Lana Del Rey – Born to Die


I cannot get this woman out of my head.  Seriously.  Lana Del Rey, real name Elizabeth Grant, was born in New York City to the daughter of a millionaire father, who funded much of her early career.

Fascination and interest swarmed around her when “Video Games” rose via YouTube and what would later be discovered the ghost of the former Lizzy Grant, and her defeated career.

A highly anticipated performance on the Saturday Night Live show then divides opinion and, as you know, creates waves of criticism.  This overshadowed a second performance on the David Letterman show, but didn’t affect sales when the album was released.

A self-proclaimed “Gangsta Nancy Sinatra”; the public began to favorably believe Lana was a manufactured “dead behind the eyes”, evil music company’s dream.

From the release of her album, fatalistically named ‘Born to Die’, Lana has collected a small assortment of awards, and has been visibly shaken when accepting them.  (Q Awards and Brit Awards.)  And perhaps it was down to nerves that rattled her SNL performance…

“Born to Die” itself is filled with hypnotic songs of sadness, helpless devotion to a toxic love.  Any woman that could write an album this bittersweet is almost guaranteed to have suffered in a past relationship.  What’s engrossing about Lana and her stance in this is her captivation not only with the bad-side of a man; but her attraction to her own heavy-hearted melancholy being brought out from this liaison, as if it’s magnetising, she delves within it, welcomes it, soaking in her “Dark Paradise”.

Which could only lead to giving more wood to the critics’ fire and feeding the moral panic of our time; pop music damages our youth and their perception on what a healthy relationship should be…  Not that I necessarily agree with this (Rihanna has a lot to answer for) and of course popular music is no stranger to the less-than fairy tale romance.  Take the Shirelle’s ‘Baby it’s you’, released in 1969, the song sings of hopelessly loving a cheat, recently covered in a stylish Peroni advert that could easily be chopped and cut in a Del Rey home-made music vid.  But the point is; the Shirelles didn’t get as much backlash as Lana has, and are still celebrated as artists.  Pop music has always sung songs of heartbreak, and it’s true the best records are made from this…

I love Nick Hornby for “What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss.  Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?”

Lana, herself described her sound as ‘Hollywood Sadcore’, doesn’t flick an eyelash to the negativity and still floats with a delicate grace that has already been pierced with the pain of sorrow.

Whether Lana wrote her songs or not, The Shirelle’s certainly didn’t write ‘Baby it’s You’, I heard this voice coming from the TV on Christmas day and I was transfixed.  Lana is mesmerisingly beautiful.  Her voice entrancing, yet dark, and it has depth.  Whilst everyone’s in a furor about the music’s authenticity they’re forgetting what’s really drawn us to her in the first place; the allure and beauty of simple pop melodies.


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