LANA_AGAINST

Against Lana Del Rey

LANA_AGAINST

Lana Del Rey is one of the most divisive figures in pop music. As she approaches the release of her second album, Ultraviolence, two of our writers took sides. One in defence of Lana and the other against. Yesterday, Sam wrote in defence of the singer. Today, Hannah writes in opposition to Lana Del Rey. Let the battles begin. 

Let’s just start by saying I am someone never short of an opinion. Founded or otherwise, once I’ve settled on said opinion, I dig my heels firm into the ground on which I stand and should you have a hope in hell of changing said opinion, come armed with a hefty entourage of big ol’ beefy men to drag me kicking and screaming from my stake on a patch of self assured, unnecessarily opinionated turf.

This is relevant only because sometime during 2011 I decided to hate Lana Del Rey. Or Lizzie Grant. Or Elizabeth Grant. Or whatever name she was choosing to use at that stage of her career.

Now, in anticipation of her second major-label album release, Ultraviolence, with google producing more than 98,900,000 search results in less than 0.25 seconds for those three little big-money-making words, Lana Del Rey, I thought it best to revisit exactly what it is about the boofy-hair-come-boofy-lipped beauty I just can’t bring myself to endure. You know, for rebuttal's sake.

While a fair amount of hate is attributable to the fact that Born To Die alone has sold more than the combined efforts of Queen B’s last two studio albums, it goes deeper. Sorry Beyonce.

Reading Ms Del Rey’s interview with The Fader last week, it’s impossible to ignore the first mention of any of her creative potential is not, as you would expect, regarding her languid vocals or her new, rock-focused direction but rather her synonymous video clips. “Lana Del Rey’s filmography is a master class on how to build an icon,” while said by Duncan Cooperin's reference to the “shaky clip of a teary 2013 performance, shot on a phone by a fan in Dublin,” it does seem to echo a similar sentiment of Del Rey’s own: “My songs are cinematic so they seem to reference a glamorous era or fetishize certain lifestyles.” And one again found in Nitsuh Abebe’s article for Pitchfork that notes rather despairingly, “In a sense, these great videos are oddly terrible at their job: Instead of selling you the music and showing you how it can feel, they actually hint at what the music lacks, the places it could go but has chosen not to.”

Del Rey’s music, image, videos, life, are so tightly tangled in one aesthetic, that there is simply no room to allow the viewer (should be/ would be listener) any truly unique or personal experience when engaging with her works. I’m hesitant to merely say “songs” because an overarching criticism is that just as Abebe suggests, her music is almost incomplete without an accompanying video clip. And, with her video clips more often than not forming literal representations of her already didactic lyrics, neither of them are anything without the sticky glue of Del Rey’s public persona. As it goes, Lana is as Lana does. Which is great if, as an artist, all you are interested in is carving out a niche for yourself, but when that niche becomes so tightly defined and imbued with cultural references of a bygone era, for the audience, it’s almost like falling down a very un-fun rabbit hole in which Del Rey’s nostalgia-by-design becomes “a fantasy world that makes you long for reality.”

The thing about Del Rey is that, yes, while her music is undeniably evocative, it is only evocative in a singular dimension that “relies on clichés ("God you're so handsome/ Take me to the Hamptons") rather than specific evocations.” It is such an exacting formula for nostalgia that should you deviate or be unwilling to travel down the same sepia-toned pathway, filled with the icons of way-back-when Americana, her music loses a decent amount of poignancy. While I acknowledge songs like Video Games, use this nostalgia to comment on 21st century livin’, if I can’t share the memory, I can’t learn from it. In this way her impeccably constructed image, coupled with her impeccably construct sound are, well... incredibly disengaging.

