Born To Die

Album: Born To Die (2011)
Charted: 9
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Songfacts®:

  • The title track to Lana Del Rey's full-length debut album, "Born To Die" was premiered on December 2, 2011 by BBC Radio 1's Fearne Cotton. She described the song to Cotton as a "homage to true love and a tribute to living life on the wild side."
  • Del Rey told Q magazine the song is about her boyfriend. She explained: "When I found someone that made me feel really happy, that was so different to the way I'd felt before in my life."
  • The music video was directed by Yoann Lemoine, who previously worked with Katy Perry on "Teenage Dream" and Taylor Swift on "Back To December." It was shot at the Palace of Fontainebleau in France and portrays Del Rey in an unstable relationship with her boyfriend, played by Bradley Soileau. The big-budget visual came from a treatment Del Rey penned herself, and as well as the expensive scenery, it also features tigers. "I always feel uncomfortable spending anyone's money, but I really did want the tigers, just because of what they symbolize to me, and just visually, they're so striking," she told MTV News. "I always like the vision of a girl in a white nightgown with two majestic tigers. [In one scene], I was sitting on the throne first, and then I had to leave the room and then the tiger was filmed right by the throne, and then spliced in ... Tigers and women can't be in the same room, even if the tiger is a female, because of the pheromones."
  • New-York-based model Bradley Soileau got picked for the video after photographer, Armen Djerrahian, shot him for The Wild Magazine and recommended him to Yoanne Limoine.
  • Del Rey felt this song best represented the mood and the energy of Born to Die, which was why she titled the record after it. She explained to UK newspaper The Sun: "I consider the record a homage to true love lost and a tribute to living life on the wild side. When I was young I was overwhelmed by thoughts of my own mortality, but I also found fleeting moments of happiness in the arms of my lover and friends. This track and the record are about these two worlds — death and love — coming together."
  • Both this song and much of the rest of the Born to Die album reflect a quality of being sad without being unhappy. Del Rey told The Daily Telegraph: "There is a sense of loss underpinning things. I used to wonder if it was God's plan that I should be alone for so much of my life. But I found peace. I found happiness within people and the world. So there is a sad tone, but also real joy. It seemed like a mix of two beautiful worlds coming together."
  • Del Rey wrote most of the lyrics for Born to Die whilst producer Justin Parker composed much of the music, The singer told Pedestrian TV about her songwriting music for the album: "I used to just walk the length of Manhattan and think about the way things used to be and sing different melodies to my song as I was walking along the water. Now that I've been working with producers, it depends. Sometimes Justin will come into the studio and tell me he has a chord progression that reminds him of me. And if I like it I'll take it from there and start freestyling and just rhyme things out. Again, reflecting on my life. It really does depend on the situation."
  • A third of Born to Die was written in California before Lana signed her record deal. "When the body is in motion the mind kind of follows. I like to write when I'm moving, when there's nothing getting in the way," she told The Sun before adding, "I had a car, so I was just driving from Santa Monica to Malibu thinking out loud."
  • The Born to Die album spent its first week at #1 on the UK album chart with sales of 117,000, more than the rest of the top five combined. It also debuted at the summit in Austria, France, Germany, Ireland and Switzerland.
  • Del Rey borrowed the voice of American singer and guitarist Leslie West for this song from his much sampled tune, "Long Red."

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