Lana Del Rey: ‘Born to Die’. Worthy of the Hype?

At only 25-years-old, Lana Del Rey has rocketed from a status of unknown YouTube singer to the most hyped artist of 2012. With the release of her new album Born to Die and the festival season looming, can Del Rey keep up with the hype?

Today Del Rey’s Video Games, the song successful for launching her name, has reached over 25 million You Tube hits. Less than a year ago, the largely unacknowledged Lana Del Rey posted a self-made video of this very track online. Not surprisingly the soul-scratching vocals and effortlessly dark music grabbed audiences around the world.

This week, January 20, saw Lana Del Rey release the highly anticipated Born to Die. Despite circling criticisms of Del Rey’s authenticity from cynical journos Del Rey pulls off this dark and emotion-drenched album.

Described by Q as “darkly compelling, pop’s new Queen is crowned” and snapshotted by the ever-grumpy NME as “LDR’s ascent towards her predetermined throne”. If nothing else, Lana Del Rey has created an uproar of interest from the press, bloggers and the public.

First criticised for being the object of media-hype, then for having supposedly invented a musical persona. Some claimed it was wrong that Del Rey had already released a debut album back in 2009. Others condemned Lana for being the daughter of a business man. But I ask, why slam a clearly talented individual before even allowing her the chance  to speak, let alone sing?

Born to Die is not perfect, but it is an album deserving of such attention. It may have been helped by much media hype. It may be Del Rey’s second album. But it is nonetheless a great album. The media are not the be all and end all and had they hyped pure musical crap then we as the public would soon have realised. Del Rey is deserving of the attention she has so far received and once given the chance to speak is more than willing to talk. (As you can see from her recent interview with Q magazine.)

Born to Die is a shining example of what great Pop music can be: Non-conformist, bewitching and brimming with talent. If the likes of Lady Gaga can be praised for their ‘mysterious’ persona then why throw stones at the likes of Del Rey?

The title track, Born to Die, opens the album with spooking vocals and slow-paced strings, much like the XX with their fearless use of empty space throughout their music. This is Pop, but like we’ve never heard before.

But as the album progresses, Del Rey changes the tone, ensuring that the album does not become a lethargic plod through twelve identically slow tracks. Diet Mountain Dew lightens the dark tone, while Carmen shows Lana’s fearlessness to tell the truth through Pop. Much like Ed Sheeran’s A Team, Del Rey signs “Only 17, but she walks the streets so mean.”

Del Rey is clearly worthy of the hype and looks set to justify her title of 2012’s most promising artist. With American festival dates already in the diary, rumours suggest that Del Rey will be appearing across our 2012 and into the Summer. Virtual Festivals  have also announced that Lana will be appearing at Hackney Weekend 2012 alongside Jack White.


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