For those of you who have been living in a cave, Lana Del Rey is an American singer-songwriter who found fame when her single ‘Video Games‘ went viral and then followed this up with her 2012 album ‘Born to Die‘. Now, in 2014, she has already released a short film (Tropico, which is just about the most pretentious thing I have seen) and a number one album ‘Ultraviolence‘. I’m not going to mince words here, I strongly dislike Lana Del Rey. I think she’s fake, overrated and just plain depressing.
There’s something about Lana Del Rey and her persona which rubs me up the wrong way. Her name, her collagen laden lips and her voice are all an act just because she couldn’t make a career for herself without the use of cheap gimmicks. Listen to her stripped back, early performance when she was still Lizzy Grant and you’ll see she doesn’t actually need the bravado that Lana Del Rey holds. Admittedly jarring at times, this early footage of Lana is closer to what I think her natural voice would be and generally makes for a more pleasing sound.
I guess the music industry doesn’t want to see just another average performer so OBVIOUSLY that calls for a complete re-brand. I can’t help but feel that her singing voice is completely put on. Songs like ‘National Anthem‘ and ‘Ride‘ sound so exaggerated and vexatious. The drawling notes of ‘Ride‘ sound like a drunken karaoke catastrophe. Her voice has become almost as annoying as Lights, and that’s saying something.
I had high hopes for Lana as she gives off the impression that her music will deal with deeper, philosophical concepts yet below the surface she sings about her seemingly mundane relationships in almost every one of her songs. In her article for British newspaper The Guardian, she says: ‘I wish I was dead already’, yet shortly after the article was published, she tweeted that the interviewer’s questions were ‘cold and calculated’. The moment she delves into these dark, somewhat interesting questions, she panics and wants out. Rather than addressing this in her music, it seems like a part of her panics and abandons ship which is the exact opposite of what she should be doing as an artist. Music is there to express feelings which cannot be so easily addressed in everyday life, and this would give her a perfect opportunity to address these issues. Of course there must be a number of reasons why she does not choose to do so, but it would be interesting if her music had a little less grief over the men in her life and a little more of something unique.
All of her songs force the listener to feel some sense of pity for this woman because she’s lost the love(s) of her life and her heart is broken. Rather than trying to create a somewhat optimistic outlook, her entire back catalogue appears to be an extended mourning period for her former self. Surely the message she should be sending her young fans is one of hope, rather than romanticising depression.
Lana, I admire what you’re trying to do but please don’t become a caricature and do the disadvantage of glamorising mental health and maybe Kristen Wiig will stop impersonating you on SNL.