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4.5 out of 5 stars
Paradise [Explicit]
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176 of 187 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2012
Format: MP3 Music
It's hard to describe Del Rey's music. It's a fairy-dusting of harp laid over top a hip-hop cadence. It's lush instrumentals alongside precise vocal transitions from low and jazzy up to high and girlish. Del Rey has called her own music "Hawaiian glam metal." Others have called it "Hollywood sadcore."

Others have described it in less complimentary ways. One reviewer called it a thin bundle of Lolita imprecations and sun-baked poolside sexuality. Another called it the epitome of a faked orgasm.

Del Rey's music neither soothes nor satiates, but it captivates. One reviewer nailed it: "These are the disturbing movies that you watch because of the intensity behind the storytelling."

That's why I think the most accurate description of this music is "Lynchian," as in the filmmaker David Lynch. On this EP she performs a deadened rendition of a song from his movie Blue Velvet. In the hands of Del Rey, it's even more Lynchian: twisted and disturbing, the drugged sexuality of a mannequin come halfway to life.

Del Rey, like Lynch, is "the perfect mirror of our time" and "the artist we deserved." She neither soothes nor satiates, but she certainly warrants our attention.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Let me just start off by saying that Lana Del Rey is quite the gifted singer and talented songwriter. As with her past album Born To Die, all songs on this one are written by Lana herself (with the exception of Blue Velvet, which is a cover of Lee Morris' popular 1950 jazz song) and sung in her unique and "different" voice that's given the public so much to talk about.

The diction in Lana's songwriting is interesting and very beautiful, and she certainly has an ability to evoke powerful imagery if you take the time to actually pay attention to her lyrics instead of "just listening to her beautiful seductive voice," which many people just seem to do.

That being say, it is important to note that Paradise, while captivating and mesmerizing, does NOT have the more upbeat songs that Born To Die had. Nothing even remotely similar to Off To The Races, Diet Mountain Dew, or Lolita is found on here. If you're thinking of buying this in hopes of more tracks like that, then you might be disappointed. Although you might not, as the songs on Paradise are just as morbid and wonderful. But they are considerably darker in content, much slower, much more eerie, and even more depressing (and I mean that in a good way!) All in all, this EP is just darker and more mature in its tone.

(Oh, and on the off chance that you haven't heard her massive hit "Video Games," let me assure you that yes, her voice is indeed what most people would deem as "angelic".)

Lastly, just a heads up: If you download the Paradise on itunes, it comes with a bonus song titled Burning Desire. If you're a hardcore Lana fan, you've probably already heard it and yes, it's a very lovely song but I do think Paradise is complete without it and can be enjoyed without that track. And if you're purchasing this at Target, know that it comes with 2 remixes of Blue Velvet, which I honestly found utterly unnecessary and pointless. Also, remember you can purchase what's called "Born To Die: The Paradise Edition", which is just Born To Die and Paradise put together. Obviously, this is only good in case you don't already have Born To Die, but if you're planning on buying Paradise because you liked Born To Die, then chances are that you probably already have Born To Die. If not, then go for it. You save money.

The tracklist is as follows. I have included a little description of each song, as well as my opinions.

1. Ride - Lana sings about how taking a ride in her car at midnight helps her escape her problems. Good choice as the lead single, sets an appropriate tone and mood for the whole CD. Up to par with "Born To Die" and "Video Games." My favorite line: "Dying young and playing hard, that's the way my father made his life an art."

2. American - Lana sings about what it means to be an American. I love the shout outs to Bruce Springsteen and Elvis on this one, as well as the "dope" chorus. (Once you listen to it, you'll know what I mean). Admittedly though, this is my least favorite track on here but for no particular reason. Don't get me wrong, it's a wonderful song and I'd still give it an A. It's just that if this is an A, then the others are all A+s. All in all, Lana is pretty much singing about what Lana Del Rey knows the best about: being a proud American and riding fast and being crazy.

3. Cola - Ahh, the reason why this has a huge EXPLICIT sticker slapped on the front. The controversial opening line of this song is quite the attention grabber, especially because Lana sings it with a seductive jazzy voice: "My p**** tastes like Pepsi Cola." It's controversial but not just for the sake of being controversial, for I interpret the song as talking about an affair ("I know your wife and she wouldn't mind") and Lana is trying to convince this man to "escape to the great sunshine" with her. The opening line is Lana's way of persuading the man, I think. That's just my interpretation and I could very possibly be wrong. But believe it or not, this song is actually quite lovely, beautiful, and even romantic. It's in my top 3 and not because of that line, but because you really get to hear Lana's voice range and the chorus is catchy.

