on November 13, 2012
So I just ordered a new copy of BTD:TPE through Amazon (see comments for link) and got what I originally wanted months ago.
Born To Die: The Paradise Edition is really two albums (BTD and Paradise) by Lana Del Rey. The individual reviews can be found below, but all in all, if you like Ms. Del Rey's music, this is the version to get, in my opinion. You get all the main tracks of Born To Die and the same version of Paradise you'd find if you bought it individually. As far as I know, this is the only CD to include all three "extra" tracks for Born To Die on one disc. When I originally bought BTD last summer, I had to track the other songs (13-15 on disc) down individually.
BORN TO DIE (Review): I have fairly eclectic music tastes, but this album absolutely bowled me over last summer. I never would have expected to like someone who is described as a "gangsta Nancy Sinatra," but this album made me like her all the same. Born To Die is a well-written, varied effort from someone new to my musical radar. From the dark, depressed vibe of "Born To Die," "Summertime Sadness," and "Dark Paradise" to the cynical but upbeat "Diet Mountain Dew," I found myself drawn into Lana's world-weary attitude. However, it was the literate and insightful "National Anthem" and "Off to the Races" that really made this album a permanent fixture in my collection and not just a passing curiosity. "Off to the Races" is a superb analysis of a self-destructive relationship from both the masculine and feminine points-of-view, and its insights into the motivations, feelings, and fears of the pair, as well as its references to Nabokov's Lolita continue to fascinate me even after a year of repeated listens. While I don't love every song, this album was my favorite "discovery" of 2012.
PARADISE (Review): To say that I was excited for BTD's follow-up is an understatement; to say that I was disappointed would be the same. Where BTD features songs that feel decidedly different from each other in terms of tone, tempo, lyricism, and subject matter while still being thematically connected, Paradise is eight monotonously languid tracks with little to connect them besides a bored-sounding Lana. There are a couple of highlights, such as "Ride" and "Cola," but even the best Paradise has to offer would only have been middle-of-the-road efforts on BTD. Especially disappointing is the reappearance of several tired cliches in the lyrics, including the reuse of the phrase "[doing something] in the pale moonlight," which was okay once on BTD but should not have been used at least twice here. BTD showed that Lana's versatile voice and world-weary attitude could do different and worthwhile things; Paradise shows that cynicism and vulgarity aren't worthwhile by themselves.
I absolutely love Lana Del Rey's Born To Die album. I bought it on a whim this summer when Amazon had the MP3 version for $.99, and I was absolutely bowled over. I was so excited to buy it on CD (I still love me some physical product) and get the deluxe edition of BTD along with the new songs.
Imagine my disappointment, then, when I just popped the BTD:PE CD into my drive to copy the bonus 3 tracks to my iPhone and found out THEY AREN'T ON THE DISC! This is not an Amazon or Best Buy problem, either; this is an Interscope Records problem, and this CD will not get the five-star review it should from me until this error is rectified.
on May 12, 2014
I had heard the name of Lana Del Rey but was completely unfamiliar with her music until I came across "The Great Gatsby" soundtrack on Spotify...and fell in love with 'Young and Beautiful'. A few clicks later, I had become enamored with this album and was eager to purchase it. In the months since, it's been a definite favorite.
It's hard to describe Lana Del Rey's music - in many ways, it's a marriage of early 50s rock and roll, jazz, old time standards (a la Nat King Cole), and modern R&B/electronica. The "Born to Die" album, in particular, manages to merge these sounds into something both contemporary and nostalgic, with a decidedly refreshing modern edge. Towards the more jazz end of the spectrum are title track 'Born to Die', 'Video Games', 'Carmen', and 'Million Dollar Man'; 'Radio' and 'Lucky Ones' are nearly '60s in their atmosphere (though not their lyrics). 'Off to the Races', 'Diet Mountain Dew', 'Dark Paradise', 'Lolita'. and 'Summertime Sadness' are darker and more modern, while 'National Anthem' is both nostalgic and a true song of the new millennium (and perhaps the best track on the record).
