Monday, December 5th, 2011
87

Who's Afraid Of Lana Del Rey?

After nearly ripping the Internet apart, “Lana Del Rey” will make her grand U.S. debut tonight at the Bowery Ballroom in New York. Del Rey is the stage name of one Lizzy Grant, who, all the way back in 2008, arrived in the city from Lake Placid to try to make it as a singer-songwriter. Her hair was platinum blonde then, and her music, earnest and surf-inflected, was heavy on the organ. Though she did stick around long enough to do an interview with the Huffington Post, Grant ditched her persona (and her hair color) and emerged, this summer, as the current Interscope Records-signed entity known as Lana Del Rey. If you haven’t heard of her yet, I'm informed there’s a very good chance you will soon: according to The Hollywood Reporter, her “striking Lauren Bacall-like looks, perfectly-plumped lips and enchanting, hushed singing style” have made her “among the most buzzed about artists to emerge in recent months.”

And buzzed about she is. In less than three and half months since its posting on YouTube, her single "Video Games—a schizophrenic montage that marries "'World of Warcraft' screen clips and paparazzi footage with vintage backyard home movies and skateboarding flicks"—has been viewed almost nine million times. Tonight’s show, originally scheduled for the smaller Box on the Lower East Side, was moved to the Bowery after selling out in an hour; tickets to that show sold out in presale, and as of a few weeks ago scalpers were charging $175 for the $13 ticket. The real feather in Del Rey’s fixie, however, came on August 3, when Pitchfork crowned "Video Games" a Best New Track. Not done with her, on September 30 the site published a 1,600-word exegesis on why she seems to provoke as many people as she awes, no small feat considering the "gangster Nancy Sinatra," as Del Rey's team touts her, hasn’t yet released a full album. Although last Friday, Del Rey announced that her first album, Born to Die, will come out Jan. 30.

If Pitchfork's doting is one expression of Del Rey's rise, then so is the fact that meme arch-authority Hipster Runoff has devoted (as of this writing) 21 posts to mocking her. Business Insider, another in a growing list of passengers angling for a ride on the trash train, declared her a “hipster robot” and “musical equivalent of a smoke-filled room.” (The heart pains to even think about Brooklyn Vegan, home to the music universe’s most agitated hive of commenters.) You see, Del Rey is no regular old buzz beast. Plucked from obscurity in record time and with a boarding-school pedigree, she is a breathing projection of the most sensitive issues in navel-gazing today, chief among them authenticity, popularity and the intersection between the two. Given all of the wild imputations, interpretations and polarized reactions—again, despite Del Rey having done little more than release a very popular YouTube video—a more accurate “gangster” likeness may well be Hillary Clinton.

The reasons for this are not so complicated. As you are probably well aware, there is nothing—nothing—more important to the self-regarding music fan than authenticity. A high ass-shaking quotient and other traits may occasionally be permitted to mask flaws in verisimilitude, but the concept of realness remains sacrosanct. Even if she succeeds, Lana Del Rey will forever be the artist formerly known as Lizzy Grant. Bob Dylan may have been Robert Allen Zimmerman from Hibbing, Minnesota when he arrived on Bleecker Street, but, lucky for “Bob,” there was no YouTube to tip anyone off. Sure, he couldn’t pass as, say, Leadbelly (famously discovered by Alan Lomax at the brutal Angola Penitentiary), but Zimmerman could have reasonably refashioned himself into something happening without too much suspicion.

Such mercies no longer exist. A Tumblr in Comic Sans, a boring tweet, a shaky YouTube clip from an early open mike—the past, particularly for performers, is now near impossible to leave behind. When Del Rey calls you “honey” three times in "Video Games," a certain type of listener can’t help but swear on Patsy Cline’s grave. And thus explains, in great part, why the hype surrounding Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All and Jay Reatard was considered justifiable, while the buzz over Del Rey is abominable. Whether you liked his music or not, Jay Reatard (not his given name) commanded respect because of his background—he spent his teens living in a trailer park in Memphis—and his “shocking” stage name. After criticism that Odd Future’s lyrics were homophobic, front man Tyler, the Creator responded by telling duo Tegan and Sara (both gay) to hit him up for “some hard dick.” You don’t have to like Jay Reatard or Odd Future, but you will respect them. Because if you do not, the fragile ideals that prop up indie exceptionalism quickly give out to the simple matter of whether or not someone sucks.

