Friday, January 18, 2013

Best Albums of 2012: Born to Die

Best Albums of 2012

Song: Off to the Races
Artist: Lana Del Rey
Album: Born to Die

Anyone following this blog all year should not be surprised by this.  If Azaelia was the second most interesting persona of the year, Ms. Lana Del Rey was an easy #1.  Unfairly written off my America due to an admittedly mediocre intro on SNL, Lana's debut "Born to Die" was a clear, miles-above-the-rest winner for album of the year for me.  An exciting mix of old school Hollywood glamour, light/dark Americana, and string-laden downtempo hip-hop, "Born to Die" and Lana, thrilled me in a way no album/artist did this past year.

First there was "Video Games," a haunting yet tongue-in-cheek freak-out of a song, putting Lana on the map.

SO good it prompted this cover, and even a "Hunger Games" inspired parody.

There was a string of great singles and videos from the record, which was a bit same-y sounding, but gave it a cohesiveness that created a real moment.  I liked the record, but was really helped with some of the excellent remixes that came with the singles.  They put the songs in a different context, and made me actually like the originals, and album, more.

The top remix still goes to Fred Falke's killer take on "National Anthem" which was one of my most played song of he year.  Hear more of the great remixes here.

My obsession with Lana is best noted from my September post when "Ride" was released as a single.

That was for the re-release of "Born to Die" which featured an EP of new songs that thematically worked within the concept of the character/album, but also was a slight departure in sound, slowing things down, adding more strings, and losing the hip-hop beats.  While the album had already won me over enough that I knew it was one of my top albums of the year, the "Paradise Edition" shot it straight to #1, and the "Ride" video proved that Lana really had something special going on, and could have another career as a legit actress.

The sheer breadth of material we got from Lana this year was overwhelming, I still have leaked tracks I haven't yet listened to, nor had the chance to really sink my teeth into her scrapped debut, or that folky early album under her birth name, and on and on.  I fell in love with Lana Del Rey in 2012, straight up.

Despite loving the "Paradise Edition" EP in its entirety, I'm highlighting the overlooked classic on "Born," the amazing "Off to the Races," which many fans can't believe was never made a single.  It's great... but hey, so was "Radio."  (the album is that good)

Take a listen to the entire album, including EP as well as a couple of those great remixes here:

Can't wait to see what this girl does next.


Off to the Races

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