Album: Lana Del Rey, Born to Die (Interscope)

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The Independent Culture

It's tempting, when considering the phrase "Hollywood sadcore" – Del Rey's own description of her musical style – to dwell too long on the second word. But the "Hollywood" part signifies more than simply silver-screen glamour.

Elizabeth Grant is essentially an actress, and Del Rey is a character she's created. Which is exactly where complaints about her inauthenticity founder: inauthenticity is the point. The music – a delicious hybrid of Portishead and Nancy Sinatra – only serves as a backdrop to the emotional drama in which Del Rey plays the role of the hurt-bruised lover, switching between "you" and "he" to describe her lover, as though stepping out of the screen to break the fourth wall.

Never is this more effective than on the world-stopping "Video Games". It's a trick as old – and as enduring – as Hollywood itself.