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CD review: Lana Del Rey

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The Details

Lana Del Rey
Born to Die
Three stars

For all the media criticism 25-year-old Lana Del Rey has endured in recent months—from a flop performance on Saturday Night Live to her (allegedly) cosmetically enhanced lips—her major-label debut, judged on its own accord, deserves pause. The girl may be in need of some live coaching, but her rich, sultry voice is undeniably a force to be reckoned with. In fact, Del Rey’s problem might not be her purported lack of talent, but that she has too much of it. Her vocal range is so fluid and dynamic that, at times, it begs to be reigned in.

It’s at its best when standing out over the minimalist production of singles “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans,” but blurs amid the shinier pop of “National Anthem.” Compounded with weathered-woman lyrics, which are increasingly close-to-home if not cliché, Born to Die situates Del Rey at neither end of the hype spectrum, but rather, as a work in progress—one that, if allowed a chance, actually shows great promise.

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