It is probably safe to say everyone knows “Video Games”, which has been on YouTube for 8 months now!
For the most part “Video Games” gives a good feel to the entire album. That definitely does not mean every song sounds the same, just fairly similar, in that they have many of the same instrumentation on all tracks (strings, guitar, keys, etc.) but different arrangements, the tempo is quite slow, most songs are in minor keys, her delivery is fairly straight forward, and her voice is fairly low (getting as high as G5 in “Off to the Races”).
“Video Games” clocks in at a mere 61 beats per minute, perhaps one of the slower more popular songs in the last while (“Blue Jeans” is 60 BPM)! And most songs clock in well under 100 BPM. “Summertime Sadness” clocks in at 125 BPM, thanks to a marching snare (“Are sizzlin’ like a snare” is in the lyrics too!) beat during the verses which are otherwise slow. The chorus does pick up a tad.
Similar to my last review, Lana Del Rey is the main songwriter, and has a single additional songwriter on most tracks, but three few with two (excluding the special edition bonus tracks). Songwriting is interesting in that the chorus repetitions are always the same. And in many cases she practically is telling a story. I also believe Lana has not had to worry about money, as she was the child of a domain investor, so he/they likely had some coin! With that said, I get the feeling despite many indie kids enjoying Lana’s music, that rich people will enjoy listening to it. In “Off to the Races”, she says: “you sit sipping on your black Crystal, yeah”, and “National Anthem” has her saying “money is the anthem of success” and “money is the reason we exist”, among a couple of other such references. By contrast she also uses: “Pabst Blue Ribbon on ice” in “This Is What Makes Us Girls”!
“Radio” is one of the songs in a major key (perhaps the only one?) as she is basically bragging about being played on the radio (“Baby, love me ’cause I’m playing on the radio. How do you like me now?). On a side note, in “Radio”, she pronounces ‘vitamin’ the British way (vit-a-min as opposed to the North American vite-a-min), probably as the British way rhymes better with ‘cinnamon’.
The deluxe edition has three bonus tracks, “Without You”, “Lolita”, and “Lucky Ones”. With these three bonus tracks, it brings the album up to just under 61 minutes, which is fairly lengthy, and I did feel the last few tracks were a little weaker, but for the most part are a welcome edition, especially if listening to the album in two sittings, or the second half of the album first.
Shoegaze 2.0? I have to say, I like Lana’s almost retro style delivery/voice, and welcome her uniqueness in a sea of sames.