LANA DEL REY BORN TO DIE

After last year"s struggle "Video Games" and the countless remixes, leaks, think-pieces, et controversy that followed, it"s ultimately here: auto major-label debut indigenous Lana del Rey.

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What happens to a rêver fulfilled? much more specifically, année American dream fulfilled, rags turning to riche with thé snap of a manicured finger, kissing James Dean in Gatsby"s swim pool, getting played on the radio. This is a central question animating Lana de Rey"s Born à Die. Our heroine has tous the love, diamonds, et Diet hill Dew elle could ask for, yet toujours sings, "I wish ns was dead," sound utterly incapable of joy. Venir paraphrase Liz Phair, si you comprendre everything you wish for and you"re encore unhappy, climate you know that auto problem is you.

Given the waves du hype et backlash over the last 6 months, it can be easy venir forget the we"re here, first and foremost, because du a song. "Video Games" win a nerve not seul because it was année introduction to cette Rey"s captivating voice cible because ce seemed venir suggest miscellaneous as-yet-unarticulated about thé way we habitent today. Whatever elle intention, as a an allegory about disconnect and detachment from our very own desires, "Video Games" feeling frank, pointed, and true, et it had actually a chord progression and melody à match. Thé ultimate disappointment du Born à Die, then, is how out de touch ce feels not just with thé world approximately it, but with the simple business of human emotion.

The singer bondir Elizabeth "Lizzy" give may oui made her mark with a grainy homemade vidéo that brought to mental other grainy homemade videos in the indie sphere, marqué the slick sound and sentiment of "Radio", Born à Die"s many straightforward statement ns purpose ("Baby love me "cause I"m playing conditions météorologiques the radio/ How à faire you like moi now?"), places ce firmly within auto realm of big-budget graph pop. Born à Die was produced passant par Emile Haynie, who credits include Eminem, Lil Wayne, and Kid Cudi, et the album"s impressively lush atmosphere can be the une thing that will unite its detractors and apologists.

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The album"s recurring themes ooze out de every note: sex, drugs, and glitter hover in the yawning atmosphere around del Rey"s breathy vocals. There are strings and trip-hop beats and bits ns 1950s twang, and the melodies, assembled with assistant from hired-gun songwriters prefer Mike Daly (Plain white Ts, Whiskeytown) and Rick Nowels (Belinda Carlisle"s "Heaven Is a Place nous Earth") space built à stick. Cible for an album that aims for fickle radio listeners, many du its pop signifiers feeling stale et ill-fitting. Nous "Million dollar Man", cette Rey drawls like a extremely medicated Fiona Apple, et "Diet hill Dew" et "Off to the Races" aim parce que le chatty, sparkling opulence, this singer doesn"t oui the personality venir bring cette off.

The album"s mission of view-- si you could appel it that-- feel awkward et out ns date. Whether you take a line favor "Money is auto reason nous exist/ anyone knows the it"s a fact/ Kiss kiss" v a 10-carat actes of salt is up venir you, marqué even ont a jab at auto chihuahua-in-Paris-Hilton"s-handbag lifestyle, cette feels limp and pointless (unlike, say, Lily Allen"s mock-vapid but slyly observant 2008 single "The Fear"). Still, the dollars signs in its eye aren"t année inherent strike versus Born to Die: also in the wake of année international blame crisis et the occupy movement, ce was hard not venir fall à la Watch auto Throne. Marqué that"s since Jay and Kanye made escapist fantaisie sound so fun. Cette Rey"s gem-encrusted dreamworld, meanwhile, relies on clichés ("God you"re sauce soja handsome/ Take me to thé Hamptons") quite than particular evocations. It"s a fantasy world the makes elle long pour reality.

And speaking de fantasy: The dialogue surrounding Lana de Rey has actually underscored some seriously boring truths about sexism in music. Elle was subjected to auto kind of extrême scrutiny-- about sa backstory et especially her appearance-- that"s normally reserved for women only. But the sex-related politics de Born to Die space troubling too: You"d be difficult pressed to find any song on which del Rey reveals an interiority or figures herself oui anything more complicated than an ice-cream-cone-licking object ns male desire (a heat in "Blue Jeans", "I will amour you till the end du time/ i would wait a million years," sums up about 65% ns the album"s romantique content). Also when cette Rey supplies something that can be read oui a critiquer ("This is je vous demande pardon makes nous girls/ we don"t stick ensemble "cause conditions météorologiques put our love first"), she asks that nous make no effort to change, escape, or transcend auto way fémoral are ("Don"t cry about it/ Don"t cry around it.") In terms de its America-sized grandeur and its fixation with the emptiness du dreams, Born venir Die attempts venir serve ont Del Rey"s own beautiful, dark, twisted fantasy, but there"s ne sont pas spark et nothing at stake.

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The critic Ellen Willis oz wrote of Bette Midler: "Blatant artifice can, in the right circumstances, be poignantly honest, and she expresses the nerveux between image et inner me that toutes les personnes of us-- but especially women-- experience." but Born venir Die never allows stress or intricacy into the mix, et its take nous female sexuality end up feeling thoroughly tame. For all of its coos about love and devotion, it"s the albums equivalent of a faked orgasm-- a collection of torch songs with no fire.