The "Paradise" EP (included in this edition) has a distinctly different sound. The electronica vibe is nearly gone here; in its place is a more sweeping orchestra, though the soulful lyrics remain. 'Blue Velvet', the only cover on this double album (a re-working of the 1954 Clovers hit) is perhaps the best example of this sound; while it is soft, there is a mournfulness on here that fits in nicely with the other album. Perhaps the only one that really sticks out on the EP is 'Body Electric', which would have been in place on "Born to Die".
Lyrically, Lana Del Rey is very dark, with frequent references to suicide. And though there isn't a warning on the album picture here, both "Born to Die" and "Paradise" are, in the US at least, with a Parental Advisory for definite explicit content (including liberal use of the F-word). If you're an adult, there's nothing here any worse that you've probably heard before, but this is definitely not a record for young ears.
If Nancy Sinatra had an electronic vibe and sang modern, edgy songs, this would be the record she would release. It's soulful, with a brilliant voice and catchy, yet interesting tunes. In a world full of one-hit wonders, it's nice to come across an artist who is capable of writing a 15-track album that is both cohesive and unique, and doesn't compromise on her sound. I'm definitely looking forward to more from Lana Del Rey!
on November 18, 2012
Let me start by saying that Lizzy Grant/Lana Del Rey (from Lake Placid, NY) is, hands down, THE most alluring breakout artist of 2012...I would say "new" but under her born name, she released an album on the tiny 5 Points label (produced by the notable David Kahne (The Bangles and others) which had limited reach and was quickly pulled when she changed her name and signed her deal with Interscope/Polydor/Universal.
The fact that the original "Born To Die" had more Euro/UK appeal and she attracted as many people as she repelled in the US...made me wonder why this was completely ignored on critics' year-end 2012 lists...people are talking Frank Ocean, Frank Ocean, when LDR SHOULD be the focus as breakout artist of 2012...no Grammy noms either, weird...because she has an utterly beguiling, addictive, unique sound that could be seen as a musical narcotic...fresh and retro, cinematic, even a bit dangerous...VERY Lynchian and Tarantino-esque in that she captures what they do cinematically into her music...and she IS a great vivid songwriter, no doubt. Her own vidclips, many of which she shot & edited herself, like "Videogames", which captured the world blogosphere's interest in summer 2011, and got LDR her deal...accurately reflect her own music. Sure, her chanteuse-ian approach has been done before, just not in a while...the most recent artist to have a similar style is NYC's own Nicole Atkins, and LDR is similar in her lower vocal register, but Nicole is more indie/singer-songwriter, even a drop Jenny Lewis, but LDR mixes her style (calling her cold and unemotional is wrong and inaccurate) with triphop beats and atmospheres instead...and most Americans are not as familiar with these styles as much as Brits and Europeans are, which explains why she appeals more over there than here. She's even appeared on Brit & Girls Aloud member Cheryl Cole's 3rd solo album, 2012's "A Million Lights", on "Ghetto Baby", a fleshed out version of one of her own old demos, on backing vocals.
The music itself on "Born To Die" is amazing and fully formed...vivid and memorable, impressionable and highly detailed, great headphone music and remix friendly, utterly beguiling...as good as any classic debut album in recent memory, to be totally honest...history will be kind to this record...from the opening title track where she's a ghost thinking she's alive and reflecting on her life...you hear her ask "Hi, what, me??" after you hear some guy faintly yelling "Lana!! Lana!!!" What an opener. Then the interesting tracks continue their dark twisted cinematic path, retro yet modern..."Off To The Races" (with its hiphop cadence and her Lolita vocal turn), the lovely "Blue Jeans", the attention-grabbing "Video Games", twisted, catchy & dance-friendly "Diet Mountain Dew", the GORGEOUS "National Anthem" (which reminds me weirdly of "Graduation" by Vitamin C...remember her??), the just as pretty "Dark Paradise", which should have been a single, a contender for fave track here, "Radio" (which has a lyric that has you repeating the track to figure out what she's singing...what on the radio??), "Carmen" (the song that had to grow on me the most...liked it the least at first), "Million Dollar Man" (a tale of a prostitute perhaps??), the also-gorgeous "Summertime Sadness", the beguiling & smart "This Is What Makes Us Girls"...then the 3 great bonus tracks..."Without You" (killer), "Lolita" (her theme-song??), and amazing "Lucky Ones" (produced by Rick Nowels...who worked with Stevie Nicks and Gregg Alexander, pre-New Radicals)...
