Lana Del Rey – Paradise
Record Label: Interscope Records
Release Date: November 9th, 2012
Lana Del Rey is one of those artists that I’ve never had any interest in listening to ever. Is that a bad thing? Sort of, because I’m just now finally listened to her material, and I must say, I quite enjoy it. At least, I really enjoy her latest EP Paradise. I’ve heard of her for a long while, but I never just got the motivation to really listen to her, especially after her performance on Saturday Night Live this past summer. That was dreadful, and many other people certainly agreed. After that, I really had no interest in her, but a few weeks ago, I saw a copy of her new EP Paradise at Target, and so I bought it. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I put it into my iTunes, but I was very surprised, because I loved it. The funny thing is, before I bought it, I had seen her commercials with H&M where she performs a snippet of her cover of “Blue Velvet,” and the commercial/music video is quite creepy, in all honesty. But I was very surprised to learn it was Ms. Del Rey. With this being my first “experience” with her, I’m quite pleased. Is this my favorite album of the year? No, not quite, but it’s still very enjoyable, nonetheless.
The EP opens with first single “Ride,” and this song really sets the stage for what the whole EP is about. The tempo is very slow, her voice is very soothing, and it just has a dream-like quality about it, which is what the whole EP has. That’s one of the few problems I have with it, though; while the songs are rather distinguishable, they still sound quite a lot alike. Her sound is very interesting, and her voice certainly is one of the best voices I have heard in a long time, but all the songs sound very similar to one another, and it’s almost as if you hear one song, you’ve pretty much heard the whole EP. Regardless, this is a wonderful song to start off with. It leaves a great sound in my ears, so to speak. Speaking of problems I have with the EP, the lyrics are something that I have a love/hate relationship with. For the most part, they’re quite “dreamy,” and have that throwback 50s and 60s Americana to them, which I love. But she seems to throw in a few pop-culture references here and there, and it’s rather weird, because she’s stated before that she’s a gangster Nancy Sinatra, and it just sounds odd. Or at least, she sounds something like that, anyway. There are a few moments in the EP where the lyrics do get rather odd, and I’ll speak about that shortly, though. There is one lyric in “Ride” that I absolutely adore, however; it goes, “I’m tired of feeling like I’m f**king crazy.” This is one of the few moments on the EP that the listener will hear a genuine emotion coming from Ms. Del Rey. Or at least, something very straightforward.
Next track, “American,” is one of my favorite songs on the EP, hands down. This and “Gods and Monsters,” which is the sixth track, are my favorites. “American” has that throwback vibe to it, which I mentioned earlier in the review. This has lyrics about Bruce Springsteen, Elvis, and the Crystal Method, so it does mention some “older” things, which is pretty cool. This song really just shows how talented Lana is, and the chorus is absolutely infectious as well. I know what it is about her, but her music is so simple, yet it’s absolutely wonderful. Third track “Cola,” goes back right to the really weird lyrics. The song itself is enjoyable, but this lyric is really weird: “My pussy tastes like Pepsi-Cola / My eyes are wide like cherry pies. / I gots a taste for men who're older / It's always been, so it's no surprise.” Isn’t that weird? To me, it’s rather odd, but oh well. That’s how the song begins, by the way. The song itself isn’t terrible, either, but it’s definitely a song that kinda falls to the wayside for me. Fourth track “Body Electric” is another one of my favorite tracks, and this is another one of those really catchy songs, too. The way Lana sings “I sing the body electric” just gives me chills down my spine.
Fifth track “Blue Velvet” is a very enjoyable cover, but that’s really it. There’s nothing to it, really. It’s nice, but not the best song on here, by any means. I mentioned sixth track “Gods and Monsters” earlier as it being one of my favorite tracks, and it really is. I love the lyrics on this song. She definitely combines the pop culture references with that Americana sound, and it’s great. The last two tracks “Yayo,” and “Bel Air” are rather disappointing to me for one reason – both songs are longer than they need to be. “Yayo” is an enjoyable song, but it’s five a half minutes. “Bel Air” is only about 4, but I still do feel as though the songs drag out a bit. Maybe that’s just me, but regardless, it does end nicely.
This EP is really interesting, because Lana has a really strange sound; she mixes the pop culture, and the current pop on the radio, but has that retro sound as well. She sounds like she’s from a different time, meaning the 50s and 60s. That’s why it’s so strange, because her brand of pop isn’t your average kind that one would expect from female artists of today, and that’s what appeals to me about her. She is rather different, and I like that. I don’t normally listen to female artists, or at least, female pop artists, and so this is rather exciting, because I don’t listen to too many, so she is essentially breaking down that barrier for me. Overall, though, Paradise stands up to its name. It is a nice dose of paradise, essentially. It’s so “chill,” and dream-like that it’s a perfect record to fall asleep to late at night. And I don’t mean that in a bad way, that’s why I like it.