I hadn't heard Born to Die until a couple weeks before this came out, so I can't really speak to her past albums or trajectory as an artist. But the reason I like the new one way more than Born to Die is because of how restrained it feels. Born to Die has great hooks but it also has a lot of orchestral flourishes that sometimes do more harm than good. NFR has a dream pop vibe despite never really going into dream pop territory musically, and it's an album that totally relaxes me. I also think the sprawling, laid back instrumentation fits her voice much better. Born to Die has a nice dichotomy between her jaded, sometimes lazy (in a good way) vocals, but hearing them over music that is similarly restrained really helps to sell them. I also tend to think her vocals are really great despite them sounding kind of effortless; the closer is a tremendous vocal performance and her Leonard Cohen impression of "I'm your man" on Mariner's Apartment Complex is one of my favorite parts of the album.
I wouldn't really call this one more arty, whatever that means. I think there's more going on but I get the same overall vibe I get from Born to Die, just done better. And while I suppose there are fewer hooks, the hooks on The Next Best American Record, Bartender, and the closer always have me singing along. A lot of the other tracks have nice subtle hooks that blend together with the verses and kind of surprise you. I also think this one is more focused and nuanced lyrically, and the lyrical themes fit well for the current social climate. But that's not something I picked up on during my first listen.
FWIW this is my favorite album of the year, it really surprised me and I'm still finding things about it that I love on every listen. _________________ And it's hard to be a human being. And it's harder as anything else.
I finally listened to this. Going to give it a second try before fully passing judgment, but as of now my bewilderment is not too far off the thread title.
It's very good as I expected, but what really mystifies me is why everyone is talking about this as a quantum leap from her earlier work??? I don't see much of a difference in quality between Born To Die / Paradise and this. I guess I can see how it's more appealing to people who want something that sounds more 'arty' and has fewer catchy hooks. And that's a fairly prevalent view in online music communities. Fwiw I skipped Ultraviolence, Honeymoon, and Lust For Life. For those who have heard those, does this album have extra appeal as a comeback record of sorts?
I suppose in some way it does, but my stance has always been pretty warm for Lana. She had a solid debut which she followed with one of my favorite albums of 2014. Her follow-ups haven’t really lived up to the consistency of Ultraviolence. As I’ve grown older I’ve divorced myself from rapid fanbases, so I kind of take music as it is without any “hype” or “community acclaim” influencing my opinions. This is not to say there isn’t an appeal to come back with a good album after two lukewarm ones, but I think we’re overplaying things here. _________________ “Gowi is the most arrogant and consistent fixture of BEA’s forums.”
I personally love born to die, and I have liked a handful of other Lana songs since that album. Until NFR I thought that Lana wasn't going to make another great album. This album definitely proved me wrong. So yeah, to me it is proof that she is a legit artist and it is not some kind of fluke.
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