Del Ray's new mini-album falls short of paradise

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves: We are apparently in the midst of Lana del Rey’s comeback. After an abysmal performance on Saturday Night Live last January and a disappointing debut album, the polarizing songwriter has slowly been building steam with low-key gigs and several modeling campaigns. With the release of “Born to Die: The Paradise Edition,” del Rey presents fans with eight new tracks pulled from her old bag of tricks.

Much like the songs from “Born to Die,” the new tracks on “The Paradise Edition” feature the slow tempo and drawling vocals that have become the essence of del Rey’s music. However, these droning melodies soon become tiresome, and all the songs sound too similar to stand out from one another. In addition to the plethora of clichés and references that constitute the singer’s lyrical verses, del Rey has given her poor-little-girl persona a new twist by adding a variety of hackneyed American iconography. “Cola” begins rather explicitly, comparing specific body parts to Pepsi and cherry pie, and then goes on to say, “I pledge allegiance to my dad for teaching me everything he k

nows.”

The tracks are also sprinkled with unabashed references to Elvis and Marilyn Monroe that will surely speak to del Rey’s legions of teenaged fans who pride themselves on their trips to thrift stores and obsession with “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

“The Paradise Edition” marks del Rey’s progress as a singer but does not demonstrate much development in any other categories. Her cover of “Blue Velvet” proves that she is not without talent, but as the rest of the album demonstrates, that talent just doesn’t happen to include songwriting. She seems to believe that her success and popularity are derived entirely from the constructed image of a lost, vulnerable girl who speaks in clichés while using every possible opportunity to remind viewers of her alternative lifestyle. The new songs have a decidedly more ’60s dream-pop feel and are aesthetically stunning, but del Rey is in for a rude awakening if she thinks her career will survive on aesthetics alone.

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Nov. 8 print edition. Alexandria Ethridge is a staff writer. Email her at music@nyunews.com.

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