January 30, 2012

WAIT, POP STARS AREN'T ALLOWED TO BE POSERS?:

Becoming Lana Del Rey has served Lizzy Grant well (Fiona Shepherd, 30 January 2012, The Scotsman)

[T}hese being cynical times, little old Lana Del Rey generated as much hate as love, with the blogosphere going into a flap over whether or not her pillow lips were real - a bogus argument which conveniently forgets that pop music is riddled with artifice and that Grant is hardly the first singer/songwriter to adopt a persona and run a styling brush through her hair.

In fact, Lana Del Rey is as fine a pop creation as we have seen and heard these past few years. Grant shrewdly chose an evocative stage name, describing Del Rey as a "gangsta Nancy Sinatra", coined the term "Hollywood sadcore" as a pretty accurate summation of her sound, and took a leaf out of Lauren Bacall's book by deliberately lowering her voice to the sort of vampy alto drawl which kills you when it calls you "honey".

Her music is a cohesive blend of old- school cool and 21st-century pop, less eloquent and audacious than the songs of Amy Winehouse, but fresher than the prematurely aged MOR of Adele. On this much anticipated release - the first "proper" Lana Del Rey album - she repeatedly trots out the same themes (amour fou), characters (bad boys and wild girls) and situations (dressing up nice, drinking liquor and/or getting the hell out of town in a Pontiac), to which she adds a liberal dusting of standard American iconography (yup, that means James Dean).

Both the title track and Blue Jeans are cut from the same cloth as Video Games with their rapturous recipe of trip-hop beats, plangent guitar twang, cinematic strings, fatalistic romance and Del Rey's come-hither voice. But it's not all a David Lynch soundtrack. Off To The Races is a confident modern pop song, suffused with R&B style, lyrical sass and boasting a packed itinerary of references which takes in both Coney Island and Riker's Island on the east coast, and Chateau Marmont on the Sunset Strip. Vocally, Del Rey also covers her très cool bases, channelling not just Winehouse, but Patti Smith, Karen O and Santigold.



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Posted by at January 30, 2012 3:07 PM
  

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