Lana Del Rey is an unlikely musical starlet who startled the world last year with her intoxicating vocals and viral videos. Her immobile facial features and manichean movements pair attractively with her slow ballads and indulgent melodies. Del Rey’s lyrics are both bold and beautifully written, a rarity in the mainstream music scene.
After an SNL musical debut that has been referred to as one of the worst performances in the show’s history, Del Rey has managed to regain her momentum. With a shockingly lurid short film about prostitution, a classy H&M campaign, and a much anticipated album extension, she is once again the diva we all knew she could be.
The Paradise Edition was intended to be merely a continuation of her first work, Born to Die. However, with nine equally unique tracks, this record could have been enough to stand on its own. We get to see an edgier side of Del Rey, as well as a more intimate look at some of the same love affairs she mentioned previously. She even includes a track from her first attempt at a music career before her electrifying alias.
That aside, this addition lacks the Lana we love. A tremendous amount of Del Rey’s appeal is the raw truth to her music and our ability to connect with it. However, her excessive use of instrumentals and background beats make the new work over sympathetic and alienating. While all three of her singles from Born to Die were coated in thoughtful reflection and genuine disparity, that same unconditional love is not expressed in The Paradise Edition. Given that she has not yet stretched herself to new subject matter, you would think that she could emulate the same mastery displayed before.
Her new single, “Ride,” tells the story of her street-walking past and a long line of senior lovers. While it doesn’t portray the same style of looking back as her former hits, it still bares a certain resemblance. The music video is a compelling 10 minutes long with a 6-minute monologue and a different side of Del Rey. She attempts to explain her actions rather then pushing the envelope and repelling her audience. While I am not entirely convinced the tale she tells is true, the film is exceptional.
At the end of the day, I did enjoy The Paradise Edition; I just expected a whole lot more from such a vibrant artist as Del Rey.