Lana Del Rey’s ‘Born To Die’ Album Review Round-Up: What Are The Critics Saying?
Controversial chanteuse Lana Del Rey's highly anticipated album was released this week, to the cheers and jeers of the Internet at large. The Hollywood glamour girl with the sultry voice is obviously no stranger to heavy criticism and cutting speculation, and some say her profile has actually been bolstered by her very vocal detractors--a career path not unlike those of viral video sensation Rebecca Black or pop star Justin Bieber. We've heard the critics go on and on about Lana's "dead behind the eyes" look, and we've heard the hoopla about her "Saturday Night Live" performance debacle, but now let's focus on what the big-name critics have said about the real meat-and-potatoes issue here: her actual debut album, Born To Die.
Rolling Stone, Grade: 2 of 5 Stars
Rolling Stone made sure to distance itself from the music blogger community that has been buzzing over Del Rey for the past year before delving into a generally panning review.
"Given her chic image, it's a surprise how dull, dreary and pop-starved Born to Die is... Her strength is the lyrics, which have the pop-trash perversity that the music lacks...lyrics about the perils of seduction work better when attached to seductive tunes."
Pitchfork, Grade: 5.5 of 10
Indie music superpower Pitchfork.com gave the album a more forgiving, albeit unenthusiastic, review, noting its pop potential and the strength of its lead single "Video Games," but also its lack of overall depth.
"The ultimate disappointment of Born to Die, then, is how out of touch it feels not just with the world around it, but with the simple business of human emotion...For all of its coos about love and devotion, it's the album equivalent of a faked orgasm--a collection of torch songs with no fire."
Spin, Grade: 6 of 10
Spin started its review by pointing out some of the best musicians of the past 50 years have had name changes, gimmicks, and other public relations-conjured hype attributed to them: Bob Dylan isn't his real name, the Ramones aren't real brothers, etc.
"This all has been so absurd: Who cares what percentage of that, or this record, or her is true? What do you care? Whether Born to Die sells 100,000 copies or 10,000 or 1,500, it has served a valuable purpose as the Internet's insta-backlash, hype-vortex tipping point, the darkest night yet of our Tumblr-ing soul...This record is not godawful. Nor is it great. But it's better than we deserve. We broke her; we bought her."
The Guardian, Grade: 3 of 5 stars
Let's hear from a U.K. voice, since Brits could potentially give more heed to Lana Del Rey's fantastic performance on England's "Later...with Jools Holland" show than her dismal "Saturday Night Live" appearanace—but not by much. The Guardian's mediocre review delves into the hypothesis: "Isn't there, though, a chance that Grant might be playing dead?"
"Unlike other hedonic outpourings, such as, say, Lady Gaga's 'Just Dance' or Katy Perry's 'Last Friday Night,' Lana Del Rey's partying is fueled by a knowing sadness, and sung in that laconic, hypnotic voice, which ultimately saves this thoroughly dissolute, feminist nightmare of a record for the romantics among us...there's a lyric (telephone wires 'sizzling like a snare'), or a guitar arpeggio to keep you from puncturing a wrist vein with a cocktail umbrella."