4. Body Electric - An awesome morbid little song this one is... If you're looking to introduce a friend to Lana Del Rey, show them this song. This is Lana's songwriting at its best and the lyrics are interesting, to say the least. "Elvis is my daddy. Marilyn's my mother. Jesus is my bestest friend. [...] Heaven is my baby. Suicide's her father. Opulence is the end." Perfect song for a dark day or a rainy night. Additionally, the way Lana sings the chorus is disturbingly haunting and it's big. Yes, the chorus delivery is big and grand, if that makes any sense. It resonates in your head like an echo.

5. Blue Velvet - Not much to say on this one. Like stated above, it's a cover of a popular 1950s song. Lana did an amazing job and does the original justice. Only shame is that it's too darn short, but her voice is very jazzy in this one, more so than in the other ones. Something about the song itself and Lana's unique voice just makes them perfect for each other.

6. Gods and Monsters - God, I love this one! It's also in my top 3. A very well written and clever song that showcases Lana's ability as a songwriter yet again. I think it also does a good job at evoking that paradise imagery and symbolism that gives the CD its name. (Or rather, a dark and screwed-up paradise with no God to look after it). A lot of good lines in this one. One particularly powerful line that really jumped out at me: "In a land of gods and monsters, I was an angel looking to get f***** hard. Like a groupie incognito posing as a real singer, life imitates art..." The instruments here are very dark too and certainly set a mood if you're listening to this with earphones or headphones.

7. Yayo - I would argue this is one of Lana's most powerful songs thus far in her professional career. This is actually a song from her pre-Lana Del Rey days - back when she wasn't as famous as she is now and was still going by her real name, Lizzy Grant. It was a surprise and a joy to many fans finding out that Lana re-recorded this song and included it here. Some people don't seem to like this version too much (because you supposedly can't even understand what she's singing, although I can understand what Lana is singing perfectly fine) and claim to prefer the "Lizzy Grant version" over it. I, however, like this version better and think it's more haunting, melancholic, and impacting. Melancholic is actually a very good word to describe the sound of this track. It's very sad and blue and reminds me of a depressed young bride on her wedding day. I have no idea why but it does! I will admit though that if you're trying to get a friend into Lana, this might not be the best song to use because, hands down, it's honestly the slowest song on the whole disc. By far. Very, very slow! But if you're into songs like this like I am, it's perfection. Given the lyrics, I can't imagine the song fast paced. It's slowness becomes it and suits it well.

8. Bel Air - In my top 3. It's actually my #1 favorite song on the whole disc. Definitely a cinematographic track. Very haunting. Imagery very powerful, talking about gargoyles and Heaven and love and death and Bel Air and roses and heartbreak and seeing the nostalgic outline of palm trees in the night. I hear it's the next single? I'm praying that this is true! Be warned though, just like Yayo, this is also a slow song (though nowhere near as slow as Yayo). But it's beautiful. This is the type of song I'll put on repeat next to my bedside so I can fall asleep to it. And to be honest, I'm not even entirely sure what this song is about. Certain parts of it make it seem like it's about wanting to be reunited with your loved one in Heaven. I'm not exactly sure but regardless, it is - for lack of a better word - simply beautifully sung. A very emotional track. There is a lot of vocal layering to create a "chorus" effect, but it's not annoying and, for those of you wondering, I don't it should complicate live performances of the song. "Gargoyles stating in front of the gate, trying to tell me to wait but I can't wait to see you. So I run like a child to Heaven's door. I don't wanna be bad, I won't cheat you no more..."

In conclusion, if you liked Lana's first album you'll more than likely like Paradise too, so long as you didn't like Born To Die exclusively for the catchier and more danceable songs. After all, Paradise is essentially intended to be a continuation of Born To Die. A part two. The tracks here are more similar to songs like Born To Die, Carmen, Without You, and Summertime Sadness, Blue Jeans, Million Dollar Man, etc. I recommend reading the lyrics booklet as you listen to the tracks. You'll appreciate the poetry of it all even more.

Once again, my favorite songs here are "Bel Air", "Cola", and "Gods and Monsters". Highly recommend it, especially if you're not exactly a Lana Del Rey fan but want to try out her music. This is a good introduction to the type of music she sings and the type of music she writes. I think this EP can create some new fans for Lana and not just keep her old ones.
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Earlier in 2012, Lana Del Rey released BORN TO DIE -- it was her breakthrough into the mainstream consciousness, and it was met with wildly mixed opinions. I was a late comer to the album, but I loved it the first time I listened to it. I was cautiously optimistic about her follow up to BORN TO DIE, an 8-song EP called PARADISE. On one hand, I was excited to hear more music from Del Rey, but on the other hand, I was worried that 10 months wasn't really long enough for Del Rey and her producers to come through with a quality release. After listening to the EP several times, I can say that I really dig PARADISE, but it doesn't quite live up to the past release.

