Summary

Lana Del Rey is a femme fatale with a smoky voice, a languorous image, and a modeling contract. Not coincidentally, she didn't lack for attention leading up to the release of her Interscope debut, Born to Die. The hype began in mid-2011 with a stunning song and video for "Video Games," and it kept on rising, right up to her January 2012 performance on Saturday Night Live (making her the first artist since Natalie Imbruglia in 1998 to perform on SNL without an album available). Although it's easy to see why Del Rey got her contract, it's also easy to hear: her songwriting skills and her bewitching voice. "Video Games" is a beautiful song, calling to mind Fiona Apple to Anna Calvi as she recounts another variation on the age-old trope of female-as-sex-object. Her vacant, tired reading of the song rescues it from any hint of exploitation, making it a winner. ~ John Bush