RETRO REVIEW: BORN TO DIE - LANA DEL REY
Lana Del Rey's Born To Die was a cultural phenomenon back in the days of Tumblr and tweens taking pictures with cigarettes for the aesthetic. With it celebrating its 10 year anniversary this week, what better time to take a look back at this iconic album which, I have to confess, I'd never actually listened to the whole way through until this week.
The interesting thing about Born To Die is it's not Lana Del Rey's best album. Norman Fucking Rockwell was a masterpiece that felt fat more put together, and her latest releases, although controversial, would also probably situate themselves higher than Born To Die in a ranking of Del Rey's albums. However, this is the one that really seems to stick in mind when you think of Lana Del Rey. The Americana aesthetics of the album, and the all-around influence it had on the teenagers that listened to it back at its release, portrays the album as more of a moment in pop-culture history than an exceptional album.
That being said, some of the songs on Born to Die are some of Del Rey's best. National Anthem with is a chorus that feels melancholy but is still somehow catchy enough to repeat itself in the mind for hours after you listen to it, Born To Die which features instruments that feel akin to the big band genre of previous decades whilst still feeling firmly of its time, and Video Games which portrays the glimmering reality of love in a modern era. The album feels inherently American without being patriotic, which adds to its charm and perhaps why it felt so different from anything else at the time of its release.
It's difficult now to think of Lana Del Rey as a newcomer to the mainstream indie genre, but once upon a time she was, and it was Born To Die that really solidified as one of the key female voices of the 2010s.