Lana Del Rey's major label debut Born to Die will turn 5 this month, and we will celebrate its 15 tracks during the next 15 days, until it officially turns half a decade old on January 27.
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Posted 13 January 2017 - 11:03 PM
The song that started it all; a moody, dramatically romantic 5-minute ballad about “letting go of [her] musical ambitions and settling down into a simple life with a person [she] loved”.
Written by Lana Del Rey herself, composed by Justin Parker (who worked with Ellie Goulding, Rihanna and Sia right after collaborating with Del Rey) and produced by Daniel Omelio and Brandon Lowry (Robopop), “Video Games” features haunting sustained piano chords, gentle strings, subtle electronic elements, passionate vocals and some of her finest lyrics to date, introducing us to the Lana Del Rey world: beautiful, innocent women terribly in love with bad guys.
“Video Games” was an instant classic. “I knew right away that it was a pretty epic piece of work and that it would put her on the map and define her as an artist,” Omelio said back in 2012. “It was such a heartfelt and real piece of music, that I felt sure that people would connect with it right away.” And it definitely did; it went Top 10 in twelve European countries and even hit No. 1 in Germany and Luxembourg. This long, dreamy lullaby performed so well in the continent that it is considered to be one of most successful songs ever in France.
“I would play my songs [to my label], explain what I was trying to do, and I’d get ‘You know who is No. 1 in 13 countries right now? Kesha,” Lana told T Magazine. “It was too dark, too personal, too risky, not commercial. It wasn’t pop until it was on the radio.” That’s exactly what this song and the whole Lana Del Rey persona did: she turned what it was risky, anti-EDM into the mainstream. Suddenly, slower songs hit the charts on which Katy Perry and Lady Gaga were dominating. An entire indie culture met the pop world and transformed into a sudden obsession for “retro vibes”, visual and musical textures and post-Born to Die kids like Halsey and Lorde.
Its iconic video, a “moving collage” as described as Dazed, was just so brilliantly simple that the industry and general public started to conspire; Did she really edit this video herself? How did she get a contract with a major label? Is her dad a millionaire? Are her lips real? She’s not a feminist.
Lana Del Rey was then a young woman opening her heart to the whole world. Yes, “It’s all for you / Everything I do”, “Only worth living if somebody is loving you” – among other lines – could come off as controversial, but she’s just another human being deeply, wrongly in love. Of course men are able to sing about dying over perfect bodies and great sex with multiple women, but Del Rey wishing to spend her life with an unrequited love is a bad example to young girls.
At the end of the day, “Video Games” was just a taste of what was yet to come: the most interesting and unique female artist of the 2010s. A modern classic Del Rey should always be proud of.
Recommended article: Robopop on the process of “Video Games”
Posted 13 January 2017 - 11:31 PM
Yaaaaaaaaaasssssssssss for Born to Die, her best album and the best album of all time probably.
I would sacrifice my soul to hear it for the first time again, it was honestly religious.
Video Games is THAT song.
Posted 14 January 2017 - 12:01 AM
Posted 14 January 2017 - 12:14 AM
Oh yes, excited for this ! Born To Die... Such a special album in my heart !
I was a bit bored of what was being done at the time and then she just brought this breath of fresh air. I was amazed by what I was listening to: the lyrics, the melodies, the cultural references, the themes, the visuals, the interviews, the face, the vocals... It was so much !
Video Games (and more particularly Blue Jeans) pushed me to make videos myself and film more. I always thought: "You need to have studied editing/cinema to do these things" and she showed me that you just need a vision and love for that...
