|Lana Del Rey|
So last time I wrote an essay explaining Lana Del Rey's newest video for Born To Die. I didn't get into the typical things everyone else on the internet is writing/blogging about her; I barely mentioned it/how ridiculous it is, and just wrote about the work. Now, her record is out, and the internet chatter about her hasn't seemed to die at all, like I assumed/hoped it would. But this is weird, it's like everyone will not leave this artist alone; it's like an unreasonable agenda of some kind against her, without any good reasons. I feel this is worthy of this essay; so many people really have some huge sticks up their pretentious asses over Lana Del Rey. The two main things people will just not let go are: her millionaire father and her odd SNL performance. And her supposed (it looks certain to me) lip surgery, and even more trivial/just silly things to try to discredit a new artist over. One main thing that irritates me is, some who never even saw the SNL performance, will not give this artist a chance now. That is just total bullshit, in fact, that's the only way I can describe this whole thing; bullshit. Really there's no "proper" way to put it. I've never seen a brand new, unknown artist, (to mainstream audiences..) get so much hate before their debut record is even out. If the things were even somewhat justifiable, I'd maybe understand, but it's as if this artist was handpicked to drag down, and sadly, it seems most just WANT to see this artist fail. Why? What exactly is going on here? I often hear the she's "manufactured" mantra, then these people in the same blog are talking about Justin Timberlake's new film (In Time) coming to DVD/BR, and how they can't wait for him to put out his long overdue new record. WHAT?! Now I actually like JT's music, some of it, that last record was almost a perfect pop record; right? But I am not a pretentious art snob, who goes on about "selling out" (OK: if an artist sells ONE burned cd of their work, for a PENNY; they have sold out; everyone you listen to has "sold out" somehow!) or accuses artists of being manufactured and such. But IF I were, (a pretentious art fuck..) come on; Justin Timberlake was pretty much groomed for his job as an entertainer sense childhood; by fucking Disney! Yet Lana Del Rey is "manufactured"..Okay.
Watch SNL's Kristen Wiig spoof Lana wonderfully, on the episode following her performance where, "I must have clubbed a baby seal while singing the Taliban national anthem." - Wiig as Rey.
I loved the SNL performance. I liked SNL's response to the bad feedback on last nights episode, (the next live episode sense she was the guest) Kristen Wiig spoofed her, but they actually kinda had her back from all the odd (it REALLY is strange!) hate: "Yes, I didnt live up to the HIGH BAR SNL has set with such guests as The Baha Men, Bubba Sparxxx, ect"; LOL! And "Correct, NO respectable/successful artist has EVER changed their real name!..except Sting, Madonna, Cher, Eminem, Jay-Z, ALL rappers, Lady Gaga, ect." Ha! Very True. My favorite line Wig said was, "I get accused of being stiff, distant, and weird. The reason for this is: I'M stiff, distant, and weird!" Nice, I'm glad SNL/Kristen Wig managed to spoof and defend her in a really clever way. It seems even a show that infamously mocks/trashes everything, agrees with me that people are going way out of line as far as Lana/her performance. "Distant and weird" or "eccentric" is the word I'd use, (some think "weird" is an insult; I certainly do not, proud to be weird/eccentric!) is a pretty good description of Lana's music; perhaps "stiff" too. In the essay on her music video, I noted her music does has a unnervingly slow pace, purposefully; and much like the slow build of dread (or "weird/eccentric" things) of a David Lynch film. I like this style, it's very innovative. I can see others not personally liking a sound; but this giant attack is more so toward the artist herself; rather than the art. That should NEVER happen in art, it's very trivial; that's why I often don't WANT to know how my favorite artists are as people; it's irrelevant, only the art matters.
