Friday, 27 January 2012

Why We Are All Lana Del Rey(s)

Come and take a walk on the wild side
Let me kiss you hard in the pouring rain
You like your girls insane
Choose your last words
This is the last time
Cause you and I, we were born to die

I know, everybody is talking about her, writing about her, analysing so much as her every sneeze. But I felt left out, okay?!
So this is what this little blog is adding to the cacophony of Lana discussion (the Tower Of Rey-bel, if you will): we are all Lana Del Rey. Lana Del Rey is all of us.

Why? Because it doesn't matter who, what, when and why Lizzy Grant transformed into Lana Del Rey. She's a 25 year old girl/woman - I can feel a Britney lyric coming on there - who has found who she wants to be. I think I can state with some degree of authority, as someone who is also 25, that it is a weird age. You finally feel as though you are becoming the person you are meant to be, but you still have a lot to learn and mess things up on a regular basis. Very regular.

Discussions with a friend earlier tonight involved anecdote swapping about our late teens and early twenties. Otherwise known as 'The Dark Times'. Forgetting even the personal, academic and car-related screw-ups from that time, I can look back (read: squint through shaded eyes) at my outfit choices from just four years ago and want to DIE. Preferably QUICKLY, and where no-one will ever see my embarassed face again. I'll be honest, in 2005, I had shit hair. I'm not saying it's fantasticarama now, but back then, it was really shit. I went to three different universities and at each one, attempted to peel off the shabby layers of teenage chrysalis to unveal the sparkling, dazzling personality I hoped might lay beneath my dodgy jeans and heavy handed eyeliner applications - all to no avail. This stuff takes time.

*By the by, for anyone over the age of 25, I know this isn't exactly groundbreaking stuff. Bear with me, I have a point and will make it eventually. I promise.*
My point is (see, I told you) that sure, Lana/Lizzy looks pretty dreadful in those old YouTube videos, singing on stage in a godawful baggy green t-shirt and faded jeans, her hair peroxide yellow, her lips decidedly un-bee-stunged. Her songs are nice, her voice an even quieter version of its current babygirl whisper. But if you look n' listen closely, you can see the beginnings of Lana. The foundations of a star. 

And so, a few years later, she discovered hair dye and rollers and lipstick and/or a plastic surgeon. She got a good stylist. She worked with the best producers around right now. TA DA! She looks and sounds a whole lot better than she did before. Do you look exactly the same as you did three years ago (especially if you are 25 now)? If you do, then you might want to get a haircut. No offence. It's essentially all just about growing up.

The debate rages as to whether Lana's evolution is all just one big stage-managed piece of cynical marketing. Now, as much as I hate being sneakily sold anything, my answer to that is this: if she was completely void of talent, a hollow shell made beautiful by a money-hungry record label boss, then how would she get so many people to fall in love with her? There are twenty two million views and counting on Video Games. If that's not fans, then that's a lot of people who are morbidly curious.

Her live performances are shaky, nervous, awkward - and yet we are all fascinated by her. There is a difference between someone who is genuinely vomit-inducing awful on stage (anyone remember a pregnant Katie Price in a pink PVC catsuit, attempting to sing a Eurovision entry? Yeah, I had repressed that one too) and someone who is not conventionally perfect, who maybe makes mistakes, yet still has something special about them.   

I reckon Lana is special. I like everything about her. Maybe she is just a young woman, still discovering who she is. Or maybe she is a figment of a marketeer's imagination. If she is a made-up character, then I like that made-up character. Either way, she has hit on something genius, which has made her the fastest rising star on the planet.

That other bird who we all used to talk about, Gaga whatsherface, once said that we were all Born This Way. That's kind of true, but even she was Stefani Germanotta not so long ago.


#nowplaying Lana Del Rey - Born To Die (obviously)

All images & video: Lana Del Rey, Interscope


RedHead said...

YES. THIS. I was going to say a similar thing but as usual you beat me to it. Oh well. I'll say it ANYWAY :)

Jena Birch said...

Great post George. Lana is astonishingly beautiful - I just can't stop staring at her.. and her album is excellent. That is all!

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