(Such trifles are, of course, boringly mainstream; discerning fans would never judge an artist solely on whether or not his music is pleasing. The ascension of AIDS Wolf and The Fucking Idiots is not, presumably, due entirely to their soaring melodies.)

It is not exactly difficult to expose Lana Del Rey. As more than a few people have (gleefully) observed, her transformation between 2009 and now is almost remarkable in its adherence to certain trends in “thoughtful” music: South-infused twinge, check; slow-burn crescendo, check; plaintive nostalgia, check. (Having a rich daddy is, of course, another—Edwin "Win" Farnham Butler III, anyone?—but one often overlooked when it suits.) At this point, however, charges of corporate manufacture or artifice are about as cliché as the pretenses they point a wagging finger at.

So, does the new persona of Lizzy Grant suck? If her YouTube views and ticket sales count, it’s obvious that many think she doesn’t. The people want their gangster Nancy Sinatra, gatekeepers of authenticity be cursed. Adored reinventions Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse were no less tools of the “corporate hand” (to use Business Insider's phrase) but their aims were different and more mainstream. With her striving “Macbook vlog style video," however, Lana Del Rey dared try to impress the type to enjoy a Macbook vlog style video—and for that she must pay.

However you view the Manichean death match between veracity and popular consumption, the Del Rey Affair has brought head-scratching and hand-wringing to new highs. Thousands of moans have been expended, but, fittingly in a made-for-Internet outrage, the most poignant commentary on the “scandal” (and the sorts of people who find the vagaries of an aspiring singer scandalous) comes from a commenter to a New York Vulture post about the singer:

ooh- a gangsta nancy sinatra! a backlash against her before real people hear her music! the mere mention of Paz de la Huerta! indie cred/disdain! i can't wait to NOT CARE!

Bitter, confused, wearied, and incredulous, this aside manages to encapsulate in two lines the entire spectacle of modern pop culture appraisal—and quite possibly the entire existence of anyone born in the 1980s. If only Lana Del Rey would make a song about that—you’d probably check it out. Maybe.



Adam Rosen is an online editor at Oxford University Press, and co-creator of the Real or Onion? news quiz.

87 Comments / Post A Comment

Tex Antoine (#188,963)

Thanks for this. I got as far as "boarding-school pedigree." At that point, I knew all I will ever need to know about her.

Danzig! (#5,318)

@Tex Antoine Reminds me of The Strokes, who NME had hyped as the Saviors of Rock before they had even cut a song. Julian and Co were, as James Murphy obliquely referenced them, "art school Brooklynites".

caddie (#189,150)

@Tex Antoine Do you also hate Radiohead?

LondonLee (#922)

I went to art school but I also grew up on a council estate so I've no idea how authentic I am.

Bittersweet (#765)

@LondonLee: You grew up on a council estate so you're ok. Those of us with happy childhoods in the suburbs were sellouts before we reached age 6.

@Tex Antoine So you're not going to bother listening to her music to see if she's any good? Because if she grew up sheltered, she must not be talented? By this same logic, 50 Cent is the greatest musician of all time!

Nate Jones@twitter (#11,668)

Isn't as basic as "People like being marketed towards, until they realize they're being marketed towards?"

LondonLee (#922)

This never dies does it? 'Authenticity' was called 'Street Cred' back in my day.

Joe Strummer's dad was a diplomat you know.

lbf (#2,343)

I find the lack of mention of Lady Gaga disappointing, as she's the non-indie Lana Del Rey (reinvention from earnest singer-songwriter to crazy-hair exxxtreeeeeme stage persona, musical dumbing-down, etc.)
My opinion of her is mainly about her music being terrible and fucking boring (and I LOVE ME SOME BORING MUSIC, from Stars of the Lid to Swedish indie pop). I can't express it openly, because then I become part of the conversation about her. Well fuck you, Lana Del Rey. I decree that I'm not talking about your authenticity either way, and that you're just a bad artist. Put your bra back on and see you in the bargain bin.

PS: As Deleted By User stated, if you feel that you need to respect OFWGKTA, that's your problem.

deepomega (#1,720)

@lbf I refuse to participate in arguments about authenticity, all I care about is that her aesthetic is warmed over nostalgia and her singing is terrible.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

@lbf "Adored reinventions Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse were no less tools of the “corporate hand” (to use Business Insider's phrase) but their aims were different and more mainstream. With her striving “Macbook vlog style video," however, Lana Del Rey dared try to impress the type to enjoy a Macbook vlog style video—and for that she must pay."

