Review: Lana Del Rey’s “Paradise” doesn’t disappoint, doesn’t blow us away

Ryan Morris

Editor’s note: The following reflects the opinions of the author.

Critics and fans alike are confused by Lana Del Rey.

After last year’s release of “Video Games” it was clear she has a beautiful voice and could be the best torch singer of this generation, but she also begins one of her new songs with the line “My p—y tastes like Pepsi Cola.”

It’s that almost laughable lack of cohesion that runs Del Rey’s most recent release “Paradise.” The follow-up to last year’s “Born to Die” was released both as a standalone EP (“Paradise”) and as a re-release of her first full-length album (“Born To Die: The Paradise Edition”).

Two of the tracks off of “Paradise” were released early:  the opening track “Ride” and her cover of the 1950s song “Blue Velvet.”

“Ride” was released Sept. 25 with a cinematic 10-minute music video in which she wears a Native American headdress and hangs out at truck stops with questionable looking men.  But somehow it works, and the video is very good.

“Blue Velvet” was recorded for an H&M ad in a video that looks like it borrowed the set of Mad Men, yet also works just as well.  This is the genre that her voice was clearly trained for and it is one of the most vocally beautiful tracks on the album.

In addition to “Ride” and “Blue Velvet,”  “Yayo” is the obvious choices for the standout track on “Paradise.” “Yayo” might actually be the most interesting song Del Rey has ever recorded.  It sounds sort of like a torchy Portishead and solidifies her move away from the Lizzy Grant era of radio-dance music.

However, on other tracks Del Rey’s silky and haunting voice allows her to get away with lyrics that are crass, even trashy.

The way she sings “I was an angel looking to get f—ed hard” in her cinematic, dramatic voice on “Gods & Monsters” sounds like it could be some kind of veiled statement about sexuality and death, but it probably isn’t.

The flaws of “Paradise” are the same as the flaws of “Born to Die” – excessive use of clichés in the effort to sing about her alcohol issues, parent problems and love of all things Americana. The major consensus for “Paradise” is that it isn’t going to gain Del Rey any new fans, but it isn’t going to alienate any of her old ones either.

Rating: Three out of four stars.

Story: EMMA SPECKMAN, Senior A&E Reporter