THE RISE OF THE FEMME FATAL: LANA DEL RAY

I was reading an article on Adele written by none other than Jo Whiley, who bequeathed lavish and much deserved praise on the female inspiring young artist, when my breath caught at the mention of other artists that Whiley considered to be like minded and therefore worthy of her praise. Florence Welch, Laura Marling… Lana Del Rey.

That’s Right! Lana. Del. Rey!

I had first been introduced to the femme fatal singer with the doe eyes and cushiony lips at the beginning of the summer when a friend posted the youtube link for ‘Video Games’ on their face book wall. The track had gone viral and landed Del Rey bang smack in the middle of everyone’s radar and became the buzz word for most musical bloggers. I listened to the haunting Ballard as I got ready for work but alas didn’t really give it my full attention the first time round. Don’t get me wrong, I thought it was good, but INSANLEY AWESOME? as my friend had put it? I wasn’t sure. What I was sold on though was the video cuts of scenes of 1970s Hollywood glam and nostalgic grainy home footage of various past times from the era before HD made life clinically pristine. Having always felt that I was ‘born too late! In to a world that doesn’t care’ (the only good lyric to grace that particular track) I felt the usual cord stirring within me that normally only activates during pyjama junkie nights of Gone with the wind and Whittington Heights. It was for this reason that I watched ‘Video Games’ again and fell head over heels for the sultry tones of the girl formerly known as Lizzy Grant.

Since that fateful day Del Rey has been championed by Fern Cotton not once, not twice but three times played on the Radio One show.  Sat in the front row whilst Prabal Gurung’s models walked down the catwalk to video games. Her European tour sold out faster than you could say ‘Holy Smoke!’ (The London show sold out in 30 minuets!) Almost everyone is whispering about the fiendishly foxy New Yorker who has been gracing London with her presence for the past year.

Like any beautiful talented person that hits the blogosphere, there is already the backlash to her sudden fame. Between the talk of a seedy gritty past (she lived in a trailer park,  which automatically = trash of course!) Lana herself has mentioned that she no longer drinks thanks to a stint of ‘drinking too much’ and knowing that she is safer without it. Many a Indie music blogger has slated her for being the cleverly engineered product of a record label, right down to her supposed fake lips (Del Rey denies having any work done) But if all this is anything to go by then Lana is well on her way to being a superstar, for as we know, no press is bad press. In interviews Lana comes across differently in each one I’ve read so far. Depending on how comfortable the interviewee manages to make her, I’ve found her to be guarded and even ever so slightly pretentious (I like to think this wasn’t intended, but then I may be being biased.) Then in another she will be candidly open about her embarrassment over terming herself as a ‘Gangster Nancy Sinatra’ on face book as a bit of a joke, not imagining for a moment that it would be a tag line used by everyone for her new and individual style of singing.

And this is why we love to put musicians on a pedestal. Because of their willingness to bleed out all their hurt and suffering and then to air out the laundry in the lyrics that they spin for us in a beautiful swoon of a track.

Some bloggers have even criticized the public for taking someone with a little talent and buying all the hype about how cool a person is and making them a superstar. But I ask, what makes a person cool in the first place? And when or why does a person decide to fall for a curtain track and say ‘Man that’s awesome’. Of course there is always the allure of liking something just because everyone else does. But I like to think that in this day and age people are individual enough to like something for themselves, not because they are following the masses. As I have said, for me the turning point of loving Video Games was the romantic nostalgia that the video itself brought to the track. A lot of the time it will be the way I am feeling at the moment of hearing something new. Where I was and who I was with, what the weather was like and what I could smell.

What ever your reason for being fascinated with this new addition to the rise of female talent, I’m sure Lana Del Rey is not complaining. And if Blue jeans (the B-side to Video games) is anything to go by, the only way is up!