Release Date: Nov 13, 2012
Record label: Interscope
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
A year ago, Lana Del Rey was roiling the Internet with arguments about authenticity and class politics. Today, the kerfuffle, like most bygone online brouhahas, seems silly, and her debut sounds like a flawed but enjoyably cheeky exercise in noir pop. The deluxe edition adds eight new tracks, which bring her strengths into focus – chiefly, a sense of humor for which she's not given enough credit.
With the closing days of 2012 rapidly drawing into sight, where do we stand now on Lana Del Rey? The general thinking prior to - and continuing after - the release of Born to Die appeared broadly split into two camps: those considering her to be exhibiting a bruised, seductive movie-star persona with a series of deliciously dark pop tracks from the unlit side of the Hollywood sign. And those that considered her a cynical piece of record label fodder and dolled-up industry window dressing. Or in failing to concoct anything so articulate, uttering something appertaining to the shape of her lips.
Review Summary: Impressively, coming only 10 months after her album, this doesn't feel rushed. So I guess this faux-EP, faux-album follow up to a big pop album is a trend now, huh. With Paradise, it looks like Lana Del Rey is very deliberately following on from Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster - and why not, when it worked so well for her? Plenty of reasons, that's why - before I even heard a note of it, I was expecting Paradise to be a flop, because it seemed like such a counter-intuitive move for her at this point.
I think we all need to relax about Lana Del Rey. The lobbied insults regarding inauthenticity, and shameless ploys to gain success and stardom that Del Rey has received in the past year following the release of her inextricable debut Born to Die were quite uncalled for. It’s a little difficult to swallow the polemic arguments that either paint Del Rey as superbly fake or a massively sincere airhead, especially considering who they’re coming from.
Lana Del Rey. You either love her or love to hate her. It’s hard to be ambivalent… and if you are ambivalent, set aside 10 minutes of your life and watch the “Ride” music video, where a vamped-up Lana walks the streets of a dead-end southwestern town, gets bent over a pinball machine by a Hells Angel lookalike, holds a gun to her head while wearing an Indian headdress, and eventually becomes the queen of a biker gang.
Some Notes Toward A Review Of Lana Del Rey’s Paradise EP 1. “I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear—” (Whitman) 2. Eleven months later: a year populated with evasive identities (Dean Blunt/Inga Copeland) and split personalities (Dominick Fernow) and aural plastic surgeries (vaporwave). A year that drains questions regarding authenticity — of the biography, the body, the song, the voice — of all their apparent critical content.
Even after selling nearly three million copies of her debut album worldwide, Lana Del Rey still faced a challenge during 2012: namely, proving to critics and fans that Born to Die wasn't a fluke. In that spirit, she released Paradise, a mini-album close to Christmas, one that finds her copying nearly wholesale the look and feel of her vampish Born to Die personality. The sound is also very familiar.
Lana Del Rey’s new EP, Paradise, serves as a closing bookend on a year that was kicked off by the singer’s previous EP, which had a paired but opposite function. Lana Del Rey served as an introduction to the sleepy-voiced singer, assembling some of the strongest songs from Born to Die. Paradise is longer, but less essential, more a summary of her persona than an attempt at developing it.