Listening to “The Paradise Edition” of “Born To Die” is an experience. I recommend listening on the best speakers or headphones you have so you can hear every single sound in the production. Lana has set the bar.
“The Paradise Edition” is an extension of her debut, major label album “Born To Die” that was released in January of this year, garnering Del Rey her cult fan base. Tracks like “Video Games,” “Blue Jeans,” and “Born To Die” gained Lana notoriety for both her artistic direction and her physical appearance. Many pointing fingers at her for using her stage name, Lana Del Rey as opposed to her former stage name and legal name, Lizzie Grant. Tongues kept wagging when a less than stellar performance on Saturday Night Live kept Del Rey’s name on the top of every gossip blog and entertainment site on the internet. Lana has since kept a fairly low profile here in the states, performing 3 day residencies in New York and Los Angeles only since. Music videos and overseas success has catapulted Del Rey into stardom everywhere but her home, America. With the re-release “Born To Die” I, as a fan, hope that changes drastically for the 26 year old singer-songwriter with a Las Vegas past.
The EP opens with the first single “Ride” we have come to know very well. Gone are the hip-hip influence that was heavy on, and made, “Born To Die.” Del Rey treats the audience to a more mature, rock and classical sound that was apparent on her first album, but not prominent. “American” is the first unheard track we get into after the monster that is “Ride.” Lana coo’s in and out of the strings, percussion and tickling piano keys that elevate this album even more so. “Be young, be dope, be proud. Like an American” is the most memorable line sung and sums up Lana and her gangsta-Nancy Sinatra stye to a T.
“My pussy tastes like Pepsi Cola.” The opening line in “Cola” is sure to be an instant favorite to a majority. Sure, it has an aggressive first line, but the again, the production on this album is perfection that Del Rey’s sometimes elementary poetry is overshadowed and instantly forgiven. “Body Electric” is probably the heaviest track on the album, both production wise and overall feel. The drama in the drums gives you a feeling of a dark, smokey room with one spotlight on Lana. “Body Electric” is a reference to a poem titled “I Sing The Body Electric” written by American poet Walt Whitman. Lana references the likes of Whitman fairly often, along with Kurt Vonnegut, Elvis Presley, and her love of Science Fiction. It’s interesting to hear the studio version of “Body Electric” with its added dramatics and lyrics. “Body Electric” was first heard on day one of three of Lana’s Los Angeles residency earlier this year at the El Rey Theatre.
Lana Del Rey’s rendition of “Blue Velvet” has helped introduce her into the ears and eyes of everyone across the globe due to her partnership with H&M. The commercial doubles as the music video and was direction by David Lynch. “Gods & Monsters” is a rough, heavy and sexy song that will boom through your eardrums. Another heavy track, there are screams throughout the song that somehow don’t get cheesy. “Give it to me slutty” is the standout lyric. Or maybe its “I was an angel, waiting to get fucked hard.”
“Yayo” hails from Lana’s “Lizzie Grant” days and was on appeared on a “Lizzie Grant” album and EP earlier in her career. The haunting track was an instant fan favorite when it leaked earlier this year and the new tweaks and hollow, echoey sound on the re-recorded and remastered version is downright depression with a melody. You can hear the melancholy in her voice and feel her heartache while the song weaves its way into your soul. As mellow as it is, it grabs your attention and makes you want to know the story behind the song, who its about and you’ll Google the lyrics so you can know every detail about the song, like I did. “Bel Air” is a straight up masterpiece in the realm of pop music. Lana’s layered vocals, the melody as it builds up in the chorus are euphoric. The strings, the drums, the kids in the background make it sound like she’s performing in a meadow, dressed in white with a slight breeze tousling her hair just enough. Okay, I’m being a fan boy right now. I love this song.
“Burning Desire” is an iTunes bonus track. Del Rey purrs over her own breathy vocals with heavy bass and strings filling out the rest of the track. “Burning Desire” is one of those songs you drive alone to with the windows down and no set destination. Perfect end and perfect fit to round off “The Paradise Edition.”
This EP is pop music in it’s finest form. Sure, none of the tracks will be #1 on the Billboard charts and I doubt mainstream America will even pay much attention to this release, but its here for those who stumble upon it now, then or in sixty years. It’s a modern, timeless classic.
Favorite: “Bel Air”