Poor Lana Del Rey. I guess Pitchfork didn’t get Whitney Cummings’ memo.
Normally, I don’t devote posts to any media outlet’s review of any particular artist’s album, but I’m making an exception in the case of Pitchfork vs. Lana Del Rey because 1) Miss Del Rey has been the topic of conversation since her bizarre SNL appearance, and 2) because the rhetoric of the review in question by Lindsay Zoladz is pretty scathing (Though it should be noted that the album was graded at 5.5). Let’s just say that I hope the whole SNL debacle has thinkened LDR’s skin.
But for an album that aims for fickle radio listeners, many of its pop signifiers feel stale and ill-fitting. On “Million Dollar Man”, Del Rey drawls like a highly medicated Fiona Apple, and “Diet Mountain Dew” and “Off to the Races” aim for chatty, sparkling opulence, this singer doesn’t have the personality to bring it off.
The album’s point of view– if you could call it that– feels awkward and out of date. Whether you take a line like “Money is the reason we exist/ Everybody knows that it’s a fact/ Kiss kiss” with a 10-carat grain of salt is up to you, but even as a jab at the chihuahua-in-Paris-Hilton’s-handbag lifestyle, it feels limp and pointless (unlike, say, Lily Allen’s mock-vapid but slyly observant 2008 single “The Fear”). Still, the dollar signs in its eyes aren’t an inherent strike against Born to Die: Even in the wake of an international debt crisis and the Occupy movement, it was hard not to fall for Watch the Throne. But that’s because Jay and Kanye made escapist fantasy sound so fun. Del Rey’s gem-encrusted dreamworld, meanwhile, relies on clichés (“God you’re so handsome/ Take me to the Hamptons”) rather than specific evocations. It’s a fantasy world that makes you long for reality.
For all of its coos about love and devotion, it’s the album equivalent of a faked orgasm– a collection of torch songs with no fire.
Ouch. Being a lady and having your debut album compared to a fake orgasm by another lady has to be, um, below average, right? Personally, given all she’s been through, I’d have gone the nice guy route and went with something less likely to make Lana Del Rey cry, perhaps saying that the album was “like a big, loud fart that lacks any trace of complex odor” instead. But maybe that’s just me. Liam Neeson certainly isn’t anywhere near as forgiving.