Lana Del Rey is shrouded in mystery and controversy. Even with backing by a major record label, the public criticizes as much as reveres work from this seemingly unknown artist. Some allege that her coy and shy nature is a gimmick, recounting her recent performance on Saturday Night Live. Whether people love or hate her, all eyes are on her debut album, Born to Die.

Born to Die sounds less like an album than it does a soundtrack to a great American tragedy. It has relatively dark and spacey beats filled with Lana’s one-of-a-kind soulful voice, beautifully complimented by both titanic shifts in her singing style (from soulful crooner to unsettlingly childish canter), the placement of properly unnerving samples, and the grandiose string arrangements (as heard at the beginning of the title track), Del Rey’s debut is as powerful as it is haunting. The track “Video Games” is a prime example of her vocal talents, with her voice painting an elaborate funeral march sprinkled intricately with underlying traces of psychosis.

The songwriting in the album is equally untouchable, with vivid descriptions of love and heartache complimented with modern references that aren’t just placed for the sake of it. Almost any line from any song can be used as an example of how good the lyrics are in the album. They’re tragic, often dark and intricately demented at times, creating a properly emotional and dark work with the help of fantastic instrumentals.

Born to Die by Lana Del Rey is one of the most anticipated albums of 2012, and at no point in the album does it disappoint. For anyone that doesn’t believe the hype, or isn’t a fan of Lana due to reasons outside of her music, this album is worth at least one good listen. For any fans excited about the album, Born to Die does not disappoint, and could very well be one of the most standout debuts of 2012.

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