Lana Del Rey – Paradise

Lana Del Rey - Paradise

Lana Del Rey – Paradise

This past autumn Lana Del Rey repackaged her smash album Born To Die as a deluxe version titled Born To Die – The Paradise Edition.  The 2-CD set includes Paradise, a CD of 8 new songs, which is also available as a stand-alone disc.  While the name may suggest a tropical Eden full of sunshine and good vibes, the songs fall strictly into Lana’s moody, orchestral-ballad mode.

Born To Die was successful because, among other reasons, it bounces around from melodramatic ballads to frisky, slanguage-infused anthems, and sometimes even combines the two.  Lana’s image of being da bomb(shell) of a bygone era playing fast ‘n’ loose with the traditional rules looms large on Born To DieParadise, however, is too conventional in its symphonic strings sweep and Lana in the role of the elegant chanteuse.

Most songs slip into a sedate pace and are saturated with strings and Lana’s languorous vocal delivery.  Lana’s serious manner runs counter to her dope to sometimes dopey shorthand lyrics imagery, with “Elvis” and “driving fast” being referenced more than once.  Her languid cover of “Blue Velvet” feels like an unnecessary entry, sounding faded instead of fresh.  It’s mainly the chorus sections of songs that stand out where Lana lifts her tone to a lighter, sparkling register, like on the trippingly pretty “Bel Air” and breathy “Cola”.

The torch-noir “Yayo” is the one song on Paradise that has the rest beat. It’s an oldie for Lana, but in this reworked version, Lana suddenly sounds alive and vulnerable, swooping and drooping amid the piano notes, upright bass, and brushed drums.  She is vocally and emotionally expressive as she swings from channeling a faux-innocent seductress on the chorus to a forlorn, echoed ghost by song’s end.


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