I dunno if this was a late addition?

she can't hold a note and her songs are awful. and why can't anyone write a bridge anymore?

(also, fuck odd future, seriously)

Danzig! (#5,318)

@lbf "I LOVE ME SOME BORING MUSIC, from Stars of the Lid"
whoooa now

Danzig! (#5,318)

@Maura Johnston But as 20-somethings they express teenage maleness so well! They're the Holden Caulfields of rap!

lbf (#2,343)

@boyofdestiny tsssk, you and your "reading articles through" fetish.

lbf (#2,343)

@Danzig! that's it mister, you're grounded and I'm forcing you to listen to the entire Kompakt "Pop" series.

Danzig! (#5,318)

@lbf Why don't we split the difference at "Sequence 2". It's free! http://www.futuresequence.com/sequence2/

ms_smartiepants (#206,648)

@Maura Johnston "she can't hold a note and her songs are awful. and why can't anyone write a bridge anymore?"

Has anybody seen the bridge? (Sorry, I just HAD to!)

deepomega (#1,720)

Yeah but her singing sucks.

Tully Mills (#6,486)

@deepomega Not everyone can croon like your precious Honus Honus.

deepomega (#1,720)

@Tully Mills You expect me to listen to some mustache-less asshole sing??

Danzig! (#5,318)

@deepomega Yeah but she's hottt innit

Look, I'm still struggling with how I'm supposed to feel about Kreayshawn. Now this?

iantenna (#5,160)

"gucci gucci" rules, this does not. case closed.

deepomega (#1,720)

@iantenna Nailed it.

Problem solved. Now what's this about Lizzy Grant?

Multiphasic (#411)

Convince me that Alexis Krauss is authentic and then we'll talk.

(And, for that matter, LDR is 25. Find me a 25 y/o who espouses the exact values she had at 23, and I'll show you a girl who died at 22.)

Titania (#8,471)

@Multiphasic Find me a story where anyone says Lana del Rey is 25, for that matter. She's been aging backwards in the last few months of press coverage.

KenWheaton (#401)

In the few things I've read about her, this was the first time I clicked through to a Lizzy Grant creation/video. I was expecting to hear something on the order of Spears' bubble-gum pop. To me, there wasn't THAT much difference between the Lizzy Grant song and the newer stuff. So the biggest changes are hair, name and lips? That's the outrage?

@KenWheaton: Yes, because people can't respect somebody unless they're dowdy like Sleater-Kinney or Joan Baez was/is, or like what Bikini Kill and Bratmobile were.

coalbaron (#11,105)

White indie listeners can't tolerate white pop stars.

Tully Mills (#6,486)

Am I the only one who thinks “musical equivalent of a smoke-filled room" sounds nice?

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

@Tully Mills Pre-Bloomberg Nostalgia

iantenna (#5,160)

authenticity is overrated, but this song is objectively boring.

MikeBarthel (#1,884)

"And buzzed about she is. The website theawl.com has posted two of her videos, and on December 5 published a 1,200-word exegesis on why she seems to provoke as many people as she awes, no small feat considering the 'gangster Nancy Sinatra,' as Del Rey's team touts her, hasn’t yet released a full album."

Trilby (#3,897)

Her "perfectly-plumped lips" are verging on freakish. Duck-lips more like. Sorry, that's as far as I got in the video, which looked promising otherwise.

Trilby (#3,897)

@Trilby OK, I actually like that song pretty much but I can't get past those lips. Nobody else thinks they are ridiculous? Just me? They are the silliest fake lips I've seen in a long long time.

Trilby (#3,897)

@Trilby And we are talking about her AUTHENTICITY????

beatrixkiddo1 (#2,988)

@Trilby Oh theres plenty of talk about those lips on the internet if you're looking for it. But yes, they are ker-azzy. That said, I kinda like this song, in the same way I sometimes like dresses at Urban Outfitters.

melis (#1,854)

@Trilby I fear your avatar will make it difficult for you to justifiably make any freakish lips arguments.

