“Born to Die” is the first track off of the same-titled 2012 album from dark pop princess Lana Del Rey. The track set the tone and standard of Del Rey’s career, with the track becoming the singer’s signature song.
The song was written by Del Rey and tells the story of an unstable and abusive relationship that she feels unable to leave. “Oh, my heart it breaks every step that I take / But I’m hoping at the gates, they’ll tell me that you’re mine”, as well as the chorus consisting of Del Rey telling her abusive lover that they were “born to die”, meaning that their relationship was never fit to last. She also begs her lover to not make her sad or cry, but to “keep making me laugh – let’s go get high”, which could allude to the couple using drugs as a method of distraction from the real problems of the relationship. Musically, the track has incredible string arrangements that make the track feel overly dramatic and cinematic in some form, along with Del Rey’s haunting vocals – the track grabs anyone and everyone by the heartstrings.
The music video was based on a concept created by Del Rey herself, and was directed by Yoann Lemoine, who ended up working with Del Rey for her other music videos such as “Blue Jeans”. Bradley Soileau plays Del Rey’s lover (and also ended up continuing this role in her “Blue Jeans” music video”) . Soileau opened up to MTV about the meaning and theme of the video: “..the back story. I’m her boyfriend. It’s basically like, the boyfriend, you can see the two sides of the relationship where I’m kissing her, then pointing a gun at her head. That’s what it is. It’s a relationship that is so terrible but neither of them want to leave. That’s why when she is in the car, and she wipes the glass, she’s looking mad sad, distant, thoughtful. But I’m still trying to get her attention. That’s kinda the story for it.” The video does showcase an abusive relationship, and ends with Del Rey dying in a car accident with Soileau behind the wheel, potentially symbolising that Soileau’s abusive love will be the death of her is she does not leave him. The music video won an award at the UK music video awards, and has almost 400 million views on YouTube with almost 2 million likes.
Release Date: 14h December 2011
Songwriter/s: Lana Del Rey & Justin Parker
Producer/s: Justin Parker & Emile Haynie
Label/s: Stranger / Interscope / Polydor
Music Video Release Date: 14th December 2011
Music Video Director: Yoann Lemoine
Chart Rankings, Certifications & Awards: The track went Gold in Germany, Denmark, Canada and Australia. It also received Silver certification in the UK and Platinum in Italy. It reached the 2012 top charts in Australia, Iceland, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Israel, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Scotland, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US. It won the award for the “Best Pop Video – International” at the 2012 UK Music Video Awards.