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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Paradise Loses

“Paradise,” the new EP from Lana Del Rey, was a unique experience. I’ve never lost interest in something so quickly.

Del Rey, who previously released her debut album Born to Die last January, has returned with eight new songs. It just so happens that most of these songs are dull.
This criticism does not apply to “Ride,” the EP’s opening track, produced by Rick Rubin and co-written by Justin Parker, who also co-wrote Del Rey’s smash hit “Video Games.” This is Del Rey’s best track yet, with great vocals and production.
It is also the first track on the EP. It becomes less interesting from there.
The only other highlight is a cover of “Blue Velvet,” which, when combined with the music video, serves as a summary of Del Rey’s artistic merit. The video, inspired by David Lynch, depicts smoldering suburban sexual tension in a ’50s/’60s environment.
The rest of the EP is really bland. A major problem is that all of the songs sound the same, with Del Rey cooing breathily about drugs, dudes and diamonds over pianos and strings, set to a downtempo beat.
The EP is more repetitive lyrically than musically. While many of the songs are about love, they’re presented in really boring and shallow ways.

For example, on “Yayo,” the object of Del Rey’s desires has a snake tattoo, a black motorcycle and likes to call her his mama. That’s all. Yet somehow, she loves him to the point where she needs him “like a baby when I hold you.”

When I listened to “Born to Die,” I found that Del Rey had a lot of promise. She had flaws: her shallowness and her lack of awareness about this stood out to me.

However, on “Paradise,” she hasn’t addressed these at all. It’s just an expansion pack to “Born to Die” with darker lyrical content and nothing else new. The most creative thing about the EP is the title, because this is anything but.

JOHN KESLER can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

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