Paradise (Lana Del Rey EP)

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Paradise
Clad in a gold-colored one piece swimsuit from the waist up, a Caucasian female with red-painted lips and a long, brownish red hair stares forward before a tropical background with the words "Lana Del Rey" above her and the words "Paradise" below in all capital letters.
EP by Lana Del Rey
Released November 9, 2012 (2012-11-09)
Recorded 2012
Genre Dream pop[1][not in citation given]
Length 33:07
Label
Producer
Lana Del Rey chronology
  • Paradise
  • (2012)
Singles from Paradise
  1. "Blue Velvet"
    Released: September 20, 2012 (2012-09-20)
  2. "Ride"
    Released: September 25, 2012 (2012-09-25)
  3. "Burning Desire"
    Released: March 13, 2013 (2013-03-13)

Paradise is the second extended play (EP) and second major release by American singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey; it was released on November 9, 2012 by Universal Music. It is additionally packaged with the reissue of her second studio album Born to Die (2012), titled Born to Die: The Paradise Edition. Del Rey enlisted collaborators including producers Rick Nowels, Justin Parker, and Rick Rubin.

Upon its release, Paradise received generally favorable reviews from music critics. The extended play debuted at number 10 on the US Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 67,000 copies. It also debuted at number 10 on the Canadian Albums Chart and peaked within the top-five of various other Billboard charts. Charting across Europe, the extended play became a top-ten hit in Flanders and Poland, charting within the top twenty in Wallonia and the Netherlands.

The EP's lead single was the ballad "Ride" which became a modest hit in the United States, Switzerland, Ireland, and France and reached the top 10 in Russia and Belgium. "Blue Velvet", a cover of the popular 1950s track, and "Burning Desire" were released as follow-up singles. Music videos for "Ride", "Blue Velvet", "Bel Air", and "Burning Desire" were posted to Vevo and YouTube to help promote the EP.

In December 2013, Del Rey released the Anthony Mandler-directed Tropico, a short film that includes the songs "Body Electric", "Gods & Monsters", and "Bel Air". That same month, an EP of the same name was made available for purchase on iTunes, containing the film along with the three aforementioned songs. In 2014, the EP was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.

Background[edit]

"Ride" serves as the EP's first single.

"Blue Velvet", inspired by David Lynch's eponymously titled film, is a cover of the popular 1950s song by The Clovers.

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In an interview with RTVE on June 15, 2012, Del Rey announced that she had been working on a new album due in November, and that five tracks had already been written,[2] two of them being "Young and Beautiful"[citation needed] and "Gods and Monsters",[citation needed] and another track titled "Body Electric", which was performed and announced as one of her songs at the BBC Radio1's Hackney Weekend.[citation needed] In an interview with Tim Blackwell for Nova FM in Melbourne, Australia, Del Rey added that her upcoming November release would not be a new album, but more like an EP, which she described as the Paradise Edition of Born to Die.[citation needed] Del Rey stated that the new release would have around seven new songs.[citation needed]

Del Rey's Paradise was released on November 12, 2012 in the UK and one day later in the US. The album's re-release, titled Born to Die: The Paradise Edition, was available to pre-order offering an immediate download of "Burning Desire" in some countries.[3] The nine tracks were issued as a stand-alone CD or vinyl LP titled Paradise, in a two-disc set including the original Born to Die album tracks, as well as in a deluxe box set which will include both albums, a remix CD including eight remixes of songs from Born to Die, a DVD with six music videos and a two-track vinyl 7" of "Blue Velvet".[4][5]

Promotion[edit]

On the day of "Ride"'s release as the EP's first single, Del Rey uploaded a teaser trailer to video-hosting website YouTube, that contained snippets of each track on The Paradise Edition.[4] To promote the album, two singles were released, a cover version of "Blue Velvet" and the original "Burning Desire". "Blue Velvet was used in a television commercial for H&M, as a part of a promotional endeavor. "Burning Desire", the album's third single, was used to promote the Jaguar F-Type model. At a promotional concert, Del Rey sang the song, wearing red lipstick, because the model features a built-in lipstick holder.[6] Unlike in the US where it was released as an extended play, Paradise was released in the United Kingdom as a re-release of Born to Die. The song serves as the soundtrack for a short film called "Desire",[7] directed by Ridley Scott and starring Damian Lewis.[8][9][10][11][12][13] A promotional video for "Burning Desire" appeared online on Valentine's Day of 2013, featuring Del Rey as her usual lounge singer persona, interspersed with snippets of the Jaguar F-Type.[7] Directed by Ridley Scott, the video was filmed in the Rivoli Ballroom in London's South end.[7]

On November 30, 2012, Del Rey was a musical guest on Later... with Jools Holland and performed her latest single "Ride".[14]

Singles[edit]

A brunette female wearing a white dress poses on a red luxury car
Del Rey appearing in a photoshoot for the Jaguar F-Type automobile in 2012, for which "Burning Desire" served as a promotional single for the EP.

