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Music Reviews: Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey – Born to Die
Originally a YouTube discovery, Lana Del Rey gained a lot of notoriety very quickly following a Saturday Night Live performance and numerous national music spotlights. Her stint on SNL was considered one of the worst performances in the show’s history, and Born to Die is only slightly better.
The popular single “Video Games” and “Dark Paradise” are haunting and beautiful. “Million Dollar Baby” is a sly nod to Adele and Etta James. Although the orchestra-based backtracks are cool and the songs themselves are relatively well written, Born to Die is bland and repetitive. There is no expression in Del Rey’s voice, each song sounding like the last. Many songs are just plain aggravating, like the weird faux rap in “National Anthem,” the squeaky beginning vocals of “Diet Mountain Dew,” and the strange whining on “Lolita.”
If you’re looking for an indie record with character and expression, check out Ani Difranco’s Which Side Are You On? or Ingrid Michaelson’s Human Again. Don’t buy into the overexposed hype of Lana Del Rey.
Tracks to Download: “Video Games,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “Dark Paradise” Grade: C

Kellie Pickler – 100 Proof
Kellie Pickler originally made a name for herself as the dumb blonde of American Idol’s fifth season and Taylor Swift’s opening act on the Fearless tour. Her previous albums have been humorous and sentimental in a country style her younger fan base enjoys.
100 Proof is Pickler’s most emotional album yet, and it demonstrates development as an artist. “Where’s Tammy Wynette” has the humor element common on Pickler’s previous records. “100 Proof” is a sweet-sounding country ballad with a unique twist, while “Tough” is more Miranda Lambert than Taylor Swift. However, the true gems on the album are the acoustic, personal tracks that make 100 Proof more than just another country album. “Mother’s Day” and “The Letter (To Daddy)” are dedicated to Pickler’s troubled childhood—a mother she never knew and an alcoholic father who spent time in jail. These tracks are the best songs on the album and really make her third album stand out.
Kellie Pickler gained fame because of a young fan base, and with 100 Proof, Picker proves she’s growing up with them.
Tracks to Download: “Mother’s Day,” “The Letter (To Daddy)” Grade: B+

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