On Lana Del Rey: Belated, Beside the Point and Banal

Hey, this is my website—I can be as belated, beside the point and banal as I want to be! (Wasn’t that Dennis Rodman’s follow-up memoir?)


I’ve been thinking about singer Lana Del Rey. If you don’t know who she is, that’s her over there (and also where have you been)? You can read about her here.

What’s the big deal about her?

Early on in the whole controversy (if you can call it that—I honestly don’t know; I’ve read more about people referencing the supposed scandal than about the scandal itself), a friend posted something about LDR on his Facebook.

“Aren’t I supposed to hate her?” I asked.

It was the knee-jerk reaction of a vaguely hipsterish Brooklynite. I didn’t know why I was supposed to detest her, only that it had something to do with a record label creating some hot-chick performer who could sing and didn’t always have inflatable lips or a self-consciously retro-inspired name but did now and wasn’t that terrible?

Let’s get back to that part about how she can sing—because she can. Or at least she seems to be able to, and if she can’t, well, we’ll know soon enough.

Aren’t artists like this created every day? (That’s sad, I realize, but it’s true.) And shouldn’t the fact that this girl’s got pipes count for a lot? Have a listen to “Video Games” if you haven’t already. It is a gorgeous, haunting fucking song. (It’s got the intangible vibeyness of LA—that je ne sais quoi I can never quite explain when I’m trying to tell somebody what it is exactly that unnerves me about LA so much, that seedy, creepy quality that I previously pointed to Mullholland Drive to explain. Now instead I’ll point to this song. It is seedy and creepy but also amaaaaaaazing. Like gives-me-chills amazing.)

But instead of focusing on that, bloggers are harping on all the superficial stuff (or at least were when this was a relevant thing to post about. Are they still? Hi, bloggers!!!) And I get that she’s not Katy Perry and she’s not Britney Spears and she doesn’t have that obvious plastickyness that we blithely overlook with them, but still: What’s the big deal?

Are people jealous that she’s hot? Because she is. Are the hipsters mad that she’s not genuine? That a few years ago she was called Lizzy and wore terrible clothes (and truly terrible ones, not self-consciously Elaine Bennis-inflected purposely terrible ones). Are people afraid that she’s not a real hipster? Is there even such a thing? I’ve got pale-pink streaks in my hair and came to work in bobby socks the other day. Is my look contrived? You bet. And guess what—tomorrow I’ll probably come in in leather pants and heels. What do you want? We reinvent ourselves. It’s fun. Maybe a record producer invented Lana nee Lizzy, but if Frankenstein gave us a monster that can belt out goosebumps inducers (in a world where this and this are actual songs that people listen to FOR SERIOUS–I’m not kidding, these are actual songs), I’ll take it. You should, too.

As you were.

xo c.