On that note, the constructed nature of Lana Del Rey’s career, that often attracts criticism for lack of authenticity and calls for the real Lana to please stand up, are surprisingly not a part of this argument. “Fake it 'til you make it,” has been a catch cry for masses of young, off-broadway hopefuls for generations now. Identity is fluid. It charges full steam ahead towards destination unknown, rarely touching the same stone twice, even for the most obdurate of personalities, of which Del Rey is not. To criticise the Del Rey today for not being the Lizzie Grant of the noughties, is no different from criticising the Miley Cyrus of today for not being the Hannah Montana of Disney fame. As a young woman on the cusp of adulthood, change is inevitable. Hell, even as an old woman on the cusp of menopause, change is inevitable. Change is ALWAYS inevitable. Were Lana Del Rey to do what Jon Caramanica suggests and wash that paint off her face and try again in a few years, she would be absolutely no better off, hounded by the exact same accusations of inauthenticity and falsehood.

What I will call bullshit on is that we, well you, her adoring fans, are supposed to take some solace from the too-well rehearsed party line, ‘while you might not know who she is, have faith nonetheless, she doesn’t know either.’ Poor, poor, lost soul Lana. After all, as Del Rey so succinctly puts it, she’s just “fucking around.” Reinvention is vital to success in an era of minute-attention spans, but really, who’s buying the just “fucking around” attitude? That, my friends is bullshit. That a woman can double Beyonce’s record sales just by “fucking around” and we’re supposed to lap it up, is quite frankly an insult. Alter egos, multiple personalities, stage presences, genuine experimentation, a new pair of shoes, a new “do,” are all part of staying alive as the pop machine churns ever onwards, but have some integrity while you rip through your mothers dress-up draw. Change with intention. Change from the core. Change for personal growth. Change and damn well say you’re changing. As it is, Caramanica hits the nail on the head in his New York times article, “People don’t know what to do with this unformed thing they’ve been told they need to care about; crushing it is easy, almost humane.”

Sitting here with my Mum, giving her a brief education on just who the enigma Lana Del Rey might be; her response? “She should just chuck it in, do away with her failed rendition of 60s screen siren sexuality and be a nice girl.”

Here, here.

Read the companion piece to this: In Defence of Lana Del Rey.

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Top 5 Music & Fashion Collabs

Kermit Cintron vs Walter Mathysse

Fashion and music often collide, sometimes with great success, sometimes with well, none at all. Cue, Tiesto and Guess’ collaboration. With the news Solange Knowles is following in Zoe Kravitz’s footsteps as the covergirl for ASOS’s June magazine, we decided to have a look at our top five music X fashion collaborations that leave the rest for fashion dead. Yes, Kanye and his t-shirt made the cut. Yes, we’re not sure how to feel about that either.

 

Amy Winehouse X Fred Perry

Kermit Cintron vs Walter Mathysse

The late soul songstress released a total of four collections with iconic Brit-boy label Fred Perry that featured argyle sweaters, short-shorts and polo tops inspired by the singers personal style. Notably, the fourth and final collection was released mere months after the singers passing with all profits being donated to the Amy Winehouse Foundation, a charity for at-risk youth.

 

Rihanna X River Island

Give me a piece o’dat Ri Ri! Not only did Rihanna’s 3 season strong (Spring, Autumn, Winter 2013) collaboration with the British fashion house mean fans had direct access to the starlet's flamboyant style, it also demonstrated to the family-run business that expansion into Australasia and the US is definitely on the cards. Good news all round, right? The collections included over-sized everythings alongside barely-there nothings in a range of floral, tartan, metallic and camouflage prints. Check out her winter collection if you’re in the market for a ball gown or two.

 

A.P.C X Kanye West

Proving to the fashion industry that he has more to give than that one very white very t-shirt-like t-shirt, Kanye West announced his second collaboration with French brand A.P.C at their capsule collection party in January this year. Featuring military inspired trench coats, American denim-on-denim and a casual blanket or two, West’s latest designs will be available in september this year. Hooray for blanket fashions!

 

PUMA x Solange Disc Collection

My desire to be Solange has just sky-rocketed to new heights. Recently named as Puma’s Creative Consultant, her first undertaking was the “Girls of Blaze” project that saw three New York Designers reinterpret the brand's iconic Disc System, a tightening system that did away with traditional shoelaces in the 1990s in favour of a rotating dial, via the vibrant street life of Brazil.

