How Big How Blue How Beautiful
If great pop is all about fantasy and escapism, why is so much scorn piled on Lana Del Rey?
The sofa-lipped chanteuse has endured a vicious backlash even before this debut album appeared largely because it has emerged she had a previous flop musical career as Lizzie Grant. Well, so what? Reinvention is pop's lifeblood: Imagine a world without David Bowie or Madonna, to give just two glaring examples.
The mean-spiritedness is a pity because Born To Die is a stylish and delicious entity: sumptuous, alluring and cinematic. None of the tracks veer too far from the musical template of ubiquitous, beguiling single Video Games – sumptuous strings, arch guitar and a sighing swoon of a vocal – and the title track and This Is What Makes Us Girls near that classic's airy magnificence.
It's not all so stellar: it couldn't be. Off To The Races and National Anthem prove that Del Rey really shouldn't do chirpy, and lyrically her fixation with being a submissive femme-fatale sex siren devoted to a bad-boy lover soon wears thin. Every song on Born To Die could have been written by David Lynch for Laura Dern to croon to Nicolas Cage in Wild At Heart.
As a criticism, that sounds like pretty high praise, and the great news is that Born To Die is tipped to be number one this week. So let's score one for the dreamers over the haters.