dollar Man", and "Summertime Sadness" all showcase LDR's sultry vocal ability, while the album closer, "This is What Makes Us Girls" gives us an r&b flavor style of her singing.
This album has already topped the charts in 11 countries and it deserves all the success it gains. I no longer hate "Video Games" and have even sang it at my local karaoke (very horribly). If you dislike LDR, I would recommend giving this album an open minded listen. If you are already an LDR fan, then this album will get many repeated plays on your player of choice.
- Mike C.