When Lana Del Rey, the self proclaimed “gangster Nancy Sinatra,” parts her pouty lips to croon one of her songs, listeners get pulled into a hazy, sad place. Del Rey oozes with old Hollywood glamor, and her voice is comparable to a breath of fresh air in today's music industry where pop stars are replicas of one another regurgitating stale overly produced singles.

The hype revolving the mysterious singer began in the summer of 2011 as a result of her haunting song and video for “Video Games.” Questions about her past musical career as Lizzy Grant and her wealthy family were on the lips of critics everywhere. This hype expanded until Del Rey’s infamous Saturday Night Live performance in January 2012, where her less than stellar performance only helped generate the buzz needed for the release of her album Born to Die.

Born to Die opens with the title track, portraying Del Rey as a sultry femme fatale as she coaxes her guy to “come take a walk on the dark side.” The song shows off her hypnotically retro voice, which can either entrance a listener or act as a sleeping aid. Some of the vocal arrangements are so similar they become dull. However, Del Rey works with the material she has (despite the claim she writes her own songs, the manufactured nature of her career suggests some tinkering by producers). Despite some repetition, the reigning hipster queen takes some chances vocally on this album, and the songs are pretty and melodic.

For a singer that seems to have come up out of nowhere in half a year, Lana Del Rey has already succeeded with the #2 debut of Born to Die on Billboard’s Top 200 chart. And the attention, even the negative criticism, has her name on the tips of the tongues of people all over the Internet. Born to Die is a marketing tour de force, and though the songs are better than average, Del Rey will need to come back with a sophomore album that is more about the music than the image if she intends to stay on those tongues.

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