By Alex Dulude
With the release of the new tracks off of Lana Del Rey’s “Paradise Edition,” fans get more of her airy vocals, 1950s aesthetic, edgy lyrics, and American style; yet these songs are barely comparable to their counterparts off her 2011 album, “Born to Die.”
Lana Del Rey took the indie/pop genres by storm with the rising popularity of the album “Born To Die” and on Nov. 12 she released the deluxe “Paradise Edition” of her 2011 album which fans anticipated eagerly. Yet the hype, heightened by the creation of the music video for her new single “Ride,” was somewhat anticlimactic.
The “Born To Die” album was a step in the right direction for the emerging artist whose older tracks were less commercial and thus less successful. I discovered her music by chance and fell in love with the dreamy style of the song “Video Games” and the visual presentation for the simple, yet compelling home-movie video clips for the music video. Her other songs off the album had that same seductive quality. Some of her songs give a salute to upper class, American, criminal style such as “Off to the Races,” “Born to Die,” and “National Anthem.” Her voice is far from the melodic norm, but the unique quality of her voice stands out as well as the orchestral elements in her songs. When I discovered she was re-releasing “Born To Die” with extra tracks such as the “Paradise Edition,” I looked forward to what else she had up her sleeve. I was somewhat disappointed.
Lana Del Rey also released a 10 minute long, movie-style, music video for her new single “Ride” which promised that the eight new tracks on “Paradise Edition” would be able to stand on their own, but the single may be the strongest track in the bunch. It follows her same style and tells the tale of freedom on the open road, love, and internal battles within oneself. One of her strongest selling points is projecting a life that many of her fans don’t have and this song does exactly that.
Her cover of “Blue Velvet” which premiered in an advertisement for H&M, is reminiscent of its time yet has an almost lulling quality to it, much like the song “Yayo” which she re-recorded from her older material. Although, both of these songs appear almost dull in comparison to the songs off “Born To Die.”
Honorable mentions go to the tracks “Burning Desire” and “American” which follow the same theme of “Ride” and much of the other “Born To Die” songs as anthems to a different side to American living as well as melodically match one another. Although the other songs from the “Paradise Edition” have similar thematic elements, their sound strays from Lana’s usual style.
“Bel Air” does have a dream-like quality to it but it seems that it takes multiple listens to really decide how I feel about it which is the same for the majority of her new songs. Also, the lyrical content is perplexing to boot. “Cola” and “Gods and Monsters” offer a few mature lines that even further confirm that this album, as well as “Born To Die,” are not for a younger audience. The song “Body Electric” seems to only have an incredibly catchy chorus that helps it, which seems to be the case with most of her new tracks.
The hype over Lana Del Rey’s “Paradise Edition” was definitely strengthened by the power of the internet and most especially by her loyal community on Tumblr. She has had much negative backlash for “Paradise Edition” and these new tracks are ripe for the critiquing. Time is really the only thing that helps these songs and they have been growing on me slowly. But ultimately, the tracks off “Paradise Edition” still fall short of the dreamy style and sound of “Born to Die.”