Sunday, February 5, 2012

Album Cover Review: Lana Del Rey – Born To Die [Deluxe Edition] (2012)

With the proliferation of images and clips of New York-born songstress Lana Del Rey over the web, the cover of her debut album, ‘Born To Die’ stands as one of the most highly anticipated album covers of the year. With that in mind, the cover itself seems a bit understated. Our artist merely stands looking front-on at the camera, in a way that is somewhat reminiscent of Andrew WK’s classic album cover to ‘I Get Wet’ (minus the blood on the face), her spaghetti-strap dress having been traded for a demure blouse. The expression on her face, depending on how you want to interpret it (and probably depending on what you think of her music) is either weary, defiant, vacant or inviting trouble, possibly all at once. In the background is a nondescript wooden barrier, possibly from some back or front yard somewhere in Hollywood, though perhaps it’s just the blue sky, excerpts from old movies, Lana’s ‘Hollywood’ t-shirt in previous press photos, and that whole ‘gangster Nancy Sinatra’ thing that has imprinted that idea in the brain.

But when you open up to the centre gatefold … hello! It’s the pout and head tilt that launched millions of YouTube clicks. Paragraphs could (and have) been written about those overflowing lips; in this case they are daring you in to listen to her smoulder, tease, and roll her eyes at you. We’re still no clearer as to what that nondescript wooden barrier is. Maybe behind it is a spa and champagne, and a party to rival those in ‘Boogie Nights’ or ‘Anchorman’. Maybe there isn’t, and it’s just the two of you. These are the ambiguities that modelling contracts are made of.

Tucked away in the back flap of the packaging is a thin, pink case with a disc inside. Give it a spin – it has the great torch song for the millennium ‘Video Games’, as well as a semi-anthemic title track, and a nice track called ‘National Anthem’ which is about as close to the ‘gangster Nancy Sinatra’ concept that she’s managed to this point. As for the rest, well, sometimes it’s best not to look behind those nondescript barriers.

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