A song for today #39: Lana Del Rey

Photo credit: Neil Krug.

Lana Del Rey  has unveiled a new track, ‘Love’ the first track to be revealed from her as-yet untitled new album.

To these ears, it’s one of the finest things she’s ever done. Right up there with ‘Video Games.’ Yet while that track was downbeat, this is actually strangely optimistic. To those who thought that first hit was all she had to offer…she proves you wrong.

Not only that, but the video for the song – which has already got 500,000 views within  a couple of hours of going online – is pretty damn fantastic, too. It starts off like a simple performance video, and then literally reaches for the stars. Fantastic work from director Rich Lee, to accompany a gorgeous pop song. One that stands up to repeated plays.

 

 

 

 

The return of Lana Del Rey

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Lana Del Rey has confirmed that her latest album Honeymoon, will be released on September 18. While the hipsters seemed to turn on her as soon as they’d latched onto her (quelle surprise!) a few years back, I who took a while to fall for ‘Video Games’ and then couldn’t let go, am certainly looking forward to this album.

Whilst there is no confirmed tracklisting that I can find online (as yet), she has so far shared two tracks which give us a flavour of what the album might be like. Summertime noir might be one description.

This is the title track:

This is the new single ‘High By The Beach’ (this video has already racked up several million plays in a matter of days since its release)

Album Review – Lana Del Rey

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Lana Del Rey -‘Ultraviolence.’ (Polydor)

Somehow, sitting down to review the new Lana Del Rey album fills with me with trepidation. It seems that somehow there’s so much baggage amongst reviewers due to the coverage that trying to approach this album at face value is something that many don’t want to do. So to hell with all the other coverage and what has been written about her, is the album actually any good?

Well, assuming this isn’t failing at the first hurdle, it compares fairly favourably to her breakthrough record, Born To Die. Favourably in the sense that if you liked that album – and I did – then the chances are you will like this one. It isn’t much of an advance, but then if you’ve heard ‘Shades of Cool’ and ‘West Coast’ which were doing the rounds ahead of the album, you were quite reasonable to assume that she wasn’t going to start sounding like Peaches or Lydia Lunch.

Having listened to this album, it is a bit of a grower. Her voice is as haunting as it was, but if you check out both album opener ‘Cruel World’ and ‘Black Beauty’ then the album starts to make sense on its own terms. If you can get away from whatever is being written about her this week, then there’s some great bits on this album. No, it won’t change your life, but she’s proved she’s no one hit wonder, either…

***1/2

Ultraviolence is out now on Polydor

The return of Lana Del Rey

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Lana Del Rey appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, towards the end of 2011 with her single ‘Video Games.’ I wasn’t too taken with the song at first (which is why the song didn’t appear on my end of year Festive Fifty list), but gradually it grew on me. As did the follow-up single ‘Born To Die.’

What was quite unbelievable, though, was the way that people turned on her quite quickly. Her debut album Born To Die was good, if not spectacular, and yet when that combined with a slightly out of tune performance on Saturday Night Live, you would have thought she was stealing people’s husbands, taking sweets from children and drowning cute fluffy kittens for kicks all at the same time.

However, The album sold well both in the US and UK, and June 16 will see the release of her sophomore album, Ultraviolence.

Two tracks have been released from the album so far, this is the forthcoming ‘Shades Of Cool’ a rather lovely ballad in what seems to be becoming her trademark style:

‘West Coast’ is a different beast entirely, with just a hint of reggae, if you listen very carefully…

The album tracklisting is as follows:

‘Cruel World’
‘Ultraviolence’
‘Shades Of Cool’
‘Brooklyn Baby’
‘West Coast’
‘Sad Girl’
‘Pretty When You Cry’
‘Money Power Glory’
‘Fucked My Way Up To The Top’
‘Old Money’
‘The Other Woman’
‘Black Beauty’ (Bonus track)
‘Guns And Roses’ (Bonus track)
‘Florida Kilos’ (Bonus track)

More from Lana Del Rey

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Barely a few weeks have passed since Lana Del Rey’s cover version of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Chelsea Hotel#2’ started doing the rounds. But there is now an equally good cover -IMHO- of Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Summer Wine.’

This time, the song and video feature her boyfriend James-Barrie O’Neill of Kassidy fame.

The original can be heard below:

You can read about ‘Summer Wine’ – nothing to do with the long-running Last Of The Summer Wine, by the way – over at Wiki.

Other cover versions that I’d like her to consider are ‘Some Velvet Morning’ ‘ Nights In White Satin’ and ‘A Whiter Shade Of Pale’…

New from Lana Del Rey

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It was slightly scary last year how quickly the knives were out for Lana Del Rey, considering how ‘cool’ she had been a matter of weeks earlier. One not particularly amazing Saturday Night Live performance and you would have thought that she’d ripped up a picture of the Pope like Sinead O’Connor (actually that was an overreaction that had nothing to do with spiritual leadership and a lot to do with misogyny). Her debut album was ok, but because she hadn’t delivered a masterpiece, well she’d obviously let everyone down, hadn’t she? Not to mention using a stage name? I mean, Elvis Costello or Bob Dylan wouldn’t get away with that, would they…oh, hang on.

