Lana Del Rey – ‘Paradise’ Found

Lana Del Rey

I admit, I am late to the party. Late to jump on the bandwagon. Late to love the Lana.  Late to learn that Ms. Del Rey (AKA Lizzy Grant) is actually one of 2012’s top-selling artists.  But of late, I have also learned for all her sales and acclaim, a LOT of people have still never even heard of her.

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Until a few months ago, all I had heard of Lana Del Rey was an abysmal SNL performance.  How did I miss her debut album, “Born To Die,” which sold 3.6 million copies?  Or the even more impressive EP, “Paradise“?  I am not sure how these records slipped under my radar, but either way, I now got Lana firmly in my sights.  She has a new song featured on the soundtrack for Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” and it has broken its way in to the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

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But what makes Lana great is not that she’s a chart or sales success. It’s that she does her own thing. Her sound, although it may be calculated and controlled, is thoroughly her own.  She wanted to create a gangsta Nancy Sinatra, a Britney Spears-meets Elvis-via-Janis Joplin persona and vibe.  And she sounds nothing like her peers, who have all sold out for the same old generic club crud that would have been laughed at a decade ago.  What Lana is creating is a cinematic, soulful sound which has an urban swing and suburban flings about love, lust and longing for something more.  Love her or hate her, there’s no denying that Lana is doing something different than all the other cut-and-paste record label cash cows, and a serious, solid listen to “Paradise” and “Born to Die” will prove it.

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Active Child – ‘You Are All’ Going To Love This

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Harps pluck, beats funk, and synths sigh and grind in-between Active Child‘s vocals by Pat Grossi, floating falsettos in electronic soundscapes.  Grossi’s electronic-folk-funk seems reminiscent of James Blake or How To Dress Well, but the songs on “You Are All I See” are more accessible, harmonic and memorable.  The flow of the record is its greatest strength, a cool stream going through a broken cathedral in rich, amber-autumn forests. You can appreciate the flow, the glow of light and ambient sound off Child’s cathedral walls, or the electronic landscapes of lush leaves and beats.

Some highlight tracks are “Hanging On” and “Playing House”, but the record flows effortlessly, so it will be hard to choose a favorite while listening to the entire album.

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