Lana Del Rey – Lana Del Rey a.k.a. Lizzy Grant

January 30, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Posted in Lana Del Rey | 7 Comments
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  1. Kill Kill
  2. Queen Of The Gas Station
  3. Oh Say Can You See
  4. Gramma (Blue Ribbon Sparkler Trailer Heaven)
  5. For K Part 2
  6. Jump
  7. Mermaid Motel
  8. Raise Me Up (Mississippi South)
  9. Pawn Shop Blues
  10. Brite Lites
  11. Put Me In A Movie
  12. Smarty
  13. Yayo

Before Lana Del Rey became a huge internet sensation, she released her self-titled album, Lana Del Rey a.k.a. Lizzy Grant, in 2010. However, it was removed for purchase shortly after due to new management. The record was first put under her real name Lizzy Grant but later she wanted to use the name she created, Lana Del Ray. It received a third and final name change from Ray to Rey. According to her first label, Lana wanted to take the record off of the market but she has stated the reason it was taken down was because they didn’t have money to fund it. After hearing all the hype about her and only hearing a few of her new songs, I decided to cave in and see what all the big fuss was about. I discovered she had released this album and used it as a starting point for her music. Her voice ranges from deep to high tones which she shows off quite frequently throughout the tracks. This isn’t the type of music I usually like but as I started to listen to it, I became more entranced by Lana Del Rey. Her music is gorgeous but there’s such an eerie ambience that flows through, making it unlike anything I’ve heard before.

The soft, creeping piano of Kill Kill sets the mood for the entire album. Her rich, lifeless voice flutters along the somber melody, shrouding it in a deadly air, “bound up the stairs/I’m in the shower/do you know I am going to leave you?” The verses are haunting, taking you to a very unsettling place but then the lounge guitars and drums are added while the piano livens up for the chorus. “I’m in love with a dying man/I’m in love with a dying man/I’m in love, lying in the sand,” she coos tragically and it’s so atmospheric. Despite having a livelier arrangement, it’s deadlier than the barren verses. I was struck by the hook instantly because of how otherworldly it sounds. Her deep voice lacks emotion but it evokes such a strong feeling. The heavier arrangement continues in the second verse where she plays with her vocals, using a higher register. The bridge is insanely creepy as she whispers with her high vocals backing her up, “want to/make it fun/don’t trust/anyone.” The dark elements are contagious and it’s very beautiful. The song is a good starting point for her music and an excellent opener because it represents the album well. Queen Of The Gas Station has a light rock composition with the taste of the countryside. There’s a very old school, roadtrip-esque atmosphere that comes out of the melody as well as her intonation as she speaks in the verses, “give me coffee, king-sized cup/come on, kitty cat, fill her up/what’s your name, little buttercup?/that’s for me to know and you to make up.” I really like the lazy feel of the verses and her slurring vocals are quite sexy. The chorus isn’t very strong or catchy but it does have some redeeming qualities like the drums which take precedence in the melody and her high register. However, the most memorable section is the bridge where she speaks softly until she repeats “again” over and over, each time increasing the pitch of her voice. This isn’t the best the album has to offer but it’s one of the few up-tempos so it has a special place on the album.

Oh Say Can You See follows in the footsteps of the opening track with its somber feel but the composition is much more extravagant. A piano, guitar and string melody carries the entire track. It’s stunning beyond belief and her vocals loom over the melody, becoming the focal point of the song. The song is comprised of three gorgeous stanzas with subtle changes vocally and instrumentally. I love the second stanza because of the way her voice heightens as she sings “the voice of Nirvana says ‘come as you are’/and I will/the night time is almost ours.” The final stanza is the only one to get a change in the instrumental and it picks up ever so slightly due to the drumline. This is such a soothing track and it just carries you along with it so effortlessly. Everything about this song is raw and organic, a true beauty. Gramma (Blue Ribbon Sparkler Trailer Heaven) is a delicious mid-tempo and one of the catchiest cuts on the record. The instrumental is mesmerizing. Opening to the sound of swooping strings and synthesizers, it quickly moves to include drums, twinkling beats and an accordion. The verses are led by quirky percussion and synths as Lana, once again, sing-talks, “A.M.E.R.I.C.A./all I want to do is play/see the city every day/pretty party nation.” I really enjoy the light, high tone of her voice in the verses and how she switches to a different register in the chorus which is the highlight. The hook is so simple but it’s flawless, “gramma said she’ll leave the lights on for me/gramma said the flags are waving for me/gramma said that somewhere out there there’s a good man, waiting for me.” It’s the most addicting chorus on the album and the repetition just ingrains it into your mind. The bridge is a pure delight and I adore it so much. It’s a dialogue between her and the “gramma” with her using a different vocal tone for each speaker. It’s really interesting and the song finishes as her voice becomes distorted into the background.

