Vulture gets a listen:
Here's what we can tell, based on a few early listens: Most of the tracks we've already heard ("Video Games," "Blue Jeans," and "Born to Die," plus leaked songs like "National Anthem") are stuffed in the first half, and the last seven tracks feel a little scraped together. Del Rey uses the same images over and over -- the red dress, bikini tops, lipstick -- and she leans on a good liquor reference whenever possible. (An incomplete list of substances consumed: black Cristal, Bacardi chasers, cognac, top-shelf liquor, cherry Schnapps.)Speaking of booze, we swear to God that she recruited the Maybach Music chick to drop in a "Pabst Blue Ribbon on Ice" voice-over on "This Is What Makes Us Girls," and the reference will either make you laugh or cringe, depending on how you feel about Rick Ross and/or pandering to worn-out ideas of hipsterness. That last part applies to the whole, probably.The melodramatic strings and moody atmospherics of "Video Games" carry through most of the album, though Del Rey does get a little frisky with some half-rapping on "National Anthem" and "Lolita." ("National Anthem," which leaked in unfinished form a few weeks ago, contains lines like, "Money is the reason we exist / Everybody knows it, it's a fact [kiss kiss]" and "Do you think you'll buy me lots of diamonds?" LDR is not afraid of herself, even if you are!) "Million Dollar Man" sounds a lot like a Fiona Apple outtake; "Off to the Races," the album opener, just sounds nuts. None of the songs stood out as a particularly easy live fit for Del Rey's voice -- she's still jumping registers and milking that fragile falsetto. How will the tour go? And why didn't she perform "Born to Die" on SNL, we wonder?
I've gotta say, I've never quite understood the hate Lana Del Rey gets. OK, it's not cool to lie about being poor. But "Video Games"--an OK song, I guess--always struck me as kiddie music. It strikes me as something a young lady might play in those angsty years before she gets her driver's license and is imagining what adulthood is like.
I don't know. I don't really get Justin Bieber-hate either. Or Common spitting at Drake.
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