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Born to Die
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:$7.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

I have to say that this is one of the most unusual and most successful debut albums I have ever heard, from an artist that even a few months ago I did not know existed. Both lyrically and musically, the album takes us into an alternate world, a world populated by young women who are fatally attracted to seriously flawed men, but this doesn't seem to bother them. They not only accept it, they revel in it. Although most of the songs are built around this theme, redundancy is avoided because the characters are vividly detailed and the musical presentations are diverse. I would like to mention that any comparisons I make to musical genres or other artists must be considered approximations; the music on this album is highly original and frankly, rather difficult to describe.

In the opener and title song, "Born To Die", Lana sings a ballad with a world-weariness and fatalism that calls to mind Marianne Faithfull or even Marlene Dietrich: "Feet don't fail me now/Take me to the finish line...Choose your last words/This is the last time/Cause you and I, we were born to die". The next track, my favorite, "Off To The Races", is completely different, an upbeat hip-hop track. In this song a girl with "a Las Vegas past" is kept and well-tended by a gangster type who "...loves me with every beat of his cocaine heart". This relationship would seem dysfunctional to most, but the picture Lana paints makes it sound valid, desirable and a lot of fun. In the somber "Video Games", she coaxes her young lover, "Tell me all the things you wanna do/I heard that you like the bad girls honey, is that true?" We return to hip-hop and enter the playground of the wealthy in "National Anthem": "Money is the anthem of success/So before we go out, what's your address?...God you're so handsome/Take me to the Hamptons". "Carmen" in the ballad by that name is one character not preoccupied with relationships. Her problems are different: "The boys, the girls/They all like Carmen...Doesn't have a problem/Lyin' to herself/'Cause her liquor's top shelf". "Million Dollar Man" is sung in a style that I would have to call 40's or 50's blues (very interesting vocal here), and the reason she is blue is, as she tells her man, "You're screwed up and brilliant/You look like a million-dollar man/So why is my heart broke?"

The total effect of the album would be depressing except that the interesting lyrics and Lana's varied vocals are such a delight that any sadness is mitigated. Then too, why feel sorry for someone who doesn't feel sorry for herself? Lana's characters are content with the lives they are living. I hope Lana gets to make a second album because I certainly want to see where she takes us next.
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on May 18, 2017
The 'waivering' referenced previously is an effect I guarantee was a decided factor prior to printing the mother plate for this pressing. Essentially limit bass, use vari-speed (like old VHS) on everything but vocals (if you listen closely it does not occur on vocals). I would know as a mixing and mastering engineer. I believe she wanted a "vintage" sound added to her L.P. release, so they applied the effect across the instrumental stems. If you expect it to sound like Spotify or your CD, it's not the product for you...think 50s.
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on August 18, 2014
I am a Lana del Rey BELIEVER despite the SNL mishap. I love her soulful, sultry voice and the interesting, unique song compilation. She tends to have certain themes repeating throughout her songs, but they do not get boring or stale. Some people find her music a bit depressing or not lively enough, but I disagree. I have probably played this CD on repeat over 100 times. I love every song except "Carmen" - find that one kind of odd and too slow for my tastes, but in particular I have gravitated towards:
1. Blue Jeans - This is the song that got me hooked on Lana in the first place. I liked the range of her voice, and the unexpected but totally perfect "rap" in the verse.
2. Off to the Races - I absolutely hated the verse when it first played, but once the chorus came on, I started to tolerate and then really liked the verse. The chorus is amazingly catchy, chaotic, and fun.
3. Summertime Sadness - There is usually one song besides the initial radio hits that become popular with good artists. I honestly would not have pegged this one to be it. I thought "Dark Paradise" or "Diet Mountain Dew" would have been more popular, but I understand why people like this one. The verse is cool and swingy, and I eagerly await the bridge (cause it is SO FUN to sing) every time this song plays.
4. Radio - I like the sweet sounding melody paired with the expletives. It was unexpected and kind of fun. Though it sucked that the first time I had this playing, I was in my car, next to a minivan with kids in it. Definitely got some evil eyes from the lady driving the van... sorry, lady. I had NO idea!
5. This Is What Makes Us Girls - This song is completely on point. It's unapologetic in pointing out that us girls tend to kind of leave each other to the wayside in the pursuit of romance, but that it's a "curse." I see it as a frank assessment, but something that we can improve on!
6. Dark Paradise - Lyrics are super relatable. This is definitely something you listen to when you've just gone through a bad breakup. I like that her songs have clear situations in which they apply but are still good to listen to outside of those situations.

Overall, her lyrics are super nostalgic, both in calling back times far gone and times of our childhood and youth. It takes me back to the days when I used to play my scant few CDs on repeat, and that's how I would find all the hidden gems that no one else knew about. Though I understand the ease and convenience of purchasing single digital songs, unless you download the whole album and play it on repeat, you don't get that same experience as popping a CD in and being somewhat forced to listen to all of the songs. This album is definitely worth listening to in its entirety. (Except "Carmen." I really don't like that song.)
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on January 19, 2014
For the past 3 decades buying full albums has often been a disappointing experience. You get a couple of hits and a bunch of fluff not worth listening to, so singles have been the way to go. I am serious when I say, this is the first full album I've actually bought since Timbaland's Shock Value back in 2007. Before that I can't even remember anything I had bought that was any good since the 90s.

This girl is ridiculously underrated and one of my favorite albums ever, I would put it alongside Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, 2Pac's Strictly 4 My, Dr. Dre's Chronic, and U2's Joshua Tree in terms of just sheer quality of every single track.

Lana studied metaphysics in school and it totally comes out in all of her songs. Her voice is so haunting and tracks are so layered with so many sources I don't even know where to start. The first time in many years I've actually felt shivers down my spine from listening to music. Keep up the good work Lana I can see why your fans love you so much.
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on April 4, 2012
Lana Del Rey is a refreshing new arrival on the music scene. With other female musicians gaining fame by proving how trashy they can be, Lana, like Adele, shine through as woman who are not trying to roll around in the mud. Not that she won't sprinkle a few "f" words around here and there, to spice things up a little.

I have kept this CD in my player and listened to it over and over because Lana's delivery on several songs is unique: on a song like "Born to Die", sounding almost monotone, her voice is carried along by soaring strings and bouncing hip-hop in the background. This rich mixture of sound throughout the album makes the album enticing for the ears. Her voice winds up leaving you haunted and hypnotized by the words, playing in your head long after you've finished listening. Thus, they are also sticky.

Sometimes, the lyrics resound in your head because of repetition. In "Summertime Sadness," the song's title is repeated many times in the song, like a mantra. This is one of my favorite songs. The wistfulness of summer coming to an end brings to mind The Doors' "Summer's Almost Gone," very much capturing the similar spirit. This song, along with "Born to Die," the richly orchestrated and lush "Video Games," and "Dark Paradise" are the tunes I would put on a chill out playlist. Feeling like chilling out, a bit blue, or winding down for the day, these tunes help sync with that mood.

Other tunes are more playful and energetic, where Lana uses a fuller range of voice, as in "Off to the Races" and "Diet Mountain Dew," both of which bounce along, but moderately--she's not trying to hit the disco dance floor here!

One thing I like is use of very descriptive language, really painting pictures of things, as in "Off to the Races": Swimming pool glimmering darling/ White bikini off with my red nail polish/ Watch me in the swimming pool / Bright blue ripples.

"National Anthem" has a clever touch with the lead in of the sound of muted fireworks in the background.

The rest of the songs that round out the album are okay, but don't stand out like the previous ones mentioned. If you're looking for something different, definitely check out Lana Del Rey. If she has more material like this, I can't wait till her next album.
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on February 14, 2012
What an amazing voice. I am an admirer of female vocalists and I have a new favorite. I loved some of the songs, liked a few, and there are three I didn't really get into BUT 9 out of 12 is very strong don't you agree? In an age of one hit wonders made business' like Itunes a success with the ability to buy just the song you liked and not have to waste your coin on a CD finding an album worth buying is rare and a blessing. And at $6-$9 it's well worth the price. I'd skip the deluxe and stick to the regular album. I sampled the deluxe here on Amazon and the three extra songs were weak in my humble opinion. In her defense the three songs I didn't dig were all geared towards women. I'm a man and didn't really get their message nor was I supposed to I don't think. So here is my star rating of each song 5 stars goes to Born to Die, Blue jeans, Radio and Summertime Sadness.4 stars to Video Games and Diet Mountain Dew. 3 stars to National Anthem and Dark Paradise. 2 stars to the remaining four songs. Now this isn't like rating a movie so 2 stars doesn't mean they sucked just ok. 3 stars means I liked them, 4 stars really liked and 5 stars were amazing tracks. BUY IT
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on July 4, 2012
I'm somewhat of an indie rock snob. By all accounts, I should hate this stuff; Del Rey has really taken a beating from critics and journalists everywhere. She is an unfortunate case of a star who just got too big too quickly. The indie-rock crowd was hoping for an "authentic" artist who would represent their interests in pop music. The pop crowd was hoping for safe, radio-friendly music. Del Rey's BORN TO DIE doesn't really reach either of those points, but instead, it falls somewhere in the middle. I think Lana Del Rey has been the victim of bad marketing -- if she was initially marketed as a pop chanteuse, she wouldn't have received so much backlash. This album is wonderful! BORN TO DIE is a dash of jazzy cabaret, trip-hop electronic beats, indie-rock instrumentation, and pop songwriting.

