Thursday, February 20

Style Icon :: Lana Del Rey

Lately I have had a terrifyingly sudden and intense addiction to everything Lana Del Rey. Her music -- which i listen to over and over again every day -- her style, her videos, her makeup -- which i attempt to emulate sometimes -- just... everything.

I love the 40s, L.A., Gangster's Girl, Sexy, Hip-hop, Lolita vibe so many of her songs have that makes you want to dance and sway and drive under bright, shimmering California skies.

Her sound is singular, in that I've spent the last few weeks trying to find someone with similar songs or that makes me feel the same way, and I just can't manage it. I've listened to a lot of recommendations, and artists she attributes as inspiration, but still... not the same.
Husky sometimes, deep and soulful others, then light and airy and whimsical.

Her songs sound like pop-hip-hop (Off To the Races), anthems (Born to Die), soul-searching melodies (Ride), lounge music (Body Electric) and James Bond themes (Million Dollar Man).

And her look is sensual and sexy and 1940's glam that I just can't get over. So what if her lips are done or she has a carefully selected make-up artist (which I'm assuming), that's her choice, and I assume she likes the way she looks, which is the whole point!
I have even found photos of her with blue hair, though I can never tell if they're real or photo-shopped. Still!

I read a review of her album, "Born to Die", that complained that too many of her songs re-used the same ideas and styles.
Personally, I love that. Really, really, love that. I hate it-- loathe it-- when I find a song I absolutely love, then get the artist's album only to find that it's the only song like it that they've ever done! The most noteworthy of these I can think of is Fiona Apple's "Paper Bag" which I had a very long love affair with a year or so back. But when I downloaded her discography (yes, I do that, but I support artists when I can, too) I couldn't find a single other track that was like that song. Yes, I like Fiona Apple's songs, but I looove that one, and it's the only one of its kind. That makes me sad.
This is not the case with "Born to Die". Almost every song is jazzy, sensual, sexy, fun, and down-right amazing. In fact, the ones I'm not as big a fan of are the slow, purely romantic/sad songs like "Video Games", "Summertime Sadness", or "Young and Beautiful". Not saying I don't like those, but I definitely don't put them on repeat like others

There's also complaints that Lana Del Rey isn't a real person. Her real name is (was?) Lizzy Grant, and she was a would-be artist that just sort of fell through. When she couldn't make it, she disappeared, and later on Lana Rey Del Mar appeared, touting a huskier, darker voice, a very rich image, and  a new sound. Rey's success didn't take long, but when fans realized the connections, people lashed out at her for faking who she is. Again, i disagree here. So she's not actually Lana Del Rey? I love the character she's created and the persona, even if it's not a real person. It doesn't make her music less beautiful or sexy or fun.

But there are other critiques of her work that I relate to, such as this (well-earned) rant about the video for "Ride" which points out the big flaws in the [very very pretty] music video-- particularly, its glorification of the character's (Lana's) dependence on the men in her sad life, and her complete abandonment of self in favor of their company and support. It touts the idea of independence and freedom, but always seems to be centered around the men she seems to give herself up to.
How Weetzie (and yet still culturally incorrect/rude) is this scene??
So, is she perfect? No.
Does that detract from the inspiration and vibe I find in her?

She's flawed and some of her ideas are flawed, but that makes her much more of a down-to-earth icon that I kind of appreciate. We all do stupid things and hop onto wrong bandwagons. Look at Weetzie's use of Native culture in Weetzie Bat. Do we like Weetzie, or FLB books, less because of these instances? No. It's important to understand and acknowledge the problems in our heroes and inspiration, and learn and seek to not repeat those flaws, but not having them at all...? There's no such person.
Learn from your inspiration's flaws. Be better than them!

Back to the point.

My favorite songs::

Off to the Races
Born to Die
Million Dollar Man
Blue Jeans
Dark Paradise
This is What Makes us Girls
Body Electric

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