Lana Del Rey Is Broke(n-Hearted) Over Her “Million Dollar Man”: Listen

Nicole Sia | January 25, 2012 1:30 pm

Lana Del Rey’s Born To Die leaked yesterday (Jan. 24), a full week ahead of its highly anticipated release. A lot of people listened to it (us included), and a lot of people hated it (us not included). The hard line against Lana née Lizzy’s first effort seems to be that the album comes off as a thin derivative of early Fiona Apple — and just one edge of the multifaceted Fiona at that. We don’t think that criticism is necessarily a fair recounting of each of the record’s 15 tracks, six of which you’ve probably heard in some form or another anyway. But if we were to agree on one thing, it’s that “Million Dollar Man” is the track that begs for the comparison.

It’s a woozy, swaying ballad that echoes Apple’s “Shadowboxer” as deeply as Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” does Madonna’s “Express Yourself”. Hear it after the jump.

Lana Del Rey – “Million Dollar Man”

Lana Del Rey has been touring this track at a handful of live showcases over the past few months. Like most of the songs on Born To Die, “Million Dollar Man” finds Del Rey lamenting a soured love affair. This time, it’s her Mr. Big, who’s at once “screwed up” and “brilliant” and who she’d follow as far “down, down, down” as Bob Dylan did his “baby” on his self-titled debut in 1962. That’s the thing about Born To Die: While its themes are age-old, its great production brings each sad little love song right up to date. These are tracks for an audience perhaps too young to remember as far back as Dylan or even Fiona, but fully capable of connecting with the burning-so brightly feelings of the first real (and not so real) love Lana lays bare here.

If you liked the spirit of “Video Games”, those unexpected hip-hop turns on “Blue Jeans”, or the dramatic orchestral arrangements on “Born To Die”, you’re going to like this album. Yes, lyrically, Del Rey leans a little too hard on cheap turns of phrase, like when she asks “You look like a million dollar man / So why is my heart broke?” or when she breathily namechecks “Pabst Blue Ribbon on ice,” (which, for the record, ugh, is not a thing). But look past the affectation and it’s all there, if not all real.

So that’s pretty much our piece on Lana Del Rey’s debut. You probably have feelings of agreement or disagreement. Have at it in the comments, or on Twitter and Facebook.