Sunday, January 29, 2012

Indie and Authenticity: Yes, Another Lana Del Rey Post

Sasha Frere Jones has a great piece  about Lana Del Rey and her long-awaited album, Born To Die, in the New York Times this week. I think he makes some pretty salient points about indie music, authenticity, and marketing, and why so many people continue to feel "duped" by this woman:
"The weirder strain of criticism concerns authenticity. People seem to feel that Del Rey is trying to trick us, though it’s impossible to figure out exactly what that trick would be, as we are dealing with an entertainer and her audience, not a naturally fractious relationship. Detractors cite a variety of presumed conspiracies, some involving the influence of her father, Rob Grant, who is a successful Internet entrepreneur; the rumor of manipulative managers guiding her; the reality of professional songwriters working with her; the question of who paid for the cartoons and the paparazzi footage of the actress Paz de la Huerta that appear in the “Video Games” clip; and how Grant’s top lip got so big so fast. (Grant says she’s undergone no surgical procedures.) Surely no equivalent male star would be subject to the same level of examination." (bolded by me)
This is what I find so frustrating about her critics. Not that I think any artist is above criticism, or that summarily denouncing a female artist is bad for the sisterhood or something, but because I can't think of an example where a male performer has had to undergo the same kind of scrutiny or had his authenticity questioned.  There are a handful of stars who still managed to maintain some shred of "realness" while basically transforming into a cartoon character. I'm 150-years-old remember? Let's say Marilyn Manson -- or hell, Alice Cooper. (Or Bowie, mentioned here .) Granted, comparing the two is like comparing apples to...  a tire fire, but women's authenticity so often comes under review that it's almost a given.

Further Reading:
Why Do You Hate Lana Del Rey? I Do Not Know Why I Hate Lana Del Rey (Jezebel)

1 comment:

  1. It really bugs me that Del Ray is getting so much criticism. Gwennie paltrow's mom is an actor, so she got into the biz thanks to her mom.

    Madonna, who is insufferable, has changed her persona hundreds of thousands of times and she's treated like the queen even though she hasn't been relevant in years.

    Rebecca Black is another product of a rich parent, and she's not even particularly talented and she got smeared all of the internet and beyond.

    Del Ray found something that worked for her, no matter who was guiding her. Nobody I know can shut up about her album, and it's gotten the most buzz I've seen in years as far as music goes. And no matter who's behind her, I like her music and the Born to die video is as visually appealing as anything I've seen in years. If it works, it works. People overthink things waaaay too much. Just enjoy the music. If you hate it, turn it off.

    Sorry for the long response. :-)