“Born to Die” keeps on living

Ally Schell

This article is dedicated to the celebration of Lana Del Rey’s album Born to Die and its sixth year of being in the arms of fans.

Being a huge fan of Lana Del Rey, this article about her is long overdue. Lana Del Rey, Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, has been known for her soft tones and deep lyrics throughout the years. She began her humble beginning in New York and now lives in Los Angeles - claiming to fans that she lives under the ‘H’ of the Hollywood sign.

Her career started with a music video for “Video Games” and just overnight, she was a hit! The anticipation of Lana from her fans was tremendous and she delivered with her debut album Born to Die that became number two on the United States charts and number five for one of 2012's best sellers. To conclude, Lana Del Rey clearly started with a bang and even today this album has yet to fizzle out.

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With violins playing a melancholy tune, you hear Lana begin her first song called “Born to Die”.  With most of her songs on this album, it is mainly based on heartbreak and love and the fuzzy in between. With this song it is nothing short of this, however it more of a self-realization. “Sometimes love is not enough and the road gets tough, I don’t know why”, is when she comes to see that this love she has for him isn’t going to work out. But before that she says “don’t make me sad, don’t make me cry” because she doesn’t want to think about it ending. Of course, this song is less about an actual breakup and more of the overarching problem that eventually they will die and that love will go with it. She wants it to last a lifetime but alas “we were born to die”.

Next, we have “Off to the Races”. In the track, she mentions "light of my life, fire of my loins", which could be a reference to the infamous book Lolita. It is also rumored that one of her tattoos is a reference to the novel's author. Lolita is written from a male perspective on his true love, who happens to be named Lolita. Although they are an unfit couple, he is intoxicated with her love. Lana states, “My old man is a bad man. But I can't deny the way he holds my hand,” which can be another mention to Lolita because the author is much older than the girl he loves and it he known to be bad due to this and many of his thoughts. As you can see there are many rumors circulated around this song and its connection to the book Lolita. It’s about forbidden love, its connection, and maybe even the thrill that the couple gets from this.

Ah young love, such a powerful substance. Lana captures this in her song “Video Games”.  She compliments him, by giving him everything she has “Its you, its you, its all for you. Everything I do”.  She puts her perfume on and is in his favorite sundress just to please him. She claims her love is “better than [she] ever knew” and is content that if he finds another, she will be happy because she wants him happy. The title is called “Video Games” from the games he plays both with her and on the TV while she tries to show off for him. All in all, this song is a torch song for the new age.  

Much like many songs on this album, “Dark Paradise” is the falling out of love and the fear that one lover will move on while the other won’t. Lana is the one, in this case, that fears her lover will move on. “Every time I close my eyes, its like a dark paradise” in reference to the dreams she has about her lost love. She doesn’t want to wake up from the dream because it is about him, which represents the paradise, but when she wakes the reality that he is not there represents the darkness. After this “I’m scared that you won’t be waiting on the other side” could be a reference to whether or not they will meet after death or if they will meet again in general. Lana says in her last lines that “I don’t want to wake up from this tonight” meaning she is not content with reality and just wants to keep dreaming because that’s the only time where they are together.

If you are new to this album, trust me you’re going to love it. Even if you’ve heard it a million times, you still can’t seem to skip it on your shuffled playlist, can you? Lana Del Rey has been with me since 2012 and continues to make music and perform in 2018!

Whether you are in your car shouting the lyrics with your friends, or crying in the balcony at her shows, she reaches your heart through her well thought out lyrics. So raise a toast to Lana Del Rey and her sixth year, and many years to come, of Born to Die - may you stay with us forever.