Par­adise re­named

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSICREVIEWS - TONY CLAY­TON-LEA Down­load: Video Games, Gods & Mon­sters

LANA DEL RAY

Born to Die – The Par­adise

Edi­tion Poly­dor ★★★★ Elizabeth Wool­ridge Grant fil­tered through the chat­ter­sphere about 18 months ago when her de­but sin­gle, Video Games, was re­leased (un­der the rather more Bel Air-es­que moniker of Lana Del Ray). The song was suit­ably lithe and enig­matic, and the ac­com­pa­ny­ing YouTube video, cre­ated by Del Ray (us­ing we­b­cams and old home movies), spawned some 20 mil­lion hits and sold the tune up and down the river.

And yet some­thing of a shroud was cast over Del Ray; who was she and where did she come from? Did she write her songs? Did she really get sent to board­ing school at the age of 14 to deal with a drink prob­lem? Did she really live in a trailer park in her 20s, work­ing with the home­less and the drug/al­co­hol de­pen­dent? And why were her pre­vi­ous al­bums with­drawn from iTunes?

A busi­ness strat­egy was sniffed (and sniffed at), and then it came to a point in late 2011 where the very peo­ple who had once claimed in­ter­est in Del Ray no longer be­lieved what she said.

That’s their loss, frankly, be­cause Born to Die (orig­i­nally re­leased 11 months ago, and which now, with an ex­tra disc of eight songs, ar­rives in time for record vouch­ers to be handed over), re­mains some­thing of a one-off. The orig­i­nal still reeks of wilder­ness-years sex (some­times, ar­guably du­bi­ous) and a taint of bruised (some­times, lit­er­ally) re­la­tion­ships, all of which is un­der­pinned by a sound­track that fuses retro-pop with cin­e­matic with hip-hop.

The new songs on The Par­adise Edi­tion disc are ac­tu­ally just as good (par­tic­u­larly Ride, Amer­i­can and Gods & Mon­sters), and not yet so fa­mil­iar that they pass you by. How­ever, a cover of Blue Vel­vet is, per­haps, too bla­tant a nod to the kind of dys­func­tion that Del Ray’s own quite lyri­cal songs al­lude to.

That aside, what you have here is one of the best al­bums of 2012 en­hanced, reen­er­gised and (still) to­tally ra­di­ant.lanadel­ray.com

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