Music

Bubbling Under the Top 75: Lana Del Rey - 'Born to Die'

Enio Chiola

PopMatters spotlights a few additional 2012 albums that didn't quite crack the Best 75 list.

Artist: Lana Del Rey

Album: Born to Die

Label: Interscope

Image: http://images.popmatters.com/music_cover_art/l/ldr_album_cover.jpg

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Lana Del Rey
Born to Die

Let's hope that the audacious insults hurled at Lana Del Rey for coming from a privileged background and having the audacity to change her name and take a second chance at a music career (because god knows you only get one shot) have ceased. Because quite frankly, Born to Die is a pretty spectacular album, misunderstood most by those who have absolutely no clue what making a record entails. English-major critics abound at her dark pop sensibilities, but it's the lurid love affairs and '60s-style torch song crack addict delivery that really elevates Born to Die above it's shiny pop veneer. There's something dark and undercutting in Born to Die's best tracks. "National Anthem", "This is What Makes Us Girls" and the title track are unsettling bits of storytelling from a vivid and mesmerizing performer who manages to create little films with each and every track. Lines like "He said to be cool but, I'm already coolest / I said to get real / ‘Don't you know who you're dealing with?' / ‘Umm, do you think you'll buy me lots of diamonds?'" from the superb "National Anthem" are delivered with all the irony that we fault others for not having. It's refreshing to see someone push racial and sexual boundaries in such a interesting way, and I, for one, can't wait to see what she's going to do next. -- Enio Chiola

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