In Defense of Lana Del Rey
By: Ali Fornash
After her pretty awful performance on Saturday Night Live this winter, recording artist Lana Del Rey has been under some pretty intense scrutiny. As one of the biggest LDR fans around ( may or may not believe her and I are soul mates). I will admit that performance was a huge flop. She seemed odd, awkward, distant and just “off” (although she was killin’ it in the white lace dress). However, she is certainly not the first artist to choke on SNL and Lana openly admitted it was a pretty bad performance. The reasons LDR haters are giving for disliking her are kind of ridiculous:
- The production of her album was paid for by her dad. Okay, so what?! My dad helped me pay for my college degree that led to my career, does that make me any less good at my job? So she is maybe a little privileged, maybe even a spoiled brat. Who is Hollywood isn’t? Since when is that a sin?
- Her lips are fake. And? At the risk of sounding redundant, SO WHAT?! So are Megan Fox’s, Kim Kardashion’s, Jennifer Gardner’s and Nicole Kidman’s. Just to name a few…
- Her name is fake. Ohhhhh Okay, I am 100% sure that Lady Gaga’s real name is actually Stefani Germanotta and Katy Perry’s real name is Katheryn Hudson. LDR’s real name is “Lizzie Grant”. Please forgive her for not wanting to a record under a name that sounds like she is the captain of a middle school soccer team.
Okay, Okay- I know that the “Lizzie Grant” thing runs deeper for skeptics. Lana first tried to make it as a singer about three years ago under her real name, Lizzie Grant, and was unsuccessful. But after some more writing, growing up a little and searching deep within herself she released “Born To Die” this January and it is pure genius, in my opinion. I relate to Lana on every level. Here are the reasons why you should overlook her privilege, fake lips and fake name and surrender to the mystery that is Lana Del Rey:
- Lana stands for something that is so rare in the music industry. She can’t be put in a box. Is she Rock? Is she pop? Is she Indie? She doesn’t put on a big show with costumes, back up dancers and lights. But she doesn’t sit on a stool and strum along on her guitar while signing upbeat lyrics. She is not Beyonce, but she is not Taylor Swift either. She represents something women and our culture aren’t “allowed” to be. She is sexy, but no too sexy. She is pure, but not too pure. She is a good girl with a bad streak. She is the girl you want to take home to meet your parents, but you know she is going to be a little wild later that night when you are alone, if you know what I mean… She is “the badest of the good girls.” Lana considers herself to be a “secret weirdo”, which makes her not only talented but interesting.
- She writes all of her own music. She actually got her start when she was in college when won a music writing competition. Her music is full of hidden meanings and double entendres. It’s Brilliant! Her songs are catchy on the surface, but if you are intelligent enough to really dive in and analyze it, you find it is more than it appears to be. Is “Born to Die” about a relationship set up to fail or about the complexity that is the meaning of life- forcing you to ask yourself, “What is the meaning of all this?” Is “Dark Paradise” about a boyfriend that dies or is it really about the hell that a person goes through when suffering from an eating disorder or addiction? Is “National Anthem” about a wanting to be with someone who is head over heels in love with her or about sleeping with a wealthy man for money?
- Her sound is unique. LDR has the darkness of Amy Winehouse, the haunting sound of Dolores O’Riordan (lead singer of the Cranberries), and the power of Adele. That is a pretty awesome mix, no? She is old world while somehow sounding so fresh and contemporary. I am not sure how she does it. It’s not just her music or her lyrics either her style is a modern twist on the 60’s. She calls herself a “Gansta Nancy Sinatra”.
“I think I’ve finally proven something to people who were cynical about me. Because they were cruel.” – Nancy Sinatra
Maybe she and Nancy Sinatra are much more alike than Lana Del Rey even realizes…..