Lana Del Rey has had quite the ride since her song “Video Games” and its accompanying video went viral in 2011.
Hers is the classic story of how the internet giveth and the internet taketh away. Almost immediately upon its release, “Video Games” received adoration from just about every corner of the net for its startlingly astute summation of the detached, vicarious nature of life in the digital age, for Lana’s gorgeous voice (and looks), and for its lush original sound.
A second single, “Blue Jeans” followed suit as an exercize in glamorous pop melancholy. Its grainy, nostalgic video solidified Lana’s signature aura. Mixing documentary footage with sultry shots of the singer vamping for the camera, it positioned her as a figure from the past – another bygone victim of pop culture.
When Lana del Rey‘s third single (and accompanying video) “Born to Die” dropped later that fall, it seemed as though the young singer was poised at the precipice of breakthrough stardom. She had it all – the talent, the looks, the style, the buzz.
But then there was the Saturday Night Live performance. In the span of two nationally televised songs, her entire house of cards seemed to crumble before our eyes.
She’s not ready for prime time, she’s too young, she’s a terrible performer, her career is over – these were the headlines plastered across music sites the next day.
All these proclamations, of course, were equally (and probably more) overwrought than those issued earlier in her praise. The truth is, Lana Del Rey is neither the next coming of Mozart nor an absolute failure. She is a talented singer and has the potential to be a great pop star, but like any young artist is still maturing.
So, after all that she releases her first LP this week. Titled Born To Die, the album delivers on the strength of her early singles and offers a more fully fleshed out portrayal of her aesthetic. Is it, as many seemed to be hoping, the pop album to end all pop albums? No, unfortunately not. But it is a very strong first effort from this promising young artist.
1. Born To Die
2. Off To The Races
3. Blue Jeans
4. Video Games
5. Diet Mountain Dew
6. National Anthem
7. Dark Paradise
10. Million Dollar Man
11. Summertime Sadness
12. This Is What Makes Us Girls