The EP begins with "Ride," one of the highlights of the album. The song features many of the hallmarks of Del Rey's sound: loungy vocals with slight reverb, layered instrumentation, dark and confused lyrics. The song varies between slower and faster tempos: it makes for a good single and a good indication of where the album is going to go. "Ride" is followed up with "American," whose orchestration is met with electronic percussion. The other album highlight also comes early: "Cola," a vulgar song with a killer melody. The good news is that the first three songs on this EP are great, but the bad news is that it's a bit downhill from there. The rest of the EP isn't bad, most of it is quite good, but it never quite reaches the same early heights. One of the first songs released for the album was the cover of the classic song "Blue Velvet." Instead of Del Rey and her producers giving the song their own spin, it remains a pretty faithful adaptation -- the only marked difference is Del Rey's vocals. It strikes me as a missed opportunities of sorts -- it's a good song, and I would have liked to see what Lana Del Rey could do with it with more creative license. The final track, "Bel Air," is a breathy and atmospheric tune. For Del Rey, whose compositions are usually pretty busy, it's a relatively stripped down song. The song ends PARADISE on a great note.

I will reiterate: PARADISE isn't bad by any means. It sags a bit in the middle, and at its best, it's on par with BORN TO DIE. Listener who didn't enjoy BORN TO DIE most likely will not be persuaded by the music here. Fans who did enjoy Del Rey's past work will find PARADISE a great diversion and a great appetizer for her next album. I haven't heard any news of a new album, so hopefully this isn't actually the dessert. Essential tracks to sample/download: "Cola," "Ride," "American."

ADDITIONAL RELEASE INFORMATION: The bonus track: "Burning Desire" is available on iTunes. It's pretty great, and I would recommend fans go check it out. Another version of this EP acts as an extended version of BORN TO DIE. This release includes her previous album with all of the bonus tracks with this EP (PARADISE) as an additional disc. I would recommend this version if you don't already have BORN TO DIE.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2012
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
First Lana Del Rey was "Born to Die", now she is in "Paradise". This 8-track EP is a consistent continuation of her debut album. "Paradise" is current but without that glossy, mainstream production. And yet it's old-fashioned but without sounding dated. "Born to Die" quickly became my favorite album of 2012 and I couldn't wait to get my hands on "Paradise"! There is only one song that doesn't grab my full attention, "Yayo" - probably because I've never been a fan of jazz music in my life. Lana does what she can with the ballad, it's messy in parts but Lana's voice is in fine form and I can't help but have a fondness for when she sings, "Let me put on a show for you tiger..." The first single, "Ride" - we find Lana reflecting on the darker side of her personality and the depths of loneliness, "I hear the birds on the summer breeze, I drive fast - I am alone at midnight. Been trying hard not to get into trouble but I've got a war in my mind, so I just ride..." On "Cola" which is her most x-rated song to date, she proudly admits she's got "a taste for men who are older..." And I love how Lana uses string arrangements all throughout the album just like she did on "Born to Die". There's even a gorgeous, classy cover of "Blue Velvet" which proves Lana has a lot of emotion and soul in her voice. "Gods and Monsters" is the best song on the album which explores the negative aspects of fame while "Bel Air" is the flipside, it has an airy, dream-like quality about how fame and success are the ultimate pay off. "American" is a beautiful ballad, easily one of Lana's most confessional songs so far. "Body Electric" didn't really resonate with me at first, it's strange, disjointed, and a little repetitive on the chorus but I've really grown to like this surprise gem, and I love the line, "Whitman is my daddy, Monaco's my mother, diamonds are my bestest friend. Heaven is my baby, suicide's her father, opulence is the end..." I really enjoyed this EP. Lana Del Rey is the breakout artist of the year for me. Her music and voice is so unique, there is no one like her...she's in a league all her own and thank goodness for that! I highly recommend "Paradise".
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29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2012
Format: MP3 Music
Earlier in 2012, Lana Del Rey released BORN TO DIE -- it was her breakthrough into the mainstream consciousness, and it was met with wildly mixed opinions. I was a late comer to the album, but I loved it the first time I listened to it. I was cautiously optimistic about her follow up to BORN TO DIE, an 8-song EP called PARADISE. On one hand, I was excited to hear more music from Del Rey, but on the other hand, I was worried that 10 months wasn't really long enough for Del Rey and her producers to come through with a quality release. After listening to the EP several times, I can say that I really dig PARADISE, but it doesn't quite live up to the past release.