Trilby (#3,897)

@melis Oh, yeh, it's the camera angle. Plus it's my daughter. He he. Totally natural lips!

jfruh (#713)

@Trilby Wait, for real? I've been assuming for months that that was a pic of Liz Phair for some reason. Though now that I look at it it totally isn't. At least I think. Are you Liz Phair's dad/mom???

wheattoast (#189,015)

She rules. All the hipster douchbags who talk shit are just jealous. How is it that anyone who has talent gets ridiculed these days. http://wp.me/pIs32-8d7

Keith Kisser (#9,714)

@wheattoast The real problem is that the barren wasteland of pop music has deadened your sensibilities so much that you hear this crap and mistake it for the output of a talented musician, rather than for what it really is: corporate marketing at it's most crass. She's a walking commercial for the dregs of a dying industry. But hay, if that's what you like, eat up!

Lana del Ray is alright

RonMwangaguhung (#3,697)

What is authenticity?

Trilby (#3,897)

@RonMwangaguhung Being real?

jfruh (#713)

Lana Del Rey already has a Wikipedia template that goes on all Lana Del Rey-related WIkipedia articles, so the wisdom of crowds has determined that she's the real deal. Sorry, haters!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Lana_Del_Rey

Dave Bry (#422)

I don't even really know what a "Macbook Vlog style video" is (a video made on a Macbook, I guess?) But I guess I am the type who enjoys that sort of thing. Because I still think "Video Games" is terrific. I like her voice a lot. And, yes, this seems silly to even have to say, I don't care so much that she went to boarding school and changed her name or that she got collagen injections. (Other than to the extent that I find any cosmetic surgery sort of a bummer.) It will be interesting to see how she pulls off her show tonight. Because when she sang on Jools Holland a couple months ago, her delivery was over-affected and she seemed very uncomfortable on stage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83kfch8JacI

sunnyciegos (#551)

@Dave Bry I don't hate her voice either. It's interesting. More interesting than the songs.

Funny how she has touched a nerve. Here's my current working feminist theory: The pouty lips, the pinup poses, the ceaseless, exhausting flirtation, the obvious transformation from lovely, average girl to preening fembot makes her seem like she was created by and for men, and women (me) HATE THAT. We hate it more than the boys hate their "inauthentic" singers.

JoanTition (#15,020)

@sunnyciegos THANK YOU FOR THIS.

You articulated my feelings perfectly!

Dave Bry (#422)

@sunnyciegos Yes, well put. I can definitely understand the hating of that. That said, a lot of great music has been made in such a way, and with such consideration and calculation. From Tina Turner to Lil Kim. I won't defend the practice on moral grounds (especially not, god forbid, in a case like Tina's, where there is also real harm being done to the person behind/inside the man-created fembot) but I guess I would argue that music, and all art, is amoral. And that good, interesting, enjoyable stuff can come out of bad practice.

sunnyciegos (#551)

@Dave Bry thanks. It's certainly not the most original idea, but it is frustrating to think that we're still toeing the same line Ike and Tina Turner were, some forty years on.

Dave Bry (#422)

@sunnyciegos Lana Del Ray does direct all her own videos (purportedly, at least). So maybe that's something a little better?

NeilReally (#189,032)

I feel about Lana Del Rey like I feel about Tim Tebow:

Considered in a bubble, do I care about Tim Tebow, the athlete? No ma'am.

Is he gifted? Undeniably.

Is he good? Not in the eyes of many (though … there IS something compelling about that unique skill set of his!!!!).

Does he win? Based on the established criteria (helping your team accumulate a higher score than the opponent), yes.

Is he interesting? He's the most interesting story in football by a longshot because, despite not being "good", he continues to win.

Is he polarizing? He's even more polarizing than he is interesting, in large part because of all the interest in him.

Do I want him to succeed just to watch the reactions of people who care too much? More than anything in this world.

Sports!

ranran (#189,059)

Came over from the Hairpin (though I've been reading the Awl for longer, I guess) and signed up just to point out: part of the reason the "hype" surrounding Jay Reatard was seen as justifiable, and part of the reason people respected him, is the fact that he'd been putting out great records for 10+ YEARS by the time Pitchfork, etc. started to care. Not exactly a Lana Del Rey situation.

ranran (#189,059)

@ranran Personally, I think his solo stuff was the most boring music of his career. His solo live sets were maybe like 8% as good as the time I saw The Reatards, to a point where I was at his last couple Chicago shows and left before his set. But not nearly the level of boring of Lana Del Rey, whose music is terrible for reasons entirely unrelated to her authenticity.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

@ranran I don't see the hype connection, but Blood Visions rules.

mimithedog (#1,165)

Donno if any of you non-Mexicans know that her name means the "king's money," as in, tons of dough, in Spanish. She might not know that either. Frankly, as a Mexican American fella, I hate that appropriation stuff, and don't care whether she's authentic or not.

