Born to flop

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Music - JAR­RAD BE­VAN

THE rapid rise and swift demise of Lana Del Rey has been amaz­ing to watch.

Be­fore her de­but Born to Die was even re­leased, the singer some­how man­aged to go from next big thing to punching bag and the butt of nasty jokes.

It seems to be an is­sue of au­then­tic­ity. Peo­ple see her as fake and they feel de­ceived. All of a sud­den, they aren’t buy­ing her schtick.

To be fair, Born to Die is hardly a ter­ri­ble al­bum com­pared with other pop records of re­cent months.

Video Games is a com­mand­ing sin­gle – 24 mil­lion Youtube views and count­ing don’t lie. But the record does lack a lit­tle some­thing in a num­ber of ar­eas.

Her songs of­ten feel man­u­fac­tured – think Na­tional An­them – and they lack any real fire or pas­sion. Kind of like a mu­si­cal ver­sion of the Twi­light films.

There’s also a bunch of very retro lyri­cal themes about be­ing in love with bad boys that make up about half of the al­bum. The other half is com­prised of sad- sack pop songs of­ten ref­er­enc­ing death. Over the course of an hour, this be­comes a chore.

Where Amy Wine­house made art by chan­nelling her in­ner demons, Del Rey makes peo­ple mad by chan­nelling house­wife fan­tasies from decades ago. She sounds like she’s from an­other time, too de­pen­dent on men, even help­less.

Cringe­wor­thy lines like ‘‘ God you’re so hand­some/ Take me to the Hamp­tons’’ aren’t go­ing to fly – never ever.

But the al­bum’s big­gest crime might just be plain old dull­ness.

Throw­ing strings or trip- hop beats at pop songs work well some­times but it’s not a cure- all.

At least half of the al­bum’s songs come across as half- baked and un­der­de­vel­oped. At worst, they can be pre­ten­tious and an­noy­ing.

Singing in a dis­pas­sion­ate, un­re­fined, mono­tone style isn’t adding any drama to this set. She only has two speeds – slurry or sul­try. Much of the mu­sic here could do with less of a straight bat ( Sum­mer­time Sad­ness).

Why not swing for the fences, add a lit­tle camp­ness or swag­ger to the mix?

It seems some­what silly to ask for ‘‘ re­al­ness’’ from a pop star.

Did she ever even claim it? And be­sides, man­u­fac­tured acts have filled a cer­tain void for years ( The Mon­keys, any­one?) and will con­tinue to do so.

The real is­sue isn’t her style, sub­stance or rich fam­ily pulling strings to fast- track her ca­reer.

She is sim­ply a young lady with a medium- sized mea­sure of tal­ent mak­ing medi­ocre mu­sic.

With­out a pow­er­ful voice or any­thing heart­felt to say, her die has been cast.

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