When you take away the moodiness, the attitude, the multi-layered vocals, it's obvious that there is fantastic songs here. I think what has put some people off is that these songs (which are at their core, very melodic and catchy) are dressed up in multiple levels of production. This production is what led to the infamous SNL performance; people were rooting for the singer to fail, and in some ways she did. Her music is very much a product of a studio, and if you remove it from that context, you can't expect it to translate perfectly. Speaking just for her album, though, I give credit to Del Rey, her songwriters and producers; the music here is multilayered and tasteful. You can listen to songs over and over and still find new things. The first four tracks of the album in particular ("Born to Die," "Off to the Races," "Blue Jeans," and "Video Games") showcase a fantastic accessibility. Sometimes the attitude gets in the way: in "Off to the Races," Del Ray sings like she is a gangster. "Dark Paradise" laments the passing of a lover, and even though the singer claims to wish to die, there is interesting, emotional stuff at work here. The album ends with "This is What Makes Us Girls," which feels like a strange way to end BORN TO DIE -- it doesn't quite match the theme of the album in my opinion.

BORN TO DIE has been one of the surprise albums for me this year. It is way better than it should be, but it's hard to know who to recommend this album to. If you are at the least bit curious, I would suggest sampling the album. Even if you've been turned off by the maligned SNL performance or the scathing reviews that critics gave her earlier in the year. Highlights to sample/download: "Blue Jeans," "Video Games," "National Anthem," or "Off to the Races."

Additional release information: Born To Die (Deluxe Version) [+Digital Booklet]. The deluxe edition of the album comes with three additional bonus tracks. These songs "Without You," "Lolita," and "Lucky Ones," are quite good, but not as good as those on the album. I would sample these before buying either version.
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on June 26, 2013
I can honestly say that I have been truly disappointed with music recently. This is not just because I like rock music and there have been no good rock albums since the last Foo Fighters album. Primarily because pretty much all albums I have bought in the last year have been a package of 2 - 3 well thought out and executed songs, mixed in with 4 - 5 songs that should never have made anyone's album.

This album is amazing, from start to finish. There is not a single weak effort on this album, and I find myself leaving the album on repeat and listening to it in the background. There are no less than six or seven songs that capture your imagination and emotion when you hear them. It is really refreshing to hear such a great album, not just a couple of good songs and the rest being phoned in.

I highly recommend this album to people who like music in general, this is not a genera specific album. Its just great.
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on January 12, 2018
I love this album but I have now received 2 that were both damaged. The first was clearly not produced correctly and the 2nd there were tracks damaged that didn't play well. I could perhaps live with that if I buy 2nd hand but not when I buy new albums.
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on March 17, 2014
as a writer I recognize great lyrics and metaphors when I hear them, even if I cant imitate them or even wanted to. lanas use of her darkly erotic and sensual voice tentacles itself deep within ones heart and makes one ache for the need and wonder and power of it all. then, after a few listens, it strikes you just how brilliant the lines, the songs, even the album concept actually is.
it is easily the most gorgeous album ive heard since jazmin sullivans " fearless," and though just as poetic, lanas album may be more cohesive. lana sees things as they actually seem to be in my experience, though we're worlds apart. and she does not glamourize prostitution( "carmen"), as has been falsely represented by others. she simply states that it happens and that these women ( in this case) deal with their situation in their best fashion as they can and with real humanity. but the song that really set off the extremist fascists, oh my, I meant to write extremist feminists-dear me!, is the line in "this is what makes us girls," which is, 'this is what makes us girls/we don't stick together 'cause we put love first.' now that's insightful poetry!
so, if you wish to delve into an incredible artistic, emotional experience and perhaps even gain some insights while falling in love with a new poet, embrace lana del rey and be wafted away in the tornado of song in the gentle guise of a warm breeze.
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