On September 13, 2012, the lead single of the Paradise was confirmed to be "Ride", the accompanying music video being shot in Las Vegas, Nevada.[15] It was eventually released for purchase on September 25, 2012.[16] On October 10, Del Rey premiered the music video for "Ride" at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, California.[17] On October 12, the music video for "Ride" was released online.[18] Del Rey portrays a prostitute in the video,[19] which the NME described as "not exactly empowering," and said might be seen as "anti-feminist".[18] To further solicit the single and album, an EP was released containing remixes of "Ride". Contributing artists include SOHN, MJ Cole, Eli Escobar, 14TH remix, Wes James, and James Lavelle & Charlie May.[20]

On September 19, the music video for "Blue Velvet" was released through H&M.[21] On September 20, 2012; "Blue Velvet" was made available for purchase via digital download as the first promotional single from the EP.[22] People who pre-ordered the EP received an immediate download of "Burning Desire". On February 14, 2013, the music video for "Burning Desire" was released.[23] The song was made available for purchase via digital download on March 19, 2013 as the EP's second and final promo single.[24]

Other songs[edit]

The third single from Paradise and the eighth single overall from Born to Die was unveiled to be "Cola" on 14 November 2012.[25] To date, however, a release date for the single never materialized. Because the description of the trailer lists the song "Cola" as "Pussy", it has led to speculation about the song being titled "Pussy" or having a subtitle of that name.[26] Despite this interpretation, it has been reported that the song is called "Cola" with no alternate titles.[4][5] The official iTunes preorder does not acknowledge an alternate title.[27] "Fresh" and "is-she-serious?" have been some of the reactions to the profane lyrics included on "Cola".[28] Hindustan Times criticized the song snippet, saying it proved she was running out of ideas and that the songs all sounded strangely similar.[29] When asked about the origin of the lyrics, Del Rey said: "I have a Scottish boyfriend, and that's just what he says!" Defending the track, she said that her record label had reservations about releasing the track.[30]

The song, "Body Electric", alludes to Walt Whitman in the lyric, "Whitman is my daddy." The song's chorus of "I sing the body electric" is a direct reference to his poem "I Sing the Body Electric".[31][32] Previously, Del Rey has cited Whitman as an inspiration, recalling his chapbook "Leaves of Grass" as instrumental to her songwriting.[31] "Yayo" returns for a third release, after having appeared on Del Rey's first EP Kill Kill and her debut album, Lana Del Ray a.k.a. Lizzy Grant.[33][34] A promotional video for the closing track, "Bel Air", was released on 8 November 2012.[35] The video featured outtakes from the "Summertime Sadness" music video.[36] In the video, Del Rey sings, "Roses, Bel Air, take me there/ I’ve been waiting to meet you/ Palm trees, in the light, I can see, late at night/ Darling I’m willing to greet you/ Come to me, baby."[37] Rolling Stone praised the shift in persona Del Rey exhibited in the ballad's video, noting a significant difference from her usual Americana lounge singer, First Lady Onassis-Kennedy, and biker chick alter egos.[38]

Film[edit]

Alongside Paradise, Del Rey plans to launch a short film titled Tropico that features the songs "Body Electric", "Gods and Monsters", and "Bel Air".[39][40] "Tropico" was filmed in late June 2013; it was directed by Anthony Mandler,[40] who also directed Del Rey's previous music videos for "National Anthem" and "Ride". Via social media platforms, Del Rey released several promotional images for the film, one depicting Del Rey in a wimple reminiscent of Mary, Mother of Jesus and another with Del Rey holding a snake and posing as Eve, the biblical wife of Adam from Genesis.[39][40] In August 2013, Del announced on Twitter that the film would have two premieres: One at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles and one in an unspecified location in New York; she referred to the short film as a "farewell".[39][40][41] Critics noted that this contradicted other claims by Del Rey that she would release a third studio album, with a demo of the song "Black Beauty" leaking online.[39][40] On November 22, 2013, an official trailer for "Tropico" was released; at the end of the trailer, it was announced that the film will be uploaded to Del Rey's official VEVO account on December 5, 2013.[42] On December 3, 2013, Del Rey announced on Facebook and Twitter that "Tropico" will be screened at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, California on December 4, 2013 prior to its VEVO release.[43]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (64/100)[44]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2.5/5 stars[45]
American Songwriter 3.5/5 stars[46]
Drowned in Sound 8/10[47]
PopMatters 7/10[48]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[49]
Slant Magazine 2.5/5 stars[50]
Sputnikmusic 3.5/5[51]
Tiny Mix Tapes 2.5/5 stars[52]

