After nearly an entire year of being force-fed the hype, I finally gave Elizabeth Grant, known to most as Lana Del Rey, a fair chance on Saturday, January 14…and I wish I hadn’t. They say first impressions are the most important, and my inability to erase her dreadful SNL performance from my memory, has forever scarred my opinion of the pouty-faced starlet who, at times, has shown some great potential.
Born To Die is Del Rey’s second studio album and major label debut. While she is recognized as a writer on every track of the album, I think the ONLY real magic behind the LP can be credited to producer Emile Haynie (Kid Cudi, Gym Class Heroes, Eminem, Kanye West). Masking a less than impressive collection of melancholy teen pop songs with superb production, Haynie fulfills his role in the incredibly thought-out and thorough formula to create a modern day pop star out of Lana Del Rey.
I listened to the album from start to finish in one sitting and, once it was over, I felt like I just watched every season of ‘The OC’. With recurring themes of falling for the wrong guy, young-girl anthems, and Ke$ha style pre-partying, I was just inches away from Marissa, Summer, and Ryan at a beach party surrounded by rich teens with real world problems of young love, no allowance and beer-pong abuse.
My favorite track on the album is ‘Off To The Races’. Think ‘Garbage – Only Happy When It Rains’ meets ‘Drake’s – Best I Ever Had’. Del Rey’s elegant vocals over a trip-hop beat straight from 1994 scream up-tempo club remix that is sure to be 2012’s ‘Rollin in The Deep’.
All in all, the album accomplished what it set out to. However, the poor timing of the post-SNL release coupled with my concern for the music industry’s thinking that there is a recipe for success and the artist is just a small ingredient… forces me to give this album a weak review. I think Del Rey may want to revisit her roots and free the Elizabeth Grant inside that shows glimmers of artistic greatness throughout the 15-track album.