January 15, 2012


Lana Del Rey Comes To 'Saturday Night Live' And Leaves Controversies Behind (MARC HIRSH, 1/12/12, NPR)

What's the problem with Del Rey? I'm going to tell you, but before I do, I must warn you that what I have to say is so shocking, it will rattle you to your very core and almost certainly send you to join the chorus of Internet naysayers eagerly panting their dismay. If you are not sitting down now, you almost certainly will be when I reach the end of the next sentence:

Her name is not really Lana Del Rey.

Okay, there's a little bit more to it than that. For a rundown on the matter, I humbly direct you to this marvelous Awl piece, which discusses how the erstwhile Lizzy Grant committed the inexcusable crime of coming from a privileged upbringing. It's worth mentioning that writer Adam Rosen falls squarely on the side of finding the whole uproar embarrassing for those doing the roaring. It's also worth mentioning that the very first, apparently-not-remotely-ironic reader comment immediately following the piece reads thusly: "Thanks for this. I got as far as 'boarding-school pedigree.' At that point, I knew all I will ever need to know about her."

Who's Afraid Of Lana Del Rey? (Adam Rosen, December 5, 2011, The Awl)

After nearly ripping the Internet apart, "Lana Del Rey" will make her grand U.S. debut tonight at the Bowery Ballroom in New York. Del Rey is the stage name of one Lizzy Grant, who, all the way back in 2008, arrived in the city from Lake Placid to try to make it as a singer-songwriter. Her hair was platinum blonde then, and her music, earnest and surf-inflected, was heavy on the organ. Though she did stick around long enough to do an interview with the Huffington Post, Grant ditched her persona (and her hair color) and emerged, this summer, as the current Interscope Records-signed entity known as Lana Del Rey. If you haven't heard of her yet, I'm informed there's a very good chance you will soon: according to The Hollywood Reporter, her "striking Lauren Bacall-like looks, perfectly-plumped lips and enchanting, hushed singing style" have made her "among the most buzzed about artists to emerge in recent months."

And buzzed about she is. In less than three and half months since its posting on YouTube, her single "Video Games--a schizophrenic montage that marries "'World of Warcraft' screen clips and paparazzi footage with vintage backyard home movies and skateboarding flicks"--has been viewed almost nine million times. Tonight's show, originally scheduled for the smaller Box on the Lower East Side, was moved to the Bowery after selling out in an hour; tickets to that show sold out in presale, and as of a few weeks ago scalpers were charging $175 for the $13 ticket. The real feather in Del Rey's fixie, however, came on August 3, when Pitchfork crowned "Video Games" a Best New Track. Not done with her, on September 30 the site published a 1,600-word exegesis on why she seems to provoke as many people as she awes, no small feat considering the "gangster Nancy Sinatra," as Del Rey's team touts her, hasn't yet released a full album. Although last Friday, Del Rey announced that her first album, Born to Die, will come out Jan. 30.

If Pitchfork's doting is one expression of Del Rey's rise, then so is the fact that meme arch-authority Hipster Runoff has devoted (as of this writing) 21 posts to mocking her. Business Insider, another in a growing list of passengers angling for a ride on the trash train, declared her a "hipster robot" and "musical equivalent of a smoke-filled room." (The heart pains to even think about Brooklyn Vegan, home to the music universe's most agitated hive of commenters.) You see, Del Rey is no regular old buzz beast. Plucked from obscurity in record time and with a boarding-school pedigree, she is a breathing projection of the most sensitive issues in navel-gazing today, chief among them authenticity, popularity and the intersection between the two. Given all of the wild imputations, interpretations and polarized reactions--again, despite Del Rey having done little more than release a very popular YouTube video--a more accurate "gangster" likeness may well be Hillary Clinton.

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Posted by at January 15, 2012 8:48 AM

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