Up next is, For K Part 2, a marvelous song wrapped up in an exotic sound. This composition utilizes a flute and its call is subtle but it’s where the exotic flavour comes from. The rest consists of a heavy drum and guitar beat with Lana offering a subdued performance. Her relaxed vocals are a little too creepy, especially since this is quite a romantic song, “I like the way you wear your sweater off your shoulder/the way your hair comes down and makes you look older/how are you getting so handsome, my boy?” Her cry of relief midway in is stunning because of how tired yet invigorating it sounds. Even though it doesn’t change vocally or musically, there’s a mystical quality to it that keeps you interested. Jump brings a new sound to the album with its fresh summer flavour. Lana’s vocals are much livelier than they have been so far and her high register is used quite frequently. This is straightforward pop with synths, clapping drums and sweet, sugary vocals. The chorus is lacking any real depth because it’s the same line repeated but it’s actually really addicting. The synths gain a greater focus and they switch to a lighter tone that blends deliciously with her girly vocals. I love her voice in the last portion where she increases her range to a childish tone and sings with a sense of urgency. It brings a little more energy to the song. While I’m not crazy about it, I love the sound that it brings to the record and it’s pretty much the only happy, carefree tune.

The album wastes no time returning to its dark side and Mermaid Motel is, by far, the most twisted she gets. A low hum from Lana sets in motion the slow, foreboding and haunting melody which is made up of intense percussion beats. They’re so sporadic and it just emphasizes their dark nature more. The verses find her speaking in a calm and horrifying manner that is laced with a sexual charm, “buy my purple wig/for my mermaid video/walk back to where we live/in a motel/I’ll never tell, never knew.” Her voice sweetens during the chorus and a set of strings joins the moody percussion, mellowing it out just a bit. The chorus still carries a dark atmosphere. It’s just not as pronounced because of the way she sings during it but the sexual undertones are emphasized more, “you call me lavender, you call me sunshine/you say take it off, take it off.” It’s all very intense and there’s nothing really catchy about it but it’s one of my favourite tracks. Raise Me Up (Mississippi South) is all sorts of bizarre. What begins with an echoing call from the singer and a majestic guitar riff quickly turns into a gritty affair of guitars and drums. The invasive instrumental is engaging and I love how her vocals are the complete opposite. Her murmuring is powerless against the melody but she invokes a demonic feel to it. There are moments where she sings with more power and the second verse has her sounding maniacal, desperate even. “Ray, ray, ray/raise me up,” she croons in the chorus, a simple yet haunting little hook accented by the guitar licks. Her aggressive tone in the bridge is amazing, especially the way her voice becomes more and more intense as she continues singing. The final chorus gets a massive boost because she performs it in the desperate vocal tone from the second verse and it adds a whole different vibe to it. It’s so much darker and dramatic.

Pawn Shop Blues is a splendid ballad that has Lana exploring the deeper timbre of her voice. The song is a stunner with its sad-tinged acoustic guitar and I can’t get enough of her voice. The deep pitch to it is so amazing and she opens up, showing her vulnerability, “well, I didn’t know it would come to this/but that’s what happens when you’re on your own/and you’re alright letting nice things go.” What makes this even better is her vocalizing at the end of two of the stanzas where her voice gradually crescendos into a beautiful sigh. The added strings and harmonica at the end are a nice surprise and a fantastic addition, elevating the song’s beauty. Strange foreign vocalizing and a pounding beat act as the introduction to Brite Lites. With occasional screeches from the synths, she performs in the speaking style that she uses in many of the songs. “I look for you in magazines,” she repeats thrice before she confesses, “I’m taking off my wedding ring” The pre-chorus gets a dose of strings while a guitar is thrown into the mix for the chorus. This song is extremely repetitive but it’s very effective in keeping your attention and it’s more active than the other dark tunes. The shift in the bridge is unexpected and it gets overtaken by a set of eerie, wailing synths. It’s short-lived but it’s a nice change of pace nonetheless. This is a weird little track that sticks to you.