I was really shocked that so many agreed with that jackass NBC news anchor, (yeah..like I care what "news" people say anyway.. The news is all scripted; I dare anyone to argue that after watching These 2-3 mins!) who started the whole SNL aspect, that Lana was the WORST performer on SNL EVER. What? Where on earth is this all coming from? The spoof was very right; I remember MANY times of watching SNL semi- periodically through my life, changing over to Mad TV or ANYTHING else, due to a poor/uninteresting performance by a new (or worse, older..) artist. So what exactly is everyone's problem? Is it the issue of her father's money; that seems to be the most talked about "negative" thing, surrounding Del Rey. Adele has very fucking wealthy relatives TOO! Nobody has ever mentioned/questioned that, or attacked HER credibility; shes the only artist Lana couldnt beat on the Billboard charts; she debuted at #2, (#1 on itunes though.) because she couldnt knock Adele's 18 week #1 spot. (even though I like Lana's LP better, I love Adele, though shes far too overrated..) Lady GaGa's father is rich as well, you may hear some talk of that because of her insane fame; people attack everything about you when you reach THAT level of public scrutiny. Yet GaGa never took as much shit about her fams money in her whole career so far, than Lana has, just as its starting! And as an artist, and speaking for the 1000s of artists Ive known/know; ALL would use money given to them from a relative to help their art career! I certainly would! Wtf is wrong with that? Nothing. People seem to think shes just using money to "buy fame." Lana Del Rey isn't doing that at all, though certain other artists do just that all the time, some through their entire career; nobody ever calls them out! A great example is the almost 60 year old pop icon (key word: icon) Madonna; she "buys" her fame. I just wonder how much she bought Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. for, to guest on her new boring single; not to mention her most likely buying the Superbowl '12 halftime spot to promote her new record. (we've all heard how much a 30 second commercial on the SB costs..can you imagine an entire halftime performance?? Only artists like Madonna CAN buy promotion like that..) If Lana even WAS doing this, she would have debuted at #1; news anchors and bloggers who know NOTHING at all about the music industry should just shut up about things they are ignorant about. Lana is using money that ANYONE** would use to help her career. (**aside from a couple art snobs who literally WILL die of starvation to uphold their pretentious "principles"..)
Her performance on SNL was simply, not what people expected. Yes, she was visibly nervous while performing her work, for the 1st time ever on live/national television. It was very obvious she was, but she just went with it and gave a semi-ironic performance in my opinion. It was awkward, but as a performer I can't see any other way to save such a huge performance. I disagree that it was so awful to begin with, but ok, lets say this is in fact her worst performance; so what? Sense then she has did several stellar TV performances, go waste a few hours on youtube and see. And also from viewing youtube videos of her other live work; she seems like an excellent live artist. To me it seems she's a great new performer with a distinct style of her own; where do people get "manufactured pop" from? SNL was a tiny fluke at worst, that she redeemed; that's an outstanding stage performer. People were bitching because she didnt have a full record (LP) out yet (it came out like 4 days later..) and SNL's stage is somehow "sacred." Please. Ok, I'm not personally a fan of Ashley Simpson's music/work, but I even thought THAT old, uncalled for uproar was BS too. People are ignorant: EVERY guest, EVER on SNL has lip sang, except TWO (both refused to play if they had to..) Nirvana and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. So every one of those other artists over the years has. Actually, ALL LIVE TV performances are lip sync 98-99% of the time, its just how TV works! Now Ashley did NOT redeem her onstage fuck up; she did the awkward dance; THAT'S what did her in. (still nobody talked about her being manufactured!) Chris Brown just simply cranks whatever hot club single he currently is trying to promote, for his TV spots (and he did exactly this on SNL..), and just dances, not even bothering to lip sync at least 80% of the time; sometimes never. Nobody seems to have a problem (to where it becomes a massive ordeal like this!) with that; he's not even singing at all! (I don't have a problem with that, he dances; very well. My point is, that goes on without a word, and Lana's criticism is a goddamn top news story..) So people bitching about Del Rey is just beyond ABSURD to me. Like SNL joked, they've had many, um..questionable (artistically that is) artists on the show.