Anyway, for those of you who have four minutes to spare, check out her version of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Chelsea Hotel #2.’ Simple, haunting and very, very beautiful…

Here is Mr. Cohen’s original:

As far as I can establish, at the time of writing the Lana Del Rey version is not available to buy yet.

There’s an interesting piece on the hotel itself (yes, it is a real place!) here

Heresy or Heroism?

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‘Irk the purists! Irk the purists!’ sang Half Man Half Biscuit on their track of the same name, on the Trouble Over Bridgwater LP.

Most bands have their obsessive devotees. Even now, I’m sure if you ahve too much time on your hands you could probably find someone who will insist that Menswe@r were genbiuses who were misunderstood by the media. Then you get the pretty well excellent bands, like The Smiths and Radiohead, whose devotees can still take things a bit far.

Like this mash-up, for example. This track has divided the internet, mixing the vocal from The Smiths’ 1983 hit ‘This Charming Man’ with tyhe backing from Lana Del Rey’s hit from the end of last year ‘Video Games.’ It’s been put together by Gavin Burrell from Manchester, who goes under the name The Reborn Identity (and more of his mashups can be streamed and downloaded here at his Soundcloud page

Not only that, but there’s also been a mash-up video made. I think both mashup track and video are excellent, even as a Smiths fan (and to a lesser extent, a fan of some of Del Rey’s songs).

The Smiths vs Lana Del Rey – This Charming Video Game (mashup) from Reborn Identity on Vimeo.

What do you think? Heresy? Genius? Is it just another mash-up? Another Stroke Of Genius? Or is there a reason why it’s called ‘Bastard Pop’ in Germany?

Just for the record, this was one of the earliest mash-ups many people heard in 2001. Richard X going under the name ‘Girls On Top’ (oo-er missus, etc..)

…which for the record became a bona-fide hit the following year, and was one of the best tracks of 2002.

Album Review – Lana Del Rey

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Lana Del Rey -‘Born To Die’ (Polydor/Interscope)

..so here it comes. The most anticipated debut of 2012, from an act who was barely known six months ago. There probably is a school of thought that argues that given how well this record is likely to do, there’s no point in reviewing it. And some people will be sharpening the knives for the inevitable backlash. Hell, that was starting to happen before the unfortunate TV appearance a week or two ago.

Thing is, for whatever reason (probably to do with only having got 6Music at the start of the year, only reading NME periodically might well be factors), I first heard ‘Video Games’ on the radio. It didn’t blow me away at first – but now it has worked its’ charms on me.

Is it an innovative album that rewrites the rulebook? No – but nor is it an exercise in shameless nostalgia. Taken simply at face value, it is an album of hauntingly beautiful songs. And yes, she’s worked with collaborators on songs- so have most artists since the dawn of time.

The title track you probably know by now, as well as ‘Video Games’. There are other tracks worth seeking out here – after all in this day and age of downloads, there will be many who simply buy the songs they have heard rather than bothering with the entire album (a shame, but this may well be a generational thing). For my money, ‘National Anthem’ and ‘Blue Jeans’ are worth your time too.

Is she a persona as Lana Del Rey, rather than as Lizzie Grant? Perhaps. I’ve not watched the videos – and the more I hear other people talk about and dissect them, I feel like I want to just stick with the music. The album cover reminds me more of Desperate Housewives than anything else, and I don’t feel the urge to do more than just enjoy the sounds, rather than subject the record to huge amounts of over-analysis.

…and on the evidence here, that’s quite enough for me.

***1/2

Born To Die is released on Polydor/Interscope on January 30.

Lana Del Rey- can we focus on the music please?

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Blah blah blah…manufactured…blah blah blah…Saturday Night Live…Her Lips…blah blah blah…

…have you quite finished?

Considering no-one knew who Lana Del Rey was, barely six months ago, it’s not much of an exaggeration to say that her forthcoming debut album, Born To Die, has been hotly anticipated, on both sides of the Atlantic.

Needless to say, the knives are out for her already. I know little of the person (and yes, I know that isn’t her real name), but what I do know is, the music has really grown on me. I was slightly staggered when NME named first single ‘Video Games’ track of the year, but somehow the track has worked its’ magic on me. And that’s without even having seen the video.

The title track of the album is out next week, and I have fallen hook, line and sinker for this:

Lana Del Rey – Born To Die [Single Version] by PurplePR

These are three remixes doing the rounds; my personal favourite is the Gemini one (which travels some distance over the course). I know not everyone cares for remixes but these are not half bad.

Lana Del Rey – Born To Die [Woodkid Remix] by PurplePR

Lana Del Rey – Born To Die [Clams Casino Remix] by PurplePR

Lana Del Rey – Born To Die [Gemini Remix] by PurplePR

Update: having posted this piece last night, I received a very polite email from a read, who submitted a remix he had done of ‘Video Games’ which he is happy for me to share with you. So here is Vapor Maché’s remix of ‘Video Games.’

Video Games (Vapor Maché Rematch) by Vapor Mache