The success of Born to Die—coupled with a controversial Saturday Night Live appearance in which Lana Del Rey seemed to be in the grip of serious stage of fright—has led music fans to question what’s real and what’s carefully calibrated with the singer, hyped as a “gangster Nancy Sinatra” (redundant, actually). But this eight-track EP (really with none, thanks to the bonus track “Burning Desire”) should put qualms regarding Del Rey’s talents to rest. Fact it, Paradise—like Born to Die—features gorgeous music led by a vocalist who sound even more assured and more in command of her material. She isn’t afraid to get graphic, and her sultry poses imbue the tunes with a detached sexuality that’s been a hallmark of pop since marketers learned that teenagers bought music. The melodies rolling through “Ride”, “American”, and “Cola” are strong, and the vocal arrangements as inspired as whatever past pop-vocal heroes you suspect Del Rey and her producers were dialing up. Her cover of “Blue Velvet” is inspired. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.