I feels like I’m the only person on the Internet who hasn’t weighed in on Lana Del Rey. Her debut album just dropped so here we go…
So why are people so mad? People say she’s fake. A persona. Just another figment of a record label’s imagination out to steal hipsters hearts and money. And part of it’s true. Lana Del Rey isn’t her real name, but as for the rest of it? Who the fuck cares?
Lady Gaga is a fake persona. Madonna is a fake persona. Nicki Minaj is a fake persona. People don’t seem to call them out. So if it’s not that her persona is fake, maybe it’s what she’s trying to fake that has people up in arms. The hipster/indie community kills its young. The holier than thou ethos of the trendsetting elite doesn’t like that someone is trying to steal their swag without cutting their teeth in Brooklyn basements. Lana Del Rey is what every struggling indie artist wants to be: successful.
People may choose to play the authenticity card, but what this is really all about is jealousy. She thought of the idea first. She got a record deal. She executed well crafted songs custom made for Gossip Girl and your boyfriend’s bike messaging mixtape. She got to play SNL. She got the look you wanted for her “Video Games” clip and has over 24 million views on YouTube.
[The other unspoken element to this situation is that people on the Internet are just plain mean. Lana is an easy target. It’s easier to pile on than develop informed opinions on your own. Just because you might not like or agree with something, doesn’t mean it’s the worst thing in the world. It means you have different tastes. Hyperbole gets overused. Try to become a better critic and move on.]
The whole ‘Hood Lolita/Gansta Nancy Sinatra’ thing worked. It’s a angle. Lana is marketing herself. Whether it came from her brain or from someone else is irrelevant. And really, the controversy is only helping her. Everyone is playing right into her hands. So if you’re really so outraged by her mere existence, just ignore it.
So what about the album? Well, it’s pretty much what you’d expect having already heard “Video Games” and “Born to Die.” The instrumentation is minimal built on beats and samples with a monotonous tempo and steady key for her smoky vocals. Even though songs blur together after a while, she and her producer have created a signature sound that will probably be emulated by J-Lo in five months. Think 808s & Heartbreak Kanye meets Supremes-era Diana Ross. The lyrics rely heavily on nostalgia, name-drop references and slick one-liners. It’s transparent and shallow and harder than it looks.
Sure, it’s calculated, but it works. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.