Lana Del Rey | Born To Die: Paradise Edition
Rather than a transitory trending topic, compelling in her revamped image (those lips!), Lana Del Rey has emerged as an artist within her own right. As The Paradise Edition – a re-release of her debut aired alongside of smattering of newer songs – sees the light of day 11 months on from her debut, it is not her transformation from Lizzie to Lana that is garnering attention, but her work. A year of prolific producing and touring passed, Del Rey has seemingly made a place for herself in the industry.
However, Del Rey’s successes this year do not necessarily translate into making her music any more appealing to those who shy from its slow, luscious sound. The new material is so similar lyrically that it will most likely further alienate those opposed and further enrapture those already bewitched. Yet, good music – real music – should create something, mean something. Perhaps Paradise doesn’t offer a new or different sound than Born to Die, but in its evocation of a powerfully divergent sense of the world it offers a form of escapism. Calling upon Americana idealism, the beauty amidst the darkness, in Paradise, Del Rey continues to create rich images that work to arouse similarly potent emotions.
Opening with what Del Rey admits is the song she can most relate to, ‘Bel Air’ is delicate and lullaby-like. Soft and sad (yet aren’t most of Del Rey’s songs melancholy?) ‘Bel Aire’ is probably the most disparate track on the relatively short second disc. ‘Gods & Monsters,’ also dark, is a tough and sexy sound that paradoxically manages to be elegant, emerging as a haunting highlight amidst the other tracks present. Yet, considering the limited number of new songs on show, nearly every other track manages to distinguish itself – and not just through raunchy claims about a certain taste of a certain area of Del Rey’s body. And on that note, ‘Cola’ really does deserve recognition that goes deeper than that that now infamous opening lyric, for the mix of the commanding beats with Del Rey’s whispery voice is enticing. Yet it might be ‘Ride’ that is the most striking track, for the doleful, melodic sound coalesces with the optimism of the lyrics to complete the album.
The succinct nature of the Paradise Edition thus accentuates the tracks that fail to match the quality of Del Rey’s other works. While not wholly disappointing or totally off-putting, ‘Blue Velvet’ is still obviously the least compelling track of the album. In fact, ‘Blue Velvet’ feels almost annoying; and although it contributes to the feelings of nostalgia felt throughout Paradise, it was never really a good song in the 1950s, and Del Rey’s remake of The Clovers song could’ve been left off of Paradise.
While there’s no denying that Paradise is, at its heart, more of the same from Lana Del Rey, there is also no denying that no one makes a trailer park seem sexier. Paradise is further proof and assurance of Del Rey’s pervasive artistic talent.