Monday, June 16th, 2014

The Collage Artist

If Lana Del Rey were a Tumblr, she would be photos of Elvis, classic cars, movie posters, and vintage paperback covers, broken up by YouTube clips of singers performing string-slathered ballads on decades-old TV shows. Her early self-descriptions—“gangsta Nancy Sinatra,” “Hollywood sadcore”—seem to suggest meaning. But when you think about them too long, they dissolve into nothingness. That vagueness—the hand-waving in the direction of something that once meant something specific, but is now an archetype, hollow and half-obscured by a glow of glamor and nostalgia—is her artistic strategy. And it’s working: Lana Del Rey is appealing because she is a self-curated collage of references and images in which she [...]


Britney Spears' "Hold It Against Me" Overanalyzed

Despite not liking Britney Spears’ album covers, I like her new video quite a bit. Yes, I hate the lyrics just as much as you do. The joke chorus is awful, and the verses are a string of clichés. But at least they’re not “I’m rich and in the club” clichés, like pretty much every other pop song released in the last three years. And anyway, the music is good enough. It’s a nice little trance-techno track that, released as an instrumental, would make people who like to go out and dance (not me) very happy indeed.

But I want to talk about the video, because there are [...]


The Album Covers of Britney Spears: A History

I can't remember what any of the singles from the last four Britney Spears albums sounds like. Early singles like "…Baby One More Time," "Oops! I Did It Again," and even "Not A Girl (Not Yet A Woman)" were catchy and memorable. None of her more recent material has stuck with me in the same way. What's most striking about her discography, for me, is the awfulness of the cover art. Since the cover for her new album, Femme Fatale, has been released today, I think a review is in order.