Lana Del Ray’s “Born to Die” Dominated 2012


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Lana Del Rey

Samantha Visco, Contributor

While 2012 had some solid albums in the music industry, most notably Frank Ocean’s instant-classic debut Channel Orange, Kendrick Lamar’s pre-To Pimp A Butterfly era’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, and Imagine Dragon’s impressive popular debut, Night Visions, one album stood above all these. Lana Del Rey’s debut studio album, Born To Die, was released January 27th, 2012 and was a stunning breakout album that introduced the New York femme fatale to the world. Del Rey helped to popularize “sad girl” pop, with her sultry vocals, impressively switching between high and fluttery and low and brooding at a moment’s notice. Her hip-hop and retro alternative style also makes this newcomer stand out from the rest.

An album with the theme of love, money, and greed, Del Rey effortlessly gives harrowing stories through the tracks, all of which she has top writing credits. Standout tracks such as “Born to Die”, “Blue Jeans”, “National Anthem”, and “Summertime Sadness” all are great alternative pop songs in a new sad, trippy hip-hop style Del Rey makes her own. The slow and gorgeous “Video Games” about love and dependency, is probably the most popular song among fans and the media for its simple-yet-beautiful melody, besides the commercial pop hit “Summertime Sadness”. Her messy live Saturday Night Live performance was highly criticized as being one of the worst of all time, yet that didn’t stop the album from going RIAA Platinum in numerous countries and “Summertime Sadness” from dominating the airwaves for years to come.

To conclude, while the album had mixed reviews, it’s the best of the year in the amount of solid tracks it has alone. This was an effortless debut for Del Rey, and the “gangsta Nancy Sinatra”’s success is well deserved. Releasing two other albums and a few EPs in the years to come, be sure to check out what seems to be a huge step from the depressed Born to Die to the happy, space exploration-inspired Lust For Life this year. The sad face on 2012’s album to the wide smile on this year’s will be interesting to see how she’s changed in a positive way.