Thursday, February 09, 2012

Lana Del Rey.

There are no pictures for this post, because this post relates to music.

Normally I don't weigh-in with opinions on popular music unless it's to occasionally remind people that Lady Gaga is Madonna, not David Bowie. And the world moves forward, deaf to my protestations, and that is the natural order of things.

But I feel compelled to point out something that all the music industry critics seem to have missed.

I keep reading critics wondering why there is such a huge backlash against Lana Del Rey. They point out that Bob Dylan worked under an assumed name, The Strokes are rich boys, and Elton John is gay. So (they claim) hating Del Rey for using an assumed name/persona and coming from money is hypocritical.

Of course they're right- but they are missing the point.

Music like 'Born to Die' doesn't traditionally make it to such rarified air as Del Rey's team have managed to launch that record into- it doesn't fit the mainstream profile.

But it sold.

Because people are so enchanted by the concept that someone like Del Rey exists out there, weaving such ghostly musical components together, almost as if the music was made of air (which of course, it is). They are enchanted that she could be real, genuine, not manufactured. That someone so ethereal and alternative could exist in a vacuous mirror ball like L.A., and not be corrupted by the trash and filler.

They don't care if her name isn't real, it's part of the art. But when they discovered her vocal style had changed since her initial EP as Lizzy Grant, the authenticity of the dream began to show its edges...and the cracks widened with each closer investigation.

And so the people felt betrayed. Because given the choice, they would choose to crown artists that produced work to a higher standard than the inhabitants of the charts, they just need guidance. But the video for 'Video Games' on You Tube went viral because the people needed to believe someone out there in the world still believed in MUSIC. Believed in bucking the trends. And even though there are beats on the record, contemporary instrumentation, high production, the result is still ethereal. It still takes you "there". At least, we thought it did, while we thought it was genuine.

In a world of ever-accelerated culture, where 15 minutes of fame has narrowed to seconds, the idea of a mainstream anti-hero, a pure, un-auto-tuned, effortlessly talented, and authentic individual who is unaffected by the disposable production line of chart music, is not only desired, it is essential.

The fact Del Rey doesn't try to throw down dance routines and in your face gimmicks is viewed as a positive, not lacking.

Music consumers are strangled by a lack of soulfulness, of unvarnished honesty. This is why Adelle is so universally lauded. The production on her record is irrelvant- it's her voice, her emotion, and the rawness of her experience that connects you to her. It could have been recorded at home and it would still have touched the same nerve. But the people need more...

And America needed its own incarnation, with its own twist, it's own story.

It was Del Rey's calculated betrayal of the music loving public that has led to her downfall, and it is that same betrayal that music critics don't seem to be able to see. They write about it, sure, but they don't equate it with relevance, as they are in the main tired and disappointed with the choices and opinions of the great unwashed.

Musical elitism precludes them from sympathy toward the people who funded the careers of Limp Bizkit or Lil Wayne.

But souls need nutrition, and given better options, people make better choices. This applies to music too. And for a moment in time, it appeared as if the people had a saviour.

And when they saw that she was a false prophet, the crucifixion commenced...


Addendum: 18th August 2013.

I wrote "In a world of ever-accelerated culture, where 15 minutes of fame has narrowed to seconds, the idea of a mainstream anti-hero, a pure, un-auto-tuned, effortlessly talented, and authentic individual who is unaffected by the disposable production line of chart music, is not only desired, it is essential."

Her name is Lorde, from New Zealand.






1 comment:

SuperMorgann said...

Exactly.