If only it was as much fun to listen to Lana Del Rey as it is to argue about her.
Since the singer born Lizzy Grant released the sultry, sumptuous, impossibly-jaded and yet thoroughly-romantic single “Video Games” last summer, the 25 year old’s carefully constructed puffy-lipped persona has made her the focal point of an age-old authenticity debate. It’s also added to the escalating hype for Born To Die (Interscope **) which, at long last, comes out on Tuesday.
For Schadenfreude-seeking Del Rey detractors who took pleasure in her barely-there performance on Saturday Night Live earlier this month and who have excoriated her for being “fake” - as if every performer who’s stood in front of an audience hasn’t projected an image different from their “real” self - there are reasons to say ‘I told you so.”
Born To Die contains nothing nearly so narcotically seductive as the sublimely bored “Video Games.” Careful parsing does reveals a few hidden gems, like the typically David Lynchian heartbreak ballad “Million Dollar Man,” which stands as a second tier highlight, one of several songs to feature the stormy-night strings of ace Philadelphia arranger Larry Gold. But on the whole, the album largely sticks to the mid-tempo moodiness to which Del Rey is best suited, but which grows numbing over the long haul.