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Soundbites: ‘Paradise’ listening

5 December 2012 By Bobbi Trimble, Staff Writer No Comments
Lana Del Rey releases new EP

What do you do when you’re feeling blue, you’re in the middle of finals week and all you want to do is sit back in a beach chair and smoke cigarettes?

If I weren’t laughably far away from becoming a doctor, I’d know just what to prescribe.

Listen to “Paradise,” the new EP by Lana Del Rey, twice a day, at least once with a glass of wine.

While it’s not the sharpest collection of songs, it’s a charming remedy for those moments when you’d rather daydream of summertime in the ‘60s instead of writing that 10-page paper.

Lana has ignited the spotlight from the moment she reached critical acclaim.

She brought a cool sense of nostalgia to her listeners, singing of old times in smoky bars and the raptures of dark love.

This sentimentality sticks with her on her new release, but it’s captured with less finesse and more vulgarity.

“Paradise” came out as a seven-song bonus on the “Born to Die: Paradise Edition” re-issue of her previous album. Both albums feature a straight shot of her on the covers, but instead of sporting bright red lips and a hairstyle straight out of “Mad Men,” Lana stands with long, flowing hair looking bronzed before a sea of palm trees. Simply looking at the cover might make you pack your bags and head west.

Appearances aside, the first song and single “Ride” is perhaps the album’s most stand-out track. Lana’s vocal range is made into a show that satisfies, although the song is poppy overall. “American” continues in a breezy fashion, paying homage to Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Presley in her typical vintage manner.

“Body Electric” has its appeal drowned out by infantile lyrics that aren’t impressive.

She continues her tired trend of dropping iconic names and ultimately doesn’t present anything special here.

The album’s most defining track would have to be “Gods and Monsters,” a showcase of dramatic rhythm and stunning vocals which easily sums up Lana and her career with one line, “Life imitates art.”

The song “Yayo,” which has been featured on two of her older records, was re-mastered and now shines as the EP’s second-to-last track, one of the few she wrote exclusively by herself.

“Bel Air” begins with delicate piano and closes the record on an ethereal note, with Lana’s ringing voice rising high into the clouds.

Its tender charm ends “Paradise” on a good note, unless it made you fall into a deep, dreamy sleep.

Some spots of this record exhibit Lana’s full potential as a pop musician, while other times she just can’t be taken seriously.

Her voice is often belittled by lyrics that are a bust, while other times uplifted by a precise melody that can’t be dismissed.

Still, her sultry vocals are undeniable, and some would say that if it weren’t for that, the amateur sweetness of the songs themselves wouldn’t be worth it.

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