At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the EP has received an average score of 64, based on 9 reviews indicating "generally favorable reviews".[44] Gil Kaufman of MTV wrote that "[the reissue] is as mellow and languorous... as she was on her debut." On the snippet video, he said, "...the new songs gives a peek at the gangster Nancy Sinatra's ongoing fascination with a sleepy, seductive sound and lyrics that mix old-fashion girl group obsession with sometimes profane, shocking new-school swagger."[4] Stuff said the song titles were predictably pokerfaced.[28] "Ride" received widely positive reviews, with the only qualms circling around the unrealistic cover art and coy song title. Of the cover art, Jessica Sager of PopCrush said it's unclear how the tire swing is suspended, with no visible trees nearby. Sager highlighted rumors circulating the internet about the music video for the single being recorded in Valley of Fire in Clark County, Nevada.[53] Contactmusic.com noticed the track adheres to Del Rey's trademark sound, stating that the notion of her even having a trademark after one commercially successful album indicates that "we haven't seen the last of her just yet". Of the production itself, it was said that "Ride" is more accomplished than Del Rey's previous endeavors, with the strengths of the track outshining the flaws. The reviewer concluded by saying, "All that doe-eyed "you can be my full-time daddy / baby" shtick is going to start getting a little tired pretty soon, though, we reckon."[54]

NME blogged that "Ride"'s most significant lyric read, "I'm tired of feeling like I'm fucking crazy", while stating that the accompanying music video may be produced solely by Del Rey, as the videos for "Carmen" and Video Games" were.[26] Pitchfork Media agreed, saying the aforementioned lyric was a rare moment of raw emotion by Del Rey.[55] Billboard wrote: "Ride' is a long, dreamy ballad that swells into full view during the chorus, when the singer declares, 'Been trying' hard not to get into trouble/But I, I've got a war in my mind… so I just ride."[56] MTV called "Ride" a "slow burn" and "as mellow and languorous...as on her debut."[4] Another MTV review said: "On 'Ride,' Rey sings what she knows best: loneliness, some daddy issues and day-drinking. All of this is probably a metaphor for something, but honestly, we’re still trying to figure out what those 'Born To Die' tigers mean."[57] Cameron Matthew of Spinner noted that Del Rey "amped up on the smokey vocals" with "Ride".[58] Canada.com reviewer Leah Collins called "Bel Air" an Enya-channeled, eerie waltz.[59]

The picture of a Grammy Award, a trophy that features a golden gramophone on a black marbel block. The award belongs to Jacob Bronstein, who won it in 2007 for Best Spoken Word Album.
Del Rey was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album in 2013

Conversely, The Huffington Post called both "Bel Air" and "Yayo" filler-tracks.[60] Disagreeing with this position, Carl Williot of Idolator wrote that "Yayo" should have been a single and was the best song on the EP.[61] Calling the song Del Rey's most interesting song to date, Williot compared the narration on "Yayo" to the plight of Anna Nicole Smith and said it was "woozy" and "burlesque".[61] As a whole, Williot noted the theme between Born to Die and Paradise shifted from infantilization to sexualization on the EP; songs such as "Burning Desire" and "Ride" were decisively more mature than tracks like "Video Games" from the singer's mainstream debut.[61] Closing the review, Williot said the EP was best listened to: "While wearing formal cocktail attire that has become slightly rumpled following some sort of intense argument and/or sexual dalliance."[61] AllMusic commented that the EP kept the glacial string arrangements and slow drums that inspired the cinematic atmosphere of Born to Die, while improving vocally.[45] Her songwriting and lyricism, however, was criticized. John Bush, the AllMusic reviewer, canned the lyrical content of Paradise. For example, he highlighted the lyrics of "Body Electric", which state: "Elvis is my daddy/ Marilyn's my mother/ Jesus is my bestest friend/ We get crazy every Friday night/ drop it like it's hot in the pale moonlight.", as being "cliche" and "babyish", a trend pervading the entire album.[45] On a positive note, Bush proposed that "Blue Velvet" proved Del Rey was more than capable of performing vocally when given tasteful content.[45] Wrapping up the review, Bush concluded that, overall, Del Rey has lyrically remained in a stasis, with the album serving as fodder for her hype and image. According to Bush, Del Rey embodied the album with a simile from "Gods and Monsters": "Like a groupie incognito posing as a real singer, life imitates art."[45] Los Angeles Times called the EP "surprisingly strong".[62] Digital Spy said:

Elvis in a tuxedo.
Monroe in a blue blouse, with a surprised expression on her face.
In "Body Electric", Del Rey lends tribute to both Elvis Presley (left) and Marilyn Monroe (right). Music reviewer Carl Williot considered the shout-out cliche, while other reviewers praised the songwriting.

