‘Born to Die’ lacks soul, fails to find identity

Mallory Martin

January has been a big month for singer/songwriter Lana Del Rey. With the release of a self-titled EP earlier this month, and her first album “Born to Die” due out soon, she’s been busy. And with fans singing her praises, and critics panning her recent SNL guest spot, it’s fair to say she’s receiving a lot of publicity as of late. The big question here is, should you pre-order her new album? My answer is no.

While Del Rey’s deep alto and often bluesy style will find an easy audience with those searching for the next Adele or Amy Winehouse, I found myself disappointed.

Del Rey has all the potential in the world: her throwback music videos, her gorgeous appearance and her simple yet pleasing vocals give plenty to look forward to. The problem is, her album does not live up to the hype building as of late.

Best compared with Florence Welch for her lazy diction and breathy vocal style, Del Rey lacks the passion and range of her fellow redhead.

I find little diversity in the tracks of “Born to Die”. Although the songs do follow different themes such as love, identity and mortality, I found that the music all basically sounds the same. There is no crescendo, no build up; the songs are definitively bland. The few times that Del Rey does try to break the mold, such as with “National Anthem” and “Off to the Races,” I found the electro-pop and high pitches unattractive on her voice.

To be fair, I enjoyed the bluesy “Video Games” the first time I heard it. It’s just that listening to “Born to Die” and “Summertime Sadness” directly afterward left me bored. Del Rey needs to learn Adele’s tactic of subtle variety before she makes another album.

Lana del Rey’s “Born to Die” will be released Tuesday, Jan. 31 in stores and on iTunes. There will also be a Deluxe edition featuring several bonus tracks. You can also check out her YouTube channel “LanaDelRey” to see if you agree.