By Isa Hemphrey
Lana Del Rey is not the voice of our generation. Someone who cites Britney Spears as one of her musical influences certainly doesn’t speak to me, anyway. But so what? The ‘voice of our generation’ label has been slapped on so many artists before they’ve even released their debut album, it doesn’t mean anything any more.
So how is Lana Del Rey’s debut album Born to Die? Well, it’s good. It’s great actually. It is an album by a ridiculously pretty 25-year-old, who likes to sing songs about being young and in love and how exhilarating and tragic the whole experience is. Born to Die is the kind of atmospheric pop music that you listen to when your only night-time companion is a bottle of red. It has bittersweet vocals, reminiscent of Wanda Jackson, coupled with the powerful and rough feminine romance of Nancy Sinatra.
In many ways, Lana Del Rey has hopped on the Florence and the Machine bandwagon, with music that transcends many genres but makes extensive use of drum beats and echo vocals in tracks like Diet Mountain Dew, Born to Die and Off to the Races. Then there are the slow orchestral tracks like Video Games, a single that will probably outlive the album. But in no way does this make Lana Del Rey a one-hit wonder. Born to Die is proof that she has much more to offer than just a signature low-pitched voice.
Even if this is the only album Del Rey ever releases and she’s been forgotten 10 years from now, Born to Die is still worth having in your music collection for its beautiful, honest love songs and bittersweet lyrics. In Dark Paradise, Del Rey sings: ‘There’s no remedy for memory of faces / Like a melody, it won’t lift my head / Your soul is hunting me and telling me / That everything is fine / But I wish I was dead.’