Sweary’s Jaw: Lana Del Meh.
A couple of months back, we were all very excited about Lana Del Rey. Oh, buzzin’ at the chops, we were. A doe-eyed meta-ingénue with big hair and cartoon lips, calling herself a “gangster Nancy Sinatra” and droning like an orgasmic swarm, she was hipster-fodder of the most wonderful composition. And then there was Video Games, her gorgeously retro launch song, which was accompanied by a video that looked home-made and augmented her ethereal growls so beautifully, the entire effect was nigh-on creepy. Lana Del Rey was perfect.
But, like everything that the cool kids enjoy, she had to be torn down and picked apart by the cooler kids. What they discovered was that Lana Del Rey’s real name… wasn’t Lana Del Rey. That, far from being a bedroom dreamer who spliced together her own music videos from footage she kept on projector rotation, she was… a professional artist. With a record company. And managers. And PR people. Oh, the deception.
Everyone’s extremely tumultuous emotions came to a head after Miss Lana’s SNL appearance in the US, with the coolest kids birthing kittens over the idea that such an unproven artist would ever be allowed guest in the hallowed… erm, TV sketch show. Indeed, it seems we were lucky her mere presence alongside such past luminaries as ‘N Sync, Justin Bieber and Eagle Eye Cherry didn’t upset the Earth’s gravitational field and bring about Armageddon. The performance was so sacrilegious, it even managed to upset professional kook Juliette Lewis. Looking at Lana’s piece afterwards, I didn’t see anything particularly etiquette-shattering about it. In fact, I don’t think I saw anything particularly particular about it. It was less heart-stopping than stop-gapping, neither here nor there, really, but certainly not a bad effort from a new artist who’d been catapulted into the public eye like a midge onto a windscreen.
Lana Del Rey had been found guilty of not owning her own name, facade or lips. The sneersters wouldn’t have credited her had she arrived into the SNL studios on a unicorn and sang like Montserrat Caballé crossed with a hummingbird.
The howls of anguish from, and later the thoughtful analysis of, the Lana Del Rey deception strike me as mind-meltingly stupid. Hell, they practically strike me mind-meltingly stupid, they’re so potent. Why it’s even treated as a “reveal” that Lana Del Rey’s real name is Lizzy Grant perplexes me. In this day and age, when the process of stardom has been so exposed, scrutinised and evaluated, can anyone truly have been surprised that such a polished product as Lana Del Rey didn’t simply roll out of the womb? I’m not just talking about the slobbering sycophants whose loyalties were exposed as lying with the glamour rather than the music, the chest-beating idiots who were so upset that they’d publicly supported a plain ole’ popstar that they’ve devoted the next twelve months of their calendar to tearing strips out of her. I’m talking about the reflective, respected journalists and bloggers who have treated LanaLizzy as an actual story.
Was there ever such chin-stroking scrutiny of David Bowie’s claim to dukedom, or the actual status of Madonna’s hymen? It’d make you think you’ve been transported to a mystical land of arse-clenching pedantry. “What did I do to deserve this?” you might wonder, thinking what a nuisance it is that vengeful English teachers have powers of telekinesis now. But no. You’re still on Earth, in the information age, and people really are still stupid enough to be intrigued by a pop star working with an alter ego. God help them when they discover Lady Gaga wasn’t named after Mr. and Mrs. Gaga’s favourite Disney heroine.
Why is it so hard for people to accept that entertainers frequently – and validly – embellish their characters in order to successfully sell their art? Why is it worthy of investigation if a performer has both a private and public persona? Was Lizzy Grant, whose first venture as a professional musician didn’t work out, not entitled to reinvent herself with the help of business wizards? Was she not expected to?
Imagine a world with entirely “authentic” popstars. Empty, innit?
What’s sad about all of this, the rapid Lana bashing vs the fervent Lana studying, is that there’s an actual album on the way out that can never be reviewed honestly because we’ve all overdosed on Lana preamble. I’m sick of Born To Die already, and I’ve only heard three of its songs. That’s not right. What’s sadder, of course, is that this has all been very cleverly plotted by Lana’s People (like Pan’s People, but with GHD’d hair), and that the gnashing, the bashing, and the intellectual wanking all lead to the same thing. A massive pot of money. Most of which Lizzy Grant will never see.
No secret that, either.