Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Is Lana Del Rey worth the hype?




Firing out of (seemingly) absolutely nowhere late last year, American indie pop songstress Lana Del Rey has been one of the most talked about "up and coming things" of the last few months. Initially attracting a lot of attention with touching and stirring debut single 'Video Games', Del Rey has now released album 'Born to Die' and the record has shot straight to number one in the charts in both Britain and Ireland. Following in the footsteps of other internet sensations Bieber and Boyle, Del Rey has gone from near obscurity to selling-out gigs in mere months.

However, hype doesn't always necessarily translate directly into critical success.Whilst her rapid and newfound fame has been met with acclaim in some corners of the Internet (one reviewer from the Guardian calling 'Video Games' "magnificent and extraordinary") Del Rey hasn't received a clean rap sheet critically. Many reviews this blogger has read have bemoaned the repetitiveness of production and sound, as well as the record generally not fully living up to the ground-breaking nature it's lead single seemingly promised.

So is her debut album really worth all the hype? It seems evident to me that Del Rey spends much of her major label debut striving to capture a rosey-eyed nostalgic vibe (the third track "Blue Jeans" in which Lana croons over a James Dean-esque man can be used as an example.) This isn't entirely a bad thing as it's very much in keeping with her style of reflective and sombre music. It does seem however to be a fairly weighty restraint that holds the album back from realising it's full potential. As a whole, Del Rey's record doesn't leave much room for anything else other than melancholic ballads and as a whole, can feel dreary, dull and downright soporific.

Whilst the lead single "Video Games" and the title track are both stand-out songs that showcase Del Rey as an extremely promising talent and competent artist who could go far, it does seem like the rest of the album is just varying shades of grey. There's enough on show here to be promising; just not enough to really give validity to an entire album.

I think this is a case of hype outweighing deliverance and that's a shame. Whilst I don't side with critics who slammed that now infamous Saturday Night Live performance, I do feel that this record is something of a deflated balloon. Whilst it is a promising major label d├ębut, the record on the whole doesn't quite live up to the expectation and excitement that exploded around lead single 'Video Games'.

The music industry can be a harsh and intensely critical place and Lana has certainly copped a fair share of flak as well as praise. This blogger still believes that Lana Del Rey will most definitely be an artist we can expect more to see more of in the future. If she still has more to say through her music, it's fairly safe to assume we can expect to see her developing a broader and more extensive sound, as well as releasing another record that fully establishes her as a superstar. It's just a shame that it isn't this one.

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