If there's a genius behind that cold stare, it's yet to be realized.
Nicole Nodland
If there's a genius behind that cold stare, it's yet to be realized.

At least, not until "This Is What Makes Us Girls" ends with Del Rey leaving her pals behind, "cryin' cause I know I'm never comin' back" but vowing to her friends that "it's all going to happen." That it closes the standard edition of the album offers a small spark of hope; it brings to mind the end of the similarly disaffected girlhood chronicle Ghost World, when the heroine hops a bus out of town in order to see what the world beyond the life she has already lived might have to offer. And it's incredibly appropriate here, because Born to Die is an album with the timeless pop question "Is that all there is?" lurking, obviously and ominously, behind its every moan and underneath each reheated Sneaker Pimps beat. Whether or not the vicious cycle of bloggability allows Del Rey to explore the answer to that question on a second album is, of course, another story.

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"If there's a genius behind that cold stare, it's yet to be realized by Maura Johnston" should be the quote. It's so obvious that this girl is on to something and it's just what pop culture needs right now and people get it and are responding to it. Is 'genius' in art ever realized at the moment a work is being made? Not usually. New artists doing unconventional or different work from what's being pumped out there currently as what's Popular always get torn apart, over analyzed and hated - then 3, 5, 10 years from now, we look back and say "Oh, Lana Del Rey? She was great! She was so different. She inspired so many others..." blah blah. She's really good. She's not out there in clown/drag queen makeup, no backup dancers or laser light show smoke and mirrors distraction, no boomin' beats, she's not trying to fool anyone. Pretty girl, standing on stage softly with a microphone, doing her best at singing her songs. Simple.


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