Many seem to think Lana is an "online/youtube star," and she didnt "deserve" to be there, and thats the main problem. No. ALL mainstream artists utilize the internet and specifically youtube now for promotion; the music industry has changed as a whole, significantly, because of social networks and youtube. Napster/all other 1st gen file sharing deals changed the industry (even MORE drastically) back then, now the internet is changing music/art yet again. I think its for the better and a great thing! Im ecstatic, that friends of mine/unknown artists/ect are getting mainstream attention like magazine covers/articles, Mtv VMA nominations, ect. Its a good thing! I find it funny there's all this mess questioning Lana being on SNL, and next weeks music guest IS LITERALLY a "youtube star," again without ANY kind of record out: Karmin. Other than one single and a couple CDs worth of COVERS; which is her rise to fame online. Karmin (with her fiance) do really interesting covers of popular mainstream songs on youtube. My favorite is her cover of Chris Brown, Busta Rhymes, & Lil Wayne's "Look At Me Now;" really neat cover! (though by sheer coincidence, the two members of Karmin at times remind me of the two old SNL characters who sang pop songs with a keyboard..Will Ferrell is the guy, remember? haha..) But isnt this the exact kind of "online/trendy" hot thing that so many are trying to say Lana is, and why she wasnt "SNL worthy?" Anyone can see Lana is more "legit" of an artist, come ON! I dont want to sit here and diss Karmin either, she seems like a good artist, but she IS an "online sensation thing" that is trying to reach mainstream radio and may well succeed. I think Karmin's single is catchy enough, they have talent, but what will happen if she (or he) mess up on their 1st live national TV performance?? The same unnecessary outrage as with Lana? I kinda doubt it because if you're reading this (pre-SNL performance next week) you probably don't even know who Karmin is; Lana had a few months worth of internet buzz prior; a LOT of it. Her fault?, um, no. I think it is a GREAT thing if SNL starts giving new/unknown artists such a break. Artists used to have to be HUGE, or at least have a big single out (^^ see the Baha Men, ect..) and thats why SNL's "stage" has such a big reputation and the cause for the Lana BS. But I HOPE SNL, along with the music industry, IS FORCED to change what artists to showcase; as the internet once again, is changing art in such a great way! Tyler the Creator would NOT have won best new artist on the VMAs last year, if not for the "wave" of artists coming out online. So to me (who also happens to be an artist..) its absolutely great, I'm happy to death these artists are making it/changing music and the music industry!
I wont even waste my time talking about some of the other fucking stupid things Lana Del Rey's getting shit for; such as her lips. WHO CARES?? She denys ever having any work on her lips, she PROB did though (it looks that way to me..), but who cares? Only gossip mongers like Perez Hilton, care about shit like plastic surgery..Does the fact (or not..fact..) change the way the music sounds, no, come on. Some of the other things, if you can believe it, get even more trivial; I really have NO idea why this great new artist is having so much mud unjustly slung at her. There was an unnecessary amount of prementioned hype engulfing her; all internet hype. These are the same people who talked her up, then when they realized she wasn't Adele or Lady GaGa decided to swifty turn on her for very silly/irrelevent reasons, and sadly this may follow her around though this entire outstanding record. That's just incredibly fucked. I mentioned how the internet/youtube/ect has changed the industry so much, but here's an example of how that exact same great tool (the internet) could become a nail in a coffin that an artist may never even had to begin with. I will seriously be upset if people are still talking about these same things when her sophomore LP drops. Like I mentioned, what truly irritates me, is the people who will read some ignorant dick's blog or whatever, and never even give the artist a chance, when it may have been their favorite record of the year, or ever; that's the point. This isnt "did u hear Lady GaGa has a penis?" or stupid shit like that, people are saying she has no talent and deserves no recognition, on the basis of some awfully ridiculous things, having nothing to even do with the art itself. I'm glad she's taking this much like the way SNL parodied her, it seems; just laughing it off, with a healthy dose of sarcasm, and continuing to perform and make her interesting music. That's all it should ever be about; an artist's ART. So keep singing with that haunting and distant stellar vocal style, adding an weird/eccentric twist on what (in the mainstream) IS starting to sound too similar, and as critics keep pretentiously complaining; keep on singing in their faces, with that sexy sarcastic smirk.
~ @deadpopstar ~