Lana Del Rey – Born to Die (2012)

Lana Del Rey’s commercial debut album is a sultry yet emotionally dulled affair, a sort of hazy facsimile of a Fiona Apple album filtered through a cannabis-induced brain-fuzz. That’s both a strength and a weakness: On the one hand, the music is captivating and lush, with interesting lyrics and an Alanis Morissette-inspired inclination to play around with her vocal delivery. On the other however, Del Rey herself doesn’t register much as an artist with a distinct identity, instead seeming to be trying on different sonic identities on her way to an artist’s singular voice. Put together however, the final result is a very interesting, 1950s-inspired pastiche with plenty of stand-out songs, like “Summertime Sadness” and “Radio” that practically beg for repeated listens.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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