Lana Del Rey: Born to Die (Interscope) 

Pop has always worshipped at the altar of female masochism, especially among our current crop of sexy "tough girls." Gaga prostrates herself like a cybernetic rag doll in the "Paparazzi" video; Rihanna flirts openly with her own tabloid infamy in "S&M."

So as a document of objectification and the enjoyment of pain, Lana Del Rey's Born to Die is downright fascinating. I wouldn't dare foist the burden of "originality" on Del Rey. And if you do, I'm pretty sure you're missing the point of, like, the entire pop stratosphere. The only fault I can find with Ms. Del Rey is a seeming basic misunderstanding of kitsch, but even that's just a quibble compared to the far greater joy of deciphering Born to Die as a pop artifact.

Born to Die poises her as a disaffected torch singer, singing against spider-webby ambience with counterintuitive pop hooks: The spectral chorus on "National Anthem" is broken for a pause so that Del Rey can deliver one of her signature Betty Boop-isms, an overly wry "kiss kiss" that, despite its self-awareness, is fun and playful.

In fact, this is an album of play in all senses: role-play, tickle attacks, snowball fights and, of course, pillow fights. Del Rey is always describing herself being watched: On "Off to the Races," she describes someone gazing at her "in the bathroom ... slipping on my red dress, putting on my makeup." She's delighted to be observed in the act of self-creation. Isn't that so Gaga?

More by Sean Bottai

Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

Latest in Rhythm & Views

  • Rhythm & Views

    American Monoxide “In Flight Mode” (People In A Position To Know)
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Rhythm & Views

    Wight Lhite “Beyond the Satellites” (Paisley Shirt Records)
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Don't Forget the Coop

    Interview with Alice Cooper
    • Jun 15, 2017
  • Battle Acts: Sgt. Pepper Then vs. Sgt. Pepper Now

    We have no Summer of Love to ponder, no Vietnam War to protest, no miracle drug that's going to save us. But we do have an unpopular president and Sgt. Pepper to marvel over all over again. It's not the same, but it kinda is, and that's about the best splendid time that can be guaranteed for all in 2017.
    • Jun 8, 2017
  • More »

Facebook Activity

© 2017 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation