Listen before you leap: The eight new tracks recorded for Lana Del Rey’s Born to Die: Paradise November re-release have hit the web in a tidy album sampler of minute-and-a-half-long previews. Like what we’ve heard already in “Ride,” “Body Electric,” and “Blue Velvet,” this latest batch distills the original album’s successes into same-sounding songs that, for the most part, put the singer in her lower registers for haunting, downtempo ballads.
That’s not a bad thing. The high-pitched baby talk and white girl rapping have been replaced by sturm und drang atmosphere, Lana’s voice vibrating oboe-like as she sings, for example, on “Gods and Monsters”: “I was an angel looking to get fucked hard / like a groupie incognito posing as a real singer / life imitates art.” On “Bel Air,” the vocal spins like a jewelry box ballerina beneath a tinkling waltz that calls to mind Figure 8‘s closer “Bye.” If the Elliott Smith comparison is too much to bear, rest assured there are things to criticize, such as her aimless near-yodel on the otherwise lovely “Yayo.” Lyrically, she hasn’t grown up, but the love-starved Lolita mantle is one she’s proud to wear — and, frankly, one that still suits her.
Lana Del Rey’s Born to Die: Paradise is out November 13 via Interscope.