Then came the subsequent add-on EP "Paradise", whose songs are just as great as "Born To Die" but also serve as a roadmap for her next project, which I look forward to with ample anticipation...starting with the amazing epic, desert-dusted roadtrip of a track "Ride", produced by Rick Rubin...he must have been beguiled with our heroine and understood her direction 100%...it's a killer tune, kind of like a ballad but it has this momentum that builds and the melody on the chorus is neck-hair-tingling...then "American" which shows her love of Bruce, among other things and the song itself is solidly great...then, um, "Cola", a great UN-PC, gleefully un-kid-friendly, song...just as lyrically frank and sexually upfront, that it's as refreshing as the drink in the title...then "Body Electric", which is the most Lynchian/Tarantino-esque song here...just the opening lines alone made me think "Wild At Heart"..."Elvis is my daddy/Marilyn's my mother/And Jesus is my greatest friend"...seedy, dusty and trailerparky in the grandest way possible...then "Blue Velvet", a perfect cover if there ever was one...the song fits her cinematic style, the production is retro-modern, and the fact that one of David Lynch's key movies is "Blue Velvet" is not lost on LDR one bit...then, um, "Gods And Monsters"..."Cola" was just a taste for this track, just saying, this one goes all out that it's frankly startling...in a good way of course, haha...then "Yayo" and "Bel Air"...2 lesser cuts that are good but have to grow on me more...then Target released an exclusive version of this EP with 2 bonus remixes of "Blue Velvet", which are nice to have...one of them, the 5+ minute "Penguin Prison Remix" is on the picture disc 7" vinyl single that is included with the import boxset version of this masterpiece of a record.
Ah yes, the BOXSET...this thing is BEAUTIFUL...it has 4 discs, 4 frameable photos and that 7" picturedisc vinyl single, all packaged in a lovely compact square box (the size of a 7" vinyl) with her name and title embossed in gold letters on top of the pic shown. The BTD album (15 tracks) and "Paradise" EP are packaged together nicely in, not a jewelcase, but a slightly-larger-than-a-CD, mini-LP, gatefold, jacket/CD wallet with a lovely cool drawing in the middle, a booklet in one of the sleeves with all lyrics from both discs together, and the discs protected in pic-enhanced inner CD sleeves...BTD in black and coloured feathers and Paradise in a shot of clouds. Then, under the album, an 8-track, 39-minute, remix CD (4 BTD tracks..."Video Games", "Born To Die", "Blue Jeans" & "National Anthem", 2 remixes each...not typical mixes either, more deep-house or trip-hop-styled)...blue/grey mini-LP jacket with white inner CD sleeve, and lastly, on the bottom, a DVD (region 0) also in a blue-grey mini-LP jacket with white inner DVD sleeve, half-hour-long, of her 6 amazing cinematic videos from the album...the famous/infamous "Video Games" (that got her noticed and her Interscope/Polydor/Universal deal), the controversial "Born To Die" (besides the carcrash & fire and embrace with Mr Tattoo, the scene with her in the church/museum/I don't know, sitting on a throne, with 2 lovely but dangerous tigers lounging beside her, one on each side, is 100% worth thr price of admission, woah), "Blue Jeans" (both versions...the B&W poolside one with the same tattooed guy from the "BTD" clip and the LDR-directed one), "National Anthem", 7-minutes and my fave one, where it takes place in the 60s, she portrays a Jackie-O-type of president's wife, and this is like Kennedy-meets-Obama, where the president is black, they have bi-racial kids, and pres gets killed in a drive-by a-la Kennedy...VERY controversial and darkly cinematic...amazing...icing on the cake, her singing "Happy Birthday Mr President" at the clip's beginning...a black & white photostill from that scene is one of the photos included in the box with a part over her eyes saying "Tell Me I'm Your National Anthem"...cool, amazing and wild...then "Summertime Sadness", which shows a dark obsession with a friend and suicide...this girl is dark to say the least...even dangerous...but utterly beguiling, artful and memorable.
Album of the year 2012?? Maybe. Debut and breakout of 2012?? Most definitely!! This box was so worth the $58 bucks I paid.