Lana Del Rey Hides in Plain Sight

This is my confession

But where Earthquakes, with its simple lead single "Silent All These Years" and cover image of the overall-clad Amos attempting to bust out of a box, was about reclaiming an image in favor of "reality," Del Rey's output seems to be sublimating any and all aspects of her self that might be seen as confessional, in favor of putting forth even more artifice. Dig deeper, and it's hard not to wonder if both directions are similar reactions against both the singers' earliest days and the dominant trends of culture. What makes Del Rey's evolution a bit trickier is the increasing encroachment of the always-on online world, which requires at least some level of candor if only because artifice can be an exhausting prospect when always present. What would the blogosphere have made of Tori Amos if the Y Kant-to-Little Earthquakes trajectory had happened now? Perhaps the reaction to Del Rey is a hint, and it's enough to make one wonder if any artist wishing to shed their past can actually do so.

Here, kitty: Lana Del Rey
Nicole Nodland
Here, kitty: Lana Del Rey

mjohnston@villagevoice.com

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9 comments
Mauidog
Mauidog

For you, for you, it's all for youYou really don't like her / Is that True?Maybe just jealous / I don't get it....

KC Johnstone
KC Johnstone

By "makeover" you mean nose job and lip injections, right? Come on, let's get explicit!

Anon
Anon

For me the issue with her is that she fits the barbie doll/submissive girl bill so perfectly, that she is in many ways a setback for female musicians. She fits mainstream values like a glove, yet from day 1 she has been embraced by the so-called "indie" world as a paradigm of indie-ness...(hello Pitchfork)

I like her song a lot, video games that is, but I find it off-putting how her image is sold. This reminds me of something Richard Russell of XL said of Adele (of all people), that it was a moment where women could be mainstream but didn't have to be so sexualized. Well, let's reverse that then. The message behind her product for me is, well "if it doesn't work at first, get a nose job, lip fillers and pout. People will like you."

Beauty and sexiness hits hard. It's hard to look away. She reminds me of a grown-up version of Jean Benet (if that was her name), the little girl who was the beauty pageant queen before she died and looked like she'd learned to pout for the camera perfectly. She pleased people.

That makes me sad.

It makes me sad to realize that St Vincent, or Cat Power, or Julianna Barwick, will never, never get this much attention because they haven't been focusing on where the camera is located to frame their sexuality as product.

LocalSP1
LocalSP1

I like her and that's all that matters isn't it? If you like a certain singer or actor that's all that matters really. I happen to like Lana Del Rey's music and her lyrics so I will listen and support her career. I don't get this hate or dislike because she changed from Lizzie Grant to Lana. If something doesn't work for you, you change or you just end up beating a dead horse. Look at Madonna or Lady GaGa, even Aerosmith. They all changed their style so not to be stagnant.

Music like art is subjective. If you like something support it. If not, ignore it. Just like I ignore BonJovi.

Safaflowers
Safaflowers

I like the three Lana Del Rey songs I've heard. I also like that over the past two days I've watched both The Graduate and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid for the first time ever and got really happy when I discovered that Del Rey and a young Katharine Moss resemble eachother and that I loved them both.

Shaun McK
Shaun McK

I see the similarities between Tori Amos and Lana Del Rey's careers. However, Amos was openly candid with the press and her fans about how her first incarnation didn't work. Del Rey, to my knowledge, tried to hide hers. Maybe the question should be whether or not the blogosphere would have been less hard on her had she just come clean? Then she could have made it less about identity and more about her music... which is what Amos did.

maura
maura

That's what I'm pointing out, though. Transparency was sort of forced on Del Rey because of the "nothing ever goes away" nature of the Internet, whereas with Amos, it was a different time, and digging up the Y Kant Tori Read era would have taken a lot more work.

 
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