NFK (#8,747)

@mimithedog Is wool or yarn (Lana) a Mexican idiom for money? Because a literal translation into Spanish yields "the King's wool" or "the King's yarn," which I find much more entertaining.

mimithedog (#1,165)

@NFK "lana" on the border is money money, greenbacks, dollar bills, youalll…..

lindybot (#189,073)

The first time I heard "Video Games," I searched every nook and cranny of the web for more of her stuff and listened to it for about two weeks straight. So maybe that's why I can't bring myself to care even a little about all this authenticity/persona business. I love her voice and most of her songs and maybe this means I'm growing up.

Multiphasic (#411)

"Curiosity is good. That's what [my publicist] Marilyn says."

That woman is either a sock puppet or an evil genius.

(Also, the last third of that interview feels like watching Sean Fennessey bleed to death from papercuts.)

ennaenirehtac (#11,592)

@Multiphasic The GQ interview you linked to actually makes me like her more. She's at least straightforward and honest about which parts of the machine she controls and which parts are done by the record label.

Dodge Dartmouth (#189,095)

When I first heard "Video Games," I kept thinking maybe the deadpan delivery of the lyrics was leading to an ironic comment on subservience. I hoped it wouldn't be too overstated, since that would make the song something people listened to once instead of soaking in the ambiguities. But then the song was over and I realized it was both obvious *and* unironic, which made me ill. There's a difference between third-wave feminism and waving feminism on completely, as if the need for it never even existed.

whimseywisp (#188,621)

I don't care about her back story, to tell you the truth. It's a damn good song and her voice is amazing. If that's the new trend in popular music, well, AWESOME. GOOD MUSIC COULD BE COMING BACK TO MAINSTREAM?!

Danzig! (#5,318)

She's a lot like Kraeyshawn – darling of "post-authenticity" dillweeds like the author, possessed of a single good song ("Video Games" / "Gucci Gucci") that has yet to be touched in her other work.

Of course, Del Rey has yet to make the mistake of using the word "nigga", but all things in time.

I like music a lot! And there are two things that irritate me to no end – the characterization of my beloved electronic music, which has a deep and storied history, as "bleep bloop music" (see: Everything ever writted by anyone who does not like Radiohead) and rock music fans who have benefited from the hardcore / indie revolution but have spit on its grave, like a public schooled libertarian railing against the Department of Education. Mr. Rosen here commits the latter sin.

Everyone who's interested in the indie music of the last 20-30 years owes it to themselves to read this – http://www.amazon.com/Our-Band-Could-Your-Life/dp/0316787531/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1323126674&sr=8-1 – because it's easy for the Chuck Klostermans of the world to raise their hackles against some nebulous white person who dares to dismiss all aspects the major label music business (of which Del Ray is an unmistakable creation), as though they were always the problem with music, as though AC/DC fans were oppressed by tastemakers who had their priorities all wrong. That was never the case.

Danzig! (#5,318)

@Danzig! The problem that's faced independent music as the major labels have slowly bled out is that the line between "major" and "indie" that was once so clear has become blurred. It used to be the case that you had a rock radio monoculture that only played Pat Benatar and Van Halen songs, and if you didn't like that then you had to look long and hard for alternatives. Maybe Black Flag would stop by the local dive bar on one of their endless, grueling tours, maybe you'd get a mail order zine. But now with the internet providing unfettered access to everything, and with sites like Pitchfork and Altered Zones and HRO becoming gatekeepers, you've now got a (reduced) major label monoculture that's still selling Lady Gaga and U2 and Nickelback, but you've also got an indie monoculture, which has its Arcade Fires and Feists and MGMTs, bands that might be on indie labels (or "indie" subsidiaries of majors) but hold a cultural cache that was denied to their forebears.

Acts like Lana Del Ray signify that the delineation between indie and major, monoculture and subculture, have become essentially meaningless, and perhaps that the values of independent music as they were in the post-punk era have been entirely lost. It used to be the case that the indie music establishment was ostensibly supposed to be a bulwark against the calculated image-jockeying that had more to do with market share than expression (all pomo bullshit about "rejection of image as image" aside). If Del Ray's success is any indication, that's no longer a concern. Meet the new pop landscape, same as the old pop landscape.

@Gdansk! its still ok to say someone 'jimmyjangles' a tambourine though right?