Pointing to "Blue Velvet" and "Yayo" as the weaker songs, LGBT lifestyle magazine So So Gay thought this about Paradise as a whole: "The existing themes, stunning musicality, and lyrical strength of the original are complimented by a series of new tracks that give the listener 'more of the same'."[63] Slant Magazine said the EP could not live up to Born to Die, with tracks "Gods and Monsters" and "Burning Desire" standing in its shadow.[50] Slant Magazine challenged that Paradise was a "grubby cash grab".[50] Drowned in Sound writer David Edwards mirrored Slant's position due to the release's proximity to the Christmas holiday.[47] Rolling Stone called the album "conceptually sharp".[20] Billboard praised the album's allusions to David Lynch, adding: "her vintage 60s charm just might kill you."[20] Applauding Del Rey's rising stardom, The Daily Record celebrated the EP's commentary of the 2010s zeitgeist.[20] The Prophet Blog wrote: "Paradise, sounds like the record she was always meant to make — not the one she had to. Whereas Born to Die was self-conscious and chart hungry, Paradise allows Lana the freedom to get a little more daring and fully indulge in her love of David Lynch."[64]

Track listing[edit]

Paradise — Standard edition
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Ride"   Rick Rubin 4:49
2. "American"  
  • Nowels
  • Haynie[a]
4:08
3. "Cola"  
  • Del Rey
  • Nowels
4:20
4. "Body Electric"  
  • Del Rey
  • Nowels
  • Nowels
  • Dan Heath
3:53
5. "Blue Velvet"  
Haynie 2:38
6. "Gods & Monsters"  
  • Del Rey
  • Tim Larcombe
  • Larcombe
  • Haynie[b]
3:57
7. "Yayo"   Lana Del Rey
  • Heath
  • Haynie
5:21
8. "Bel Air"  
  • Del Rey
  • Heath
Heath 3:57
Total length:
33:07
Notes

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Paradise.[67]

Performance credits
Instruments
Technical and production
  • Graham Archer - vocal engineering (track 7)
  • Ben Baptie - mixing assistant (track 5)
  • Spencer Burgess Jr. - recording assistant (track 5)
  • Nikki Calvert - engineering (track 8)
  • Jeremy Cochise Ball - mixing (track 7)
  • John Davis - mastering (tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)
  • DK - co-production (track 3)
  • Tom Elmhirst - mixing (track 5)
  • Chris Garcia - additional recording (tracks 2, 3); recording (track 4)
  • Larry Gold - string arrangements (track 5)
  • Emile Haynie - co-production (track 2); production (tracks 5, 7); additional production (track 6)
  • Dan Heath - string arrangements (tracks 1, 6); orchestral arrangements (tracks 2, 4); production (tracks 4, 7, 8); engineering (track 8)
  • Jason Lader - recording (track 1)
  • Tim Larcombe - production (track 6)
  • Eric Lynn - recording assistant (track 1)
  • Kieron Menzies - recording, mixing (tracks 2, 3, 4)
  • Rick Nowels - production (tracks 2, 3, 4)
  • Sean Oakley - recording assistant (track 1)
  • Robert Orton - mixing (track 6)
  • Tucker Robinson - string recording (track 1); engineering (track 8)
  • Jeff Rothschild - mixing (track 8)
  • Rick Rubin - production (track 1)
  • Andrew Scheps - mixing (track 1)
  • Peter Stanislaus - mixing (track 8)
  • Jordan Stilwell - additional recording (tracks 2, 3)

Commercial performance[edit]

Paradise debuted at number ten on the Billboard 200, selling 67,000 copies in its first week.[20] It has since sold over 332,000 copies in the US.[68]

Charts[edit]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format
Australia[76] November 9, 2012 CD
Worldwide[77] November 12, 2012 12" vinyl
Germany[78] November 13, 2012 CD
United States[79][80] CD, digital download

References[edit]

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