Simply put, Lana Del Rey’s ‘Born To Die’ is an epic body of work from a fairly new artist. Every one of her singles has spawned its own trending topic, along with an equally as impressive indie-directed video and internet sensation. While Lana’s records may not receive radio airplay, the songs themselves speak volumes – and the record sales show just that. Lana’s breakout single “Video Games” became a viral sensation back in June 2011. Six months later, the song’s video was everywhere along with Lana’s name and picture in every high fashion magazine spread. Second single “Born To Die” hit on NYE 2011 and became her biggest song to date throughout the first half of 2012, with its dark video garnering a whopping 84 million views to date. “Die” carried a haunting vocal along with Lana’s somewhat inspiring songwriting (“walking through the city streets, is it by mistake or desire?”) that stuck with millions of music listeners, eventually leading to a #1 album with her major label debut.
After the album’s release, however, Lana’s real artistry began to show in the form of video treatments. Lana used her own royalties to give her fans videos for many of her songs, each to become critically acclaimed. “Carmen” was seen as a tribute to the younger culture engulfed in high fashion with her own metaphorical drug and icon references throughout. Buzz single “Blue Jeans” received three video treatments, two of which directed by Lana herself. The third “Jeans” video was more of a minimalist affair, featuring Lana in a bland room accompanied only with an electric guitar. Videos for both “Summertime Sadness” (featuring Jamie King) and “National Anthem” (featuring A$AP Rocky) received worldwide acclaim as reviewers praised Lana’s overall artistry and creative direction. It’s because of each of these video treatments that the story of ‘Born To Die’ came to life. Despite a few off live performances and rather seen as a move mainly for her fans, Lana’s ability to make her vision a reality was one of the strongest musical moments of 2012.
Why It’s Great: artistic creativity, lounge-room arrangements, (multiple) odes to classic vocalists such as Carole King and Nancy Sinatra
Watch a live performance of “Body Electric” below.