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

A Star Is Born came out in 1937, 1976, and 2011?

jenna4ouse (#188,876)

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Jugger (#178,784)

From a sociology standpoint, I find her absolutely fascinating. Not only her rise to fame, her background, and her persona, but also the content of her videos and lyrics – and they way they seem to be resonating with so many people (I heard "Video Games" playing on the stereo at the chicken-tenders joint I frequent). When I'm watching her videos, I'm wondering, like other commenters here, "sock puppet or an evil genius?" The answer, I think, is both. Regardless, her lyrics (sexually promiscuous innocence, willful humiliation, jaded wealth, easy amusement, glam-coated low self-esteem, etc) and her videos (00s glamor, 90s counter culture, 70-80s nostalgia) have provided me with some interesting thought-fodder.

ida_claire (#14,357)

It sounds like her managers kind of screwed up in their promotion of her… Not sure about her other songs but Video Games is catchy.

erikonymous (#3,231)

I can't tell if Adam is being sarcastic when he writes "discerning fans would never judge an artist solely on whether or not his music is pleasing." To me that's the definition of a discerning listener, and arguments over "authenticity" be damned.

what it really boils down to, of course, is that she's hot, her one song is awesomely sad (it was ringing in my head all day yesterday) and she whipped that video together herself (so sayeth Pitchfork) from scraps and pieces.

I remember a young girl named Liz Phair in 1997 starting out without youtube or iTunes and winning spazz-jop album of the year, but friends of mine who knew her smirked she was a snobby debutante 'posing' as indie, and they had dorm room photos to prove it, ya ya. what does it matter? Liz sold out LATER and we'll never forgive her, but first we ADORED her. Don't sacrifice the virgin before the volcano's ready, haters!

My point is Lana Del Ray embodies a lot of the sexiest elements that come from being beautiful and rich in LA — where sex and pills and anorexia and lip augmentation flow wild and free, but that's not meant as an insult, but high praise. Anyone can be depressed when they're poor, ugly and sing like a buzz saw. For a girl like Lana it's art! I salute her – she is your generation's Edie Sedgwick.

Wait… she's from goddamned Lake Placid??

Olivia@twitter (#190,472)

She was at Glasslands this Sept so it's not really a "grand U.S. debut" I don't think.

travis neal todd (#191,598)

All of this concern over "authenticity" just shows that it doesn't exist anymore, and probably never has in the realm of pop music. What's wrong with reinvention? Don't kids do this all the time when they change schools? And wait, rich people aren't allowed to express themselves? Or have emotions and thoughts concerned with something other than maintaining their Scrooge McDuck vaults?

ace (#42,512)

I have to say, I'm pretty into the idea that writers like Adam will lean on the Internet to try and draw a conclusion about the Internet and highlight someone who's making sense about the Internet. I mean that with all due earnesty, I read and re-read that little bit at the end three times. I feel this way too often — "i can't wait to NOT CARE — and never really realized it until I was drinking beer by myself, reading old posts on The Awl and tripping over Lana Del Rey's intrigue (or lack thereof).

On an unrelated note, the commenting on this site is pretty slick. Or rats—Is that really Brooklyn vegan-y of me to say?

I missed this article the first time around and was brought here by EW's review of last night's SNL episode where Lana Del Rey was the musical guest – and apparently widely panned.

I just watched the Video Game video and I listened to her performance on SNL and I am not sure why the SNL performance was so widely disliked. Her singing was a bit rough last night, but it wasn't THAT much worse than the 'Video Game" video.

I am not sure what I think of authenticity and music – I'm a Generation Xer and grew up with Madonna, Michael Jackson. In the MTV generation, it becomes more obvious that a lot of music is performance. What is Madonna except artifce? Same with Gaga and Beyonce for that matter.

My complaint about Lana isn't lack of authenticity, it's that her music isn't very good. The song "Video Game", while having compelling visuals, is set almost at the wrong tempo. Like it is too melancholy for most of what is shown. It's like Lana is trying to do an Adele and not getting it right. I kind of want to hear what Adele's take on the song would be because I think the song would really shine.

Lana's stage presence on SNL was quite poor and that's the problem. You can't be a mediocre singer without good stage presence.

GailPink (#9,712)

she's terrible and her songs suck.

@GailPink: According to white indie-only people like yourself who have no concept of anything other than indie rock, yes. This Afro-Canadian lover of most music begs to differ, however.

marlyssbaltz (#233,261)

good

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