Friday, 11 January 2013

Lana Del Rey: Paradise - Track By Track Review

Has there ever been an artist so divisive? Lana Del Rey was HUGE last year, with her incredible debut album 'Born To Die' selling millions worldwide. See where it placed in my list of the top ten albums of 2012 right here. In today's digital age, one album a year just ain't enough though so in November of 2012, Lana repackaged 'Born To Die' with an extra nine tracks. Re-titled as 'Paradise', this sophomore effort has divided both critics and fans once again but for me, the new songs compliment the first album brilliantly, while also providing a glimpse into where Lana's music may go next stylistically. But what does the new release sound like? It would be easy to compare the tone and atmosphere to the style of a classic David Lynch film and many critics do but there is much more to Lana's songwriting than that. Click below to read an in-depth track by track review where you can also listen to every new song on the album and make up your own mind. 

1) Ride

David Lynch needs to direct a a new American road movie and fast because lead single 'Ride' is epic Americana at its finest (yeah, I went there). The track has a bubbling intensity that starts off calm but builds into an effortlessly cool chorus. 'Ride' still works on a commercial level but its unusual tone shows an evolution in Lana's sound that she continues to explore in the rest of this EP. Click below to watch the ten minute long official video which is possibly the best promo of 2012 and is more of an art film than just a music video.

"Been trying hard to not get into trouble but I got a war in my mind."

2) American

This sweet and strangely patriotic track shows a US both idyllic and seedy, continuing Lara's exploration of America's darker side which she began on the original 'Born To Die' album. Out of all the tracks on this re-release, 'American' sounds most like it could have appeared on the previous album but I think it would still be a great showcase for the reissue were it to be released as a single.    

"Driving around the city, flirting with the girls like you're so pretty."

3) Cola

Second single 'Cola' was a key point of interest for critics upon the release of 'Paradise' due to that lyric. Apparently, Lana's Scottish boyfriend of the time thought that her ... tastes like the famous soft drink and while this might seem like a controversial bait to her critics, the song itself is a perfect example of the sweet yet dark paradox that embodies Lana's music. Not one for the kids though! 

"I pledge allegiance to my Dad, for teaching me everything he knows."

4) Body Electric

This may be one of my least favourite songs on 'Paradise', due mainly to its repetitive chorus, but 'Body Electric' is still a good album track. In the lyrics, Lana fulfils the male sexual fantasy in her default femme fatale persona but the religious undertones make it more exciting and dangerous than some of the album tracks from 'Born To Die'.  

"We get down every Friday night, dancing and grinding in the pale moonlight."

5) Blue Velvet

Lana's music has always invited Lynchian comparisons since day one but this takes it to a whole new level. The track was originally recorded as part of a H&M campaign but has become a highlight on the 'Paradise' reissue. The orchestral sound is a nice change of pace for Lana and the production brilliantly evokes an era gone by. 'Blue Velvet' was first recorded by the Cloves and despite there being numerous versions of the song floating around, Lana has recorded a definitive interpretation that sounds like it was written solely for her. Watch the advert for the H&M campaign below.

"Like a flame burning brightly but when she left, gone was the glow of blue velvet."

6) Gods and Monsters

'Gods and Monsters' is my favourite track off the album but I doubt it will become a single as it's not particularly commercial. Lana's voice sounds incredible on this biblical parable about LA excess. Every lyric drips with a barely restrained sexuality and there is a constant menace bubbling under the production which gives the song an unusually dark atmosphere, even for Lana. 'Gods and Monsters' closest comparison would be 'Dark Paradise' from Lana's debut but this song has its own unique feel. Sunday school anthem this ain't.  

"In the land of gods and monsters, I was your angel, looking to get f****d hard."

7) Yayo

The beautiful vocals and soft production of 'Yayo' creates a faiytale-like atmosphere that shows a completely different side to Lana and represents a new step forward in her musical style that is still seductive but is more restrained than other cuts from the album. I would love to hear more like this from Lana's next record and I think critics would too.

"Let me put on a show for you daddy."

8) Bel Air

The closing track to the physical release of 'Paradise' is a stunning piano led number that is more gothic than 'Yayo' but still has a similarly sweet and innocent feel to it. I would be very surprised if this became a single but the song represents a huge leap forward for Lana musically with its more alternative sound.

"Don't be afraid of me. Don't be ashamed."

9) Burning Desire

Lucky fans who downloaded 'Paradise' from iTunes were given an extra track which sounds like a more typical Lana Del Rey song. I like it but 'Burning Desire' is probably the weakest track off the album, alongside 'Body Electric' and it does feel a bit like a song that didn't quite make the cut for the previous release. I love the echo in the background of the chorus although it is slightly over the top and Lana sounds like she's either going to break into tears or accidentally laugh!  

"Every Saturday night I seem to come alive for you baby."

Considering how many tracks there are on this collection, 'Paradise' is an incredibly consistent body of work that's just ridiculously good value for money. The new songs enhance the original 'Born To Die' by showing off new facets to Lana's personality  and I am just obsessed with this reissue. I think fans who have not yet bought the album will fall in love with it, but if you cannot stand Lana's music then I'm not sure if 'Paradise' will do much to change your mind. 

So what's your favourite track on 'Paradise'? Are you loving the new songs or do you still prefer the original release? Let me know what you think by liking, commenting and sharing below.   

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