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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Sedated Sounds

The drugged sexuality of Lana Del Rey’s music has always made her sound like a singer from the ’50s

Written by Suanshu Khurana | Published: July 27, 2013 5:41:16 am

Born to Die: The Paradise Edition

Singer: Lana Del Rey

Music: Universal Music

Price: Rs 395

rating: **1/2

The drugged sexuality of Lana Del Rey’s music has always made her sound like a singer from the ’50s. No wonder the moniker “gangster Nancy Sinatra” has stuck to her. Our appreciation for her previous album Born to Die (2012) had largely come from the track,Video games — its haunting sound paired with Del Rey’s syrupy voice had us in a tizzy. Del Rey also titillated us with robo-pop in that album. So when she released Paradise,an EP after Born to Die,this year,we expected it to similarly delight us,but Del Rey’s eight-song follow-up delivers only in parts.

In the opening track,a downtempo pop ballad called Ride,the chorus makes an appearance before Del Ray’s own voice,a style she followed in the opening track of the last album too. Her husky,echoey voice paired with heaving strings throughout makes it one of the better tracks on the album. The synth is very ’80s,and the entire song is a wonderful mishmash of notes from her previous album. Del Ray’s quavery voice has always worked to her advantage and she uses it well in most of the songs. But it does not sound very tasteful when she sings “Elvis is my daddy/ Marilyn’s my mother/ Jesus is my bestest friend/ We get crazy every Friday night” in the track Body electric,with classic spy guitar sounds and unpleasant drumming.

In the cover of Blue velvet,the video of which has Del Rey look like a half-alive doll,the singer croons in a slow and haunting way. The song has replaced sax (which is intrinsic to the original) with strings. The otherwise romantic eulogy to lost love,Blue velvet brings the imagery of abuse to the fore. That said,Del Rey also showcases her ability of being more than just a sultry pop singer.

The next number,Cola,is replete with profane lyrics such as “My p***y tastes like Pepsi Cola”,which seems more like an attempt to grab attention. But soon enough,as she drawls,magnifying various references to sex,drugs and glamour in a dark and twisted fantasy world,the cheeky track becomes somewhat listen-able.

But it’ also from here that Del Ray becomes repetitive and loses track. We are fatigued and are looking for something different,apart from her sedated Fiona Apple style. But that something different doesn’t show up,leaving us disappointed with a musician who displayed ample promise in her previous songs.

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