Thursday, February 2, 2012

queen of pretend

Lana del Rey's album BORN TO DIE has been on repeat, both in my head and on Spotify, all week. I'm torn between being a sucker for her husky voice and silly, high-school binder decoration lyrics, and contempt as a modern lady trying to...what? Something about the discourse about her around the internet has really thrown me off. I'm unable to really form a true opinion about her or her music, due to the swirling, mean-girl hate mixed with that whiff of hipster sexuality. It doesn't help that I initially saw the video for Video Games only after reading an article on Lana del Rey, fabricated 'indie' pop star. Ken Tucker got a bit philosophical in his review today on Morning Edition, but it hit the point that many writers have been trying to get a hold on - why is it that we hate her so much? She's gone through the sort of transformation that we see every day in the entertainment industry. And yes, Born to Die isn't the most high-brow music I've ever heard (Diet Mountain Dew, anyone?), and yes, it does seem to be hard to sing through those lips, but the attacks seem especially...vicious.
It seems to me that her transparency - the pre-name-change albums, the video interviews circulating from five years ago full of girlish enthusiasm, and mostly notably, that wretched SNL performance - coupled with the fact that no one enjoys being told what to like (as she seems to have been marketed specifically to those who feel above being marketed to) has created a perfect storm of online-hate. Lana del Rey seems to be trying so hard, and it's difficult to see her as anything but the pretty rich girl trying to bribe her way into coolness. She's the friend who dropped me at the first chance to smoke under the bleachers with the bad girls - Lindsay Weir minus the sympathy, plus hot pants. Although, that leaves me as Millie....
But would I have anything outside of glee for another low-voiced trash-tastic crooner if I hadn't read all this buildup? Oh, internet. You crazy.

P.S. My favorite thought-provoking review (which includes that SNL incident) can be found here.

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