Lana Del Rey has made a captivating impact on the music scene this year with her sophomore album “Born to Die,” which contains an array of unique songs with romantic lyrics, haunting melodies, and sultry vocals that pierces the soul with beautiful and exquisite subtlety. Formally known as Lizzy Grant, Lana Del Rey is a singer/songwriter from New York City that has a profound outlook on love and conveys it beautifully in her album’s tracks. The sultry songstress delivers an evocative blend of epic love songs laced with heartbreak and edgy pop anthems worthy of worldwide notability. She is the image of the American beauty queen-gone-bad with her gangster edge and promiscuous lyrics.
Her musical inspirations ranges from all corners of the music spectrum but her style stands alone with her own acquired genre, Hollywood Sadcore. She possesses the same grace and style as classic Hollywood starlets, but with a rebellious and mysterious nature. Her image reflects the tone of her music, bringing her hipster grit and retro glam to each song. She gained worldwide recognition for her YouTube music video for her song “Video Games.”
The dream-like melodious love ballad first slipped into music airwaves last year when her YouTube video went viral. The song starts with an echoing hum of church bells and whimsical harps followed by the steady pound of pianos chords and growing orchestral strings, reverberated to give the song its hazy quality. “Video Games” send listeners on a dreamy path through serene melodies and poetic lyrics as her voice gently leads the way. The understated tone is similar to a cathedrals quiet beauty; it’s tranquil and mesmerizing.
“Go play your video games/It’s you, it’s you, it’s all for you/Everything I do/I tell you all the time/Heaven is a place on earth with you.” Her ability to romanticize a common male pastime and apply it to her nostalgic love song is uncanny. However, despite the romantic theme, the song has dramatic melancholy undertones that express a deep sense of longing for a fleeting but incandescent love.
The nostalgic theme carries through to her other songs like Born to Die and Blue Jeans. Listeners will feel a strong sense that each song is rooted from sentimental experiences from her past, where the memories caress each note and lyric with clarifying and heartfelt depth.
Her husky voice, in which she has labeled as a “gangster Nancy Sinatra,” and haunting melody in her single “Born to Die” creates an edgy melodramatic breakup song. The combination of orchestral strings, accented drumbeats, and eerie lyrics is undeniably stirring. “Feet don’t fail me now /Take me to the finish line /All my heart, it breaks every step that I take /But I’m hoping that the gates they’ll tell me that you’re mine.” The song and music video is beautiful, but leaves a dark unsettling imprint on your mind that will haunt you, but its bewitching quality will make you yearn for more.
Despite the tempestuously emotional songs, the album also contains bubble gum pop songs like “Radio,” Diet Mountain Dew,” “This is What Makes Us Girls,” and “National Anthem.” Her songs often express patriotic connotations and many of the images from her music videos include fireworks and vintage American Flags. Also, the use of subtle patriotic colors on her album cover conveys the continuation of the All-American theme. “Red, white, blue in the sky/ Summer is in the air/ And baby heavens in your eyes/I’m your National Anthem.”
The album also has sultry songs that match her temptress persona. Songs like “Off to the Races,” “Lolita,” and “Carmen” have a slinky movement of melody that is playfully alluring. “I’m so crazy baby/ I’m sorry that I’m misbehaving/ I’m your little starlet/ Queen of Coney Island/Raising hell all over town/Sorry ’bout it.”
Overall, Lana Del Rey’s thought-provoking lyrics and vampy voice along with unique blend of beats and cinematic strings, creates a beautiful and innovative collection of songs that put her on the charts, but sets her apart from other indie pop artist. Her descriptive lyrics and avant-garde melodies transport listeners into the world of each song filled with images of fireworks, love, heartbreak, New York City, and the dreamy world of video games.