How can something like this exist?
Let’s think about that for a second. There was an event, millions of years ago, and through chance or perhaps divine inspiration the world as we knew it solidified and the oceans began. And then thousands upon thousands of years later an amoeba happens, and somehow it crawls out of the swamp and then, dinosaurs. Fucking dinosaurs! Think about it! There were fucking dinosaurs right where you are now!
So the dinosaurs die because of a giant meteor and then monkeys and then people. Then there were a whole bunch of people. And then there were smart people. And then there were stupid people. And then there was war, and famine, and abuse of power.
And somehow, people drifted to different parts of the globe and settled and now we’ve pretty much filled out the whole planet except for the oceans but that’ll probably happen sooner or later and pretty soon we might actually go live on another planet. But that will come later. What’s happening now is Lana Del Rey released an album that sounds so completely fucking mental that it simply shouldn’t exist. It sounds like the soundtrack to a James Bond movie directed by and starring twelve year olds.
The songs are track-listed on “Born to Die” in a good-bad-good-bad formation that is hard to miss. Every other song has “funky” drums over “R&B strings” and “very bad lyrics”, the sort of thing that you imagine non-ironically using as montage music or perhaps a commercial for jogging. Then – as if by magic! – the other half of the album actually has a catchy hook. Even “The National Anthem” is totally memorable even if the lyrics read like they were written by someone with acute Aspergers and a Kool Keith album. But the songs are good. It’s as if someone was trying to make a Lana Del Sandwich, or in this album’s case, a Sadwich.
Her standout tracks are the slower ballad types, as they manage to capture her at her best; quasi-sultry vocals over massive strings that sound straight out of Scott Walker and twangy guitar that sounds like it’s been directly lifted from a James Bond soundtrack.
Lana Del Rey is our generation’s Tiffany – she is the mall pin-up for the Facebook generation. Kind of morose and artistically talented yet without direction. This should be required listening for anyone under sixteen, and I don’t mean that in a bad way; this is the kind of pop album (and let’s make no mistake: this is a pop album) that someone that age might get into and then explore similar music. There’s echoes of Phoenix and “Discovery” era Daft Punk and Portishead on here and – with luck – someone will get into them through Lana Del Rey.
It’s not a bad album. She’s the Nelly Furtado for people young enough to not remember Nelly Furtado. The backlash against Lana is unfounded because people expect her to be an “artist” because everyone takes themselves way too fucking seriously these days. What, do you think you’re too good for Chipotle? It’s a thing. You put it in your mouth and eat it, goddamit. It’s a perfectly good burrito/pop album. Not everything has to be organic. Lana Del Rey is not your Kurt Cobain nor your Fiona Apple. She’s not terrible. This will probably sell a lot of albums to people who are of high school age, which is an age that anyone who has a negative opinion of Lana is just simply too old to understand anymore. This is a good album, but it is not for you and I; there’s a song called “Summertime Sadness”, for christ’s sake, and it sounds exactly like how you’d think it would. This is an album for a girl breaking up with a boyfriend for the first time. This is the album that they put on. Later, they will mature, but for now, this is perfect for them.
Sure, we’d all love it if every new artist was Joni Mitchell, but for now, just hum along to “Video Games” and accept that you will never understand the appeal of Lana Del Rey. Everyone on this planet will die one day and there are way better things to worry about. It’s either this or Hannah Montana, OK? Just deal with it.