The EP begins with "Ride," one of the highlights of the album. The song features many of the hallmarks of Del Rey's sound: loungy vocals with slight reverb, layered instrumentation, dark and confused lyrics. The song varies between slower and faster tempos: it makes for a good single and a good indication of where the album is going to go. "Ride" is followed up with "American," whose orchestration is met with electronic percussion. The other album highlight also comes early: "Cola," a vulgar song with a killer melody. The good news is that the first three songs on this EP are great, but the bad news is that it's a bit downhill from there. The rest of the EP isn't bad, most of it is quite good, but it never quite reaches the same early heights. One of the first songs released for the album was the cover of the classic song "Blue Velvet." Instead of Del Rey and her producers giving the song their own spin, it remains a pretty faithful adaptation -- the only marked difference is Del Rey's vocals. It strikes me as a missed opportunities of sorts -- it's a good song, and I would have liked to see what Lana Del Rey could do with it with more creative license. The final track, "Bel Air," is a breathy and atmospheric tune. For Del Rey, whose compositions are usually pretty busy, it's a relatively stripped down song. The song ends PARADISE on a great note.

I will reiterate: PARADISE isn't bad by any means. It sags a bit in the middle, and at its best, it's on par with BORN TO DIE. Listener who didn't enjoy BORN TO DIE most likely will not be persuaded by the music here. Fans who did enjoy Del Rey's past work will find PARADISE a great diversion and a great appetizer for her next album. I haven't heard any news of a new album, so hopefully this isn't actually the dessert. Essential tracks to sample/download: "Cola," "Ride," "American."

ADDITIONAL RELEASE INFORMATION: The bonus track: "Burning Desire" is available on iTunes. It's pretty great, and I would recommend fans go check it out. Another version of this EP acts as an extended version of BORN TO DIE. This release includes her previous album with all of the bonus tracks with this EP (PARADISE) as an additional disc. I would recommend this version if you don't already have BORN TO DIE.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2012
Format: Audio CD
"Paradise" is Del Rey's successor to the successful album "Born to Die" also released in 2012. "Paradise" is considered a mini-album, sometimes even as an EP. The playing time of over 33 minutes is more than what many classic albums of the 1960s from groups like The Byrds, The Kinks and The Beatles offered. In fact, only one single album released by the Beach Boys in the sixties surpasses "Paradise" in playing time. My point is, of course, that I in no way feel cheated because of the short running time of "Paradise".

In fact, I think you could well claim that the eight songs come out as a very homogeneous release, whereas on "Born to Die" there were a few songs that seemed unnecessary and umimportant.

"Paradise" also features a trio of stand-out numbers here. Especially the opening track "Ride", is a distinguished dramatic ballad that shows Del Rey from her very best side. "Cola" with its controversial lyrics is also an irresistibly catchy popsong. Del Rey's cover of the old Clover song "Blue Velvet" surpasses for me all previous versions of this song that I have heard. The song does not in any way fall out of place on the album, where the music otherwise written by Del Rey herself with help from various friends.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Maybe my expectations were too high after Born To Die, or maybe it just needs to grow on me. I will say that I really, really enjoy half of the album. Ride, American, and Body Electric are all great. It just seems to me that something is lacking on this album that made BTD so great. I also wasnt very happy with the same recycled themes and lyrics from her last album. If you liked Born To Die, you will like this as well but probably not as much. If you haven't even listened to Lana Del Rey, start with her freshman album and go from there.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2012
Format: Audio CD
There are many versions of this release or re-release, however you look at it.

There is the standard 8 track "Paradise" version featuring the singles, "Ride", Blue Velvet" and Bel Air".
But for those of you who really like Lana's venture into Club /dance music then I would highly recommend
the 10 track "Paradise" version featuring 2 rare remixes of Blue Velvet - The Penguin Prison Remix and the Lindstrom Remix.
These two songs alone are worth the price and this version is unfortunately exclusively avaliable via one American company..

For true die-hards, I would suggest getting the EXCLUSIVE DELUXE BOX SET, embossed in gold and features a special digipack of 'Born To Die' The Paradise Edition and comes with an exclusive remix album, 4 card prints, a 7'' picture disc of 'Blue Velvet' and a DVD containing all the amazing videos.

