They call her the new ‘IT’ girl. She cites everyone from ‘The King’ to ‘The Boss’, Britney Spear and Kurt Cobain as her influences. One thing’s for sure; Lana Del Rey is THE new artist of 2012. Despite some criticism of a ‘Saturday Night Live’ performance, Lana has received no lick to her credibility. All the hype and buzz is justified. With one of the first and most eagerly anticipated albums of twenty twelve, it’s no surprise that the starlet singer hasn’t been able to avoid those dreaded YouTube and Internet leaks. Still, what that gives us is a preview of an album we should all buy next week – a near-perfect debut that makes for the best pop music we’ve heard in years. This is what the genre should sound like: the perfect mix of nostalgia and future, influence and inspiration.
Born To Die leads with the big single and album title track. Born To Die lies hauntingly over a heartbeat beat that evokes the feeling of a dying love, like the great video and Lana slow kissing her leading man in a speeding car. The vivid vocals lament the loss of love as she harmonises “let’s take a walk on the wild side/let me kiss (f%$£) you hard in the pouring rain/you like your girls insane”. The passion and power of this song comes through the speakers.
On Off To The Races Del Rey polishes her nails with a pop princess confidence fit for a queen. While on Blue Jeans she wears her ‘Gangster Nancy Sinatra’ style with fitted pride, referencing James Dean and talking about “loving to the end of time” on a cut that won’t fade anytime soon. The first single Video Games still plays well like Halo. From its YouTube made video to its buzz and hype generated, this is a cult classic for the culture of the modern crowd.
Diet Mtn Dew avoids copyright laws and goes down smooth as another pop culture hit that’s sparkling like the singer’s contagious charisma. While the fireworks go off for National Anthem as the flag-bearing singer continues her patriotic streak with a new sound and style for today’s Americana. It’s Dark Paradise however, that is the best ‘press repeat’ track on this album. As Lana clings on to the thought of a lost love, yearning “there’s no remedy/for memory” she shines and illuminates the heaven-sent, atmospheric feel of an album that sees the darkness but doesn’t shadow from hope or mainstream scope.
Radio is bound for some plays on that medium, as it spins the styles of billboard favourites with ones from the jukebox days. Carmen is an individual great with its own identity as Lana sings a story we can all accept and identify with. Million Dollar Man is a cinematic classic. Casting agents need to take notice. This writing talent has directed herself in the vain of a screen siren. Another album favourite is Summertime Sadness. This track turns it up a notch and almost feels brighter, despite the tone. It’s a beautiful struggle. It’s HOT! She sings “feeling electric tonight/cruising down the coast going about 99”, adding “I know if I go, I’d die happy tonight”. Need we say anymore?
‘This Is What Makes Us Girls” is the new independent woman anthem, boys and Beyonce beware. Then when the album gets deluxe, it really expands. Without You is a song with heart and soul in abundance, making for the perfect break-up record. Lolita runs, and runs away with more style and envelope-pushing, stamp-licking style, sending the mainstream her way. While the closer Lucky Ones chimes a new positive beat; it’s a celebratory, walking song of a woman who now runs this pop game. Sorry Lady Gaga and others. Juliette Lewis owes Lana Del Rey an apology. We need to be thankful for this new star. She’s welcome. TIM DAVID HARVEY.