"Born To Die" sounds timeless (most of it)
I still can't get over "Off To The Races", the flow, the imagery, the strings, the vocals, the delivery, the hard beats,
"Blue Jeans" is the song that stole my heart
"Video Games" is a modern classic,
"Diet Mtn Dew" is a bop and yet so melancholic (plus the demo versions are fire),
"National Anthem"'s chorus is so breathtaking,
"Dark Paradise" was so unusual to what could be heard back in the day,
"Radio"'s chorus was infectious and was on loop pretty much my whole spring/summer,
"Carmen"'s storytelling is superb,
"Million Dollar Man" needs to be a jazz standard,
"Summertime Sadness" is so gorgeous for so many reasons, those military drums swept me away, the bridge, the chorus,
"This is What Makes Us Girls" took me the longest time to appreciate but now I see the light, the lyrics paint such a vivid picture,
"Without You" is so easy to love,
"Lolita" is so dark and naughty and pow,
"Lucky Ones" is heartbreakingly naive...
I feel sorry for every BTD detractor who constantly feel the need to bash this superb album because the truth is; it has a strong identity rooted in a unique universe.
No, in all seriousness, I respect everybody's preference. Happy Birthday, BTD, a great album !
Posted 14 January 2017 - 06:14 AM
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Lana's best album!(all shade to haters lol)
But on a more serious note. I really do love this album. National Anthem is a masterpiece. Million Dollar Man deserved a video. And Lucky Ones is great song despite the backlash.
It's crazy how many people really stole this sound. Iconic Lana!
Posted 14 January 2017 - 09:19 AM
Posted 14 January 2017 - 10:00 AM
Posted 14 January 2017 - 10:53 AM
Posted 14 January 2017 - 11:49 AM
257 weeks on the Top 200 in Billboard. This week it is #129
if there are 52 weeks a year x 5 that means 260 (plus add a couple so say 262 weeks will be exactly five years on the charts (I believe it fell off for one week recently when the Christmas albums all hit the charts)
Born to die revolutionized music
Lana was the first female artist to do it all, write, lyrics, music, idea concept of videos, produce (now) and generally every single other artist has stolen or copied her style
and done it her way, more and more as the years went on, without letting the old male abuses the woman artist mode of the record industry
(something I believe she only realized how much power she herself had when she was finally validated with the Trailblazer award from Billboard last year.
It empowered her even more.
However, I don't know if I would say Born to Die is her best album. At the time I thought so
How could she ever top it?
then came the stand alone Paradise (and even though someone said a comment she made indicated it was the end of the BTD, I believe at the moment she said it,
there was no assurance she wanted to continue the Lana Del Rey story but that shortly after Paradise, she got the idea for Ultraviolence, then shortly after the idea
of Honeymoon and then shortly after began work on the latest to be
each one being as good as the one before, and each one adding more and more and more into the whole shebang, so fleshing it out, moving it from a somewhat immature young adult
(or still thought of by herself as possibly still a teen) to the now over 30 women she became
and she is now IMHO one of the boys in terms of the singers/acts and transends every other female singer around.
and more and more does it for herself, she has proven to be one of the collective she always wished to be in, but she is the leader in the studio, out of the studio, she does
whatever she wants to do, something that in the past, was reserved for the SImons and Dylans and in a way (onehas to think about this analogy-
she has done what Prince protested for years (so much so he even had that symbol on his forehead and he referred to himself as a symbol that could not be pronounced,)
to be able to do- she is FREE of the system.
There is no other female in music who has done this- (and no, Kate Bush did not either at least not from the start)
let's hope it stays that way.
Meanwhile, everyone here should keep playing the Born to die album on Spotify and the other places that count and in 6 weeks, it will be 5 years on the charts,
which is a rarified area in chart history
Lana is our modern day Edith Piaf. Totally unique. a mixture of Brian WIlson Roy Orbison, Leonard Cohen, Gram Parsons, Elton & Bernie. Born to Die/Paradise is comparable to Elton's Captain Fantastic. All the records need to be listened whole. Waiting for a box set vinyl of all 400 songs not on any lp
Posted 14 January 2017 - 12:14 PM
Posted 14 January 2017 - 01:01 PM
My favorite album of all time and Lana's best (so far), IMO. I can't explain what it is, but I just never get tired of listening to Born To Die.
@PARADIXO your text was wonderful to read, can't wait for the other songs!
Posted 14 January 2017 - 03:47 PM
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