The remix cd contains:
01 Video Games (Joy Orbison Remix) 5:00
02 Video Games (Omid 16B Remix) 5:14
03 Born To Die (Moodymann Remix) 6:11
04 Born To Die (Gemini Remix) 4:48
05 Blue Jeans (Gesaffelstein Remix) 4:36
06 Blue Jeans (Penguin Prison Remix) 5:37
07 National Anthem (Fred Falke Remix Edit) 3:46
08 National Anthem (Tensnake Remix)

This will sell quickly and increase in value!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2014
Format: Audio CD
I just had to write this review because so many of the 'reviews' here are pretty sad really. I feel this new offering from LDR deserves something a little more in depth. Just some background first. I first come across LDR prior to the release of Born To Die while surfing YouTube. Like many others who discovered her on YT, I was instantly hooked and intrigued. It was clear to me Lana was something different. Something special.

Then the album broke and of course she became a pretty big star. Suddenly she was in all the magazines. I felt that twinge of betrayal. How could she 'sell out' so quickly? After seeing a lot of her YouTube videos, many of which were of her performing live, I felt the album was a little over-produced, too slick and 'poppy'. In my own mind I much preferred her as a jazz torch singer. The thing is, Lana is a many different things to different people. What is most interesting about her is her ability to shape shift. I wanted her to be just the one thing, but she's not that easily pigeon-holed.

Jump forward a year or so and Paradise is released. I didn't even know it had come out until a friend told me about it and played me Gods and Monsters. I was extremely pleased to find that, of all her personas, it was the torch singer one that Lana had chosen to pursue on this record. I feel this is a natural fit for her highly sensuous vocal delivery and her clear fascination with the glamour of yesteryear. On Paradise she has created a near-perfect set of songs that make the most of her many talents.

The album is packed wall to wall with gorgeous, multi-layered torch songs that caress the ears and turn you into jelly within a few bars and, of course, the rich mythology of 21st century America is everywhere. Lana has really made a meal of this, starting with her chosen 'stage name'. It is this artful mining of America's tremendously varied pop culture history that gives her music a mythic quality. On Body Electric she even goes so far as to claim Elvis is her Daddy and Marilyn is her Momma, which is really not that hard to believe, if you think about it. But she's far more than a rock and roll hall of fame devotee and museum guide. That she is able to extract that rich vein of material and forge it into something new is what makes her so interesting.

And then there's the sex. She's been accused of using it gratuitously to sell records. I say so freaking what? Like this is something new? Everyone uses sex to sell stuff. It's HOW you use that will earn you legendary status in this extremely short-lived world. For Lana, sex is a drug, heavier than heroin and she goes straight for the jugular with the opening line of Cola: 'my pussy tastes like Pepsi Cola', which must surely qualify as the rock and roll statement of the year. Not because its being snarled by a punk rock princess, but because its emanating from those amazing bee stung lips in a luscious pop song. Madonna, Lady Gaga, Beyonce... step aside, the new queen of sexy has arrived!

Apart from Cola (a fantastic song with or without that line), the EP scales even greater heights on two tracks: Gods and Monsters and Yayo. On Gods and Monsters she gets even more graphic, and if this doesn't stir you below the waist you better check your pulse, because you could be dead, dude. Yayo is just pure aural bliss, stripped down, with minimal instrumental back-up, with LDR channelling Marilyn M and letting her voice do its thing. She makes it seem effortless, she barely breaks a sweat, but it's nonetheless a knock-out. A show stopper. LDR is the opposite of the belter. She doesn't need to strain. She just parts those lips and the world bows down.

If Lana continues to deliver tracks of this stature on future outings, the world is her oyster. Finally there is a fantastic treat for 50s culture freaks in the form of a stunning rendition of Blue Velvet. Any fan of David Lynch will recognise this song immediately of course. And we will also realise that it was not chosen lightly. There are any number of terrific 50s torch songs that Lana could have chosen to cover, but THIS one has special significance. It's an absolutely perfect vehicle for her seductive and languorous delivery. A known connoisseur of feminine beauty, I've no doubt Lynch is a huge fan. I have high hopes for a future collaboration.

For all the naysayers who doubted the talent and staying power of LDR, Paradise has simply blown them out of the water. Mainstream pop hasn't been this interesting since the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were vying for the title of greatest band on the planet.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2013
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
This is such a good follow up to her last album. If you love her voice and her over all sound, you will not be let down. Very good song. Does have some adult language. Mostly because of a song that says her pussy tastes like pepsi cola. I love this. Worth more than I paid for sure
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