Why Lana Del Rey’s “Born to Die” Is Still Relevant 5 Years Later
Five years ago today, the world received a gift far greater that it probably deserved.
That gift was Lana Del Rey’s first album: “Born to Die.”
Not only is it actually one of the best albums of all time in my opinion, the numbers reflect also that too. It’s certified platinum and sold more than seven million copies worldwide. It’s the fourth longest charting album of this decade (and it’s STILL CHARTING 259 weeks later).
And, believe it or not, Lana did it all without any major promotion.
So what though? There are many other albums that have done that well, if not better so why do we care?
Well, a lot has changed in those five years. Not just for me who still is super obsessed with the record, but also how it affects me and why it matters now versus why it did five years ago.
It’s proved its endurability. I was fifteen when the record came out, and I was genuinely in a dark spot in my life. I was that cliché angsty af teen who really felt lost and like I had nothing to connect to. Although my exposure to music at fifteen was very limited, this album was revolutionary for me.
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Five years later, the album, but more specifically the song “Born to Die,” still hits me in a spot that no other record or song has been able to. This is probably why I have its name tattooed on my lower arm.
But instead of having super emotional response to the song like I used to, it’s just sheer nostalgia now. A really rough part of my life was raising lots of questions, and “Born to Die” gave me some answers.
And I still look to those answers for clarity to this day.
Lana is, and will be forever, the reigning queen of sadness. I can still listen to “Born to Die” and remember that it’s okay to be sad. She helped me to discover that there’s actually glamour in the sadness. She proves to me again and again that there’s no shame in feeling down or gloomy, and it’s okay to admit those feelings. In fact, wallowing can be chic af.
This album helped me discover certain parts of myself that I didn’t even know were there, and that’s a giant part of the reason why it resonates with others too.
I’ve met so many other fans of hers who, like me, really believe it’s still relevant because, even though she was singing about things we had heard before, we were hearing it from someone who really understood pain was like.
She was singing about more than just life and death, but also the most devastating thing in the world: love.
Lana was real and tangible. Her energy, although really sad at times, felt genuine. There was never a separation between how Lana experienced the song or how we, as fans, did.
Aside from the more touchy-feely parts of why the record matters, Lana has just always been a queen. I truly believe she single-handedly brought winged eyeliner back into fashion.
And no one has ever, in the history of the world, rocked a flower crown like her.
Lana’s influence is undeniable, and has been a large part of my life for the last five years and will be for the next five.
So, happy birthday, “Born to Die.”
We love you.