Unlike her recent snoozy performance on SNL, Lana Del Rey's debut album is a slinky exercise in sonic seduction. The 25-year-old super-buzzed New York City singer offers jazzy melodies that pulse with indie-rock edge and girl-group snap underscored by sampled orchestrations, beatbox rhythms, and tool-shed atmospherics. Her vocal presence is a suggestive mix of Kate Bush's kooky swoop, Marianne Faithfull's hungover rasp, and a timeless sultry whisper. There's a hypnotic continuity of tempos on Born to Die, serving as counterpoint to the diversity of subjects — from the sexual dysfunction of "Off to the Races" to the hymnal pop of "Video Games" to the thump-and-bump of "National Anthem." No matter what you think of it, Del Rey probably won't be going away anytime soon. So you might as well get used to her. — Brian Baker
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