“I was born bad, but then I met you / You made me not so wild, but my dark side’s true,” Lana Del Rey sings in the first few seconds of the swaggering Spaghetti Western strum of “Kinda Outta Luck.”
And just like that, the 24-year-old New York-bred chanteuse–born Lizzy Grant–has already become of my most anticipated acts of 2011.
A self-described “gangster Nancy Sinatra,” the striking songstress certainly looks the part, evoking some of the silver screen’s most glamorous Femme Fatales, including the va-va-voom bombshell quality of Brigitte Bardot and the bold features of Angelina Jolie.
When she sings she only broods further, echoing the dramatic conviction and theatrical vibrato of a healthy helping of ’60’s chanteuses, including Marianne Faithfull, Nico and Dusty Springfield (and yes, Nancy Sinatra too).
“Think Nina Simone singing a Cat Power song over Lil Wayne‘s track,” she recently told Flush The Fashion in describing her sound.
But even if you remain dubious about her own self-analysis, a quick survey of the talent she’s working with in the studio certainly adds some credibility to her case, including Liam Howe (Cocknbullkid), Chris Braide (Will Young, Diana Vickers) and Emile Haynie (Tinie Tempah).
“Video Games” is Del Ray’s most most recent release, which just scored major exposure for the singer after being played during Fearne Cotton‘s June 30 show on BBC1.
The haunting devotional gently rises and falls with a kind of world-weary exhaustion and restlessness not unlike fellow brooding bombshell chanteuse Sky Ferreira, making what’s but a simple love-swept ballad on the surface sound more like the accompaniment to a funeral procession. “They say that the world was built for two / Only worth living if somebody is loving you / Baby now you do,” she sings mournfully, enveloped by violin strings and gorgeous harp plucks.
But apart from the twangy, badly behaved “Kinda Outta Luck” and the crushing balladry of “Video Games,” there’s material like “DIET MTN DEW,”, her most modern sounding attempt: “Do you think we’ll be in love forever? Do you think we’ll be in love?” she coolly croons above a swaggering, slow-skipping hip hop rhythm.
Just as with the first time I heard Florence + The Machine back in 2009, I’m utterly entranced by Ms. Lana Del Rey: She’s dark, she’s mysterious, and her music sounds like something Quentin Tarantino‘s already queuing up to include in the soundtrack in his next bloody vengeance epic.
“I heard that you like the bad girls / Honey, is that true?” she ponders during the chorus of “Video Games.”
You see that? She knows me too well already.