Put Me In A Movie is my favourite track and it’s unbelievable. Lana speaks to a topic that many artists have voiced an opinion on, men taking advantage of women who try to make it in the industry, but I’ve never heard one quite like this, “lights, camera, axiom/you know I can’t make it on my own.” A constant drumline leads the song, accompanied by dashes of twinkles and guitar chords. The verses consist of the same line repeated three times and each time the music and vocals get louder. She performs in her high register for the verses and takes on a childish persona in the chorus which is where the song becomes uncomfortable. This isn’t like other songs that deal with the subject because it has a very pedophilic atmosphere, “come on, you know you like little girls/you can be my daddy” It brings such a horrifying element to the track but the fact that she’s singing with childish naivety makes it tragic. The song is executed perfectly and I love how she conveys this message in a way that not many singers have done. It’s a unique twist to an overused topic that makes it fresh. The change in lyrics at the end where she adds the title to the chorus wraps it up nicely, “put me in a movie/you can be my daddy.” Smarty is the shortest song on the record but it’s a standout. She speaks through the entire track in an intoxicating deep voice, occasionally dipping into her high register, supported by a kooky blend of guitars, drums, piano and synths. The composition is mellow but it packs a punch due to the heaviness of the instruments. Her deep tone matches that heaviness well. The chorus is where it gets addicting because a gritty, buzzing synth line takes over with Lana speaking sexually to it, “who has the face like smarty does?/who has the voice like smarty does?/who has the choice like smarty does?/nobody, nobody.” Her backing vocals push the dark, sexual nature out and make it stronger. It’s a cool song to chill out to and it has the edge to keep your attention locked on it.

Lana concludes the album with Yayo, the most beautiful track on it. This ballad is raw to the core and the composition is stripped to just bare acoustics. It’s chilling, haunting, dark and serene all at the same time. Her voice is magnificent. Her luscious, deep tone is remarkable and the way she delves into her high register brings a delicious contrast to the song, “put me onto your black motorcycle/fifty baby dollar dress for my “I do”/it’ll only take two hours to Nevada/I wear your sparkle, you call me your mama.” Her voice is so controlled and despite sounding fragile, is full of power and emotion. This is the longest song on the album but it never once feels like it drags. Her voice is more than enough to keep you interested but the instrumental is just as gorgeous. It opens up into an elegant blend of guitars, piano and strings. It’s so magical and there are so many moments that leave me in awe. Moreover, there’s a sexual undertone to her voice that just makes it so much better, “let me put on a show for you, daddy/let me put on a show.” The way she stretches out the notes is amazing and one of the highlights. This song does a spectacular job showcasing the depth of her voice and what a unique vocalist she is.

Conclusion: Lana Del Rey a.k.a. Lizzy Grant is a grim and beautiful album that brings the listener to a world that is hardly explored nowadays. The vintage atmosphere, dark compositions and vocals make this such a special experience. I’ve never listened to an artist like Lana before. She’s one of a kind and she continuously shows that in every song. Her writing is distinct and poignant while her themes are tragically romantic and disturbing. I’ve never been fond of this type of music but she has won me over so easily. Even though it lacks refinement, it brings out a quality that is enticing. It works with the sound she’s going for and really captures an indie feel. There’s been a lot of debate surrounding her but after listening to this album, there’s more to her than what people are saying. Lana is a remarkable singer with a style and sound that is a breath of fresh air in today’s industry.

Recommended Tracks: Put Me In A Movie, Yayo, Kill Kill, Mermaid Motel, Gramma (Blue Ribbon Sparkler Trailer Heaven), Smarty, Raise Me Up (Mississippi South) and Pawn Shop Blues

Rating


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7 Comments »

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  1. awesome review! I just can’t seem to get into her. I have to review her new album for my school newspaper and I’m having the hardest time just getting through one song. I think her style is a bit too eclectic for my taste.

    • Thanks! I’m so obsessed with her right now. I understand why you would have a hard time getting into her music because it is very different. This isn’t the type of music I normally listen to but I can’t stop playing her albums. She’s been on repeat all week! I’d love to read your review when you finish it.

  2. […] … chaoticdusk.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/lana-del-rey-lana-del-rey-a-k-a-lizzy-grant – besuchen Lana Del Rey — Lana Del Rey — Entdecke neue Musik bei Last.fm Essa tag é […]

  3. great review

  4. Do you have any idea where I could find this album to buy/download? I’m a huge Lana fan and I’ve been dying to get this one.

    • There’s a few links for it on 4shared 🙂


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