 

Adidas X Pharell

Look this is neither here nor there, and we don’t really know what to expect from the collaboration other than it will be gooooood. And probably feature an oversized hat or two.

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Anatomy of a Travel Playlist

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With Easter holidays fast approaching and a substantial amount of music heads jetting off to the U S of A to partake in Coachella frivolities, we, the(in)terns, anticipate long plane, train and automobile rides ahead for many of our readers. Accordingly, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to help you construct the ultimate playlist to accompany the long hauls and sleepless journeys. Here are 8 songs that need to be included on all travel playlists.

The ‘Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow’ Song

Maybe it’s your family, maybe it’s your cat, maybe it’s your bed and favorite granola. Whatever the case may be, one thing assured by all travel plans is that you will inevitably be leaving someone or something you love at home. Pack your bags, put them at the front door, do a couple of last minute checks (do a couple more) and pause for a moment to remember all the good you have to come back to.

The ‘Lets Get This Party Started’ Song

Enough of that. Lets blow this joint!

The ‘Everyone Knows the Words to This Bad Boy’ Song

Because, Beyonce.

The 'Where the snacks at' Song

No matter how long the journey, snacks are a must. There's something strangely hopeful about catching that first whiff of a sweet, sweet sugary snack or hearing the first crunch of a salt and vinegar chip, distant on the backseat. Snacks promise a fulfilment on what can often seem like a never ending road or long haul flight... That is until the sugar high crashes and all hope is lost.

The ‘I Never EVER want to Hear This Again’ Song

In years to come, when this song finds its way onto mix 106.5, and it’s library of great classic hits, you’ll be driving your kids down the dusty road to suburbia and its promise of yet another game of soccer, football, netball, <insert cursed extra curricular activity here>, when suddenly you’ll be thrust back in time to a trip you took one Easter break with your BFFs - wait, where are they now? - and reminded of your wayward youth and that time you lived off salt and vinegar chips for 16 hours. This will be your Easter anthem.

The ‘White Noise’ Song

Unlike the bombastic nature of songs 2 through 5, consider this song a bit of a ninja. It’ll sneak in, anonymously fill the cracks of excited conversation with an innocuous hum and without you knowing, soon form the backing track to your journey.

The ‘I’m Going to Take This Opportunity to Contemplate Life, the Universe and Everything’ Song

While road trips lend themselves to countless rounds of eye spy and fun games of who can remain sane the longest, they also lend themselves nicely to sitting back and indulging in a little bit of “me” time. This is a song to break out about midway through your journey; that place happily located somewhere between the initial excitement of embarkation and the frustration that inevitably creeps in when you realise it’s been a solid two hours since you last felt your ass. *Stares dreamily off into the distance*

The ‘Maybe if I Go to Sleep, We’ll Get There Faster’ Song

Born from pure boredom-come-frustration, this track is pure tactic. Put it in on, fall asleep and, just like your own personal time machine to utopia, wake up somewhere free of cramps and the smell of unwashed armpits.

The ‘OMG There’s Only Half an Hour Left Until I Can Stand Up and Do Something About the Pins and Needles in My Ass’ Song

This one is all about anticipation, baby! YOU’RE ALMOST THERE! Almost time to shake ya booty.

Side note: Premature booty shaking should occur in a manner conscious of all safety restraints, road rules, and/ or the person you’ve been fighting over the armrest with since before the dawn of time.

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Weekend Wind Back 5/6 April

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Welcome to Weekend Wind Back, the first of our weekly feature in which we find the best remake of a classic song from the week that was and deliver it right here for listening pleasure.

Rounding out this week is Chitown duo, Autograf and their remake of the Marvin Gaye, all American classic, Grapevine. A glitchy rendition laden with steady snaps and heavy on the Nicholas Jaar influence, this remake lets Gaye’s vocals linger, soulfully as ever, over an initially paired back intro before moving full throttle into pure dance territory. More often than not, remakes of such iconic songs have a tendency to lose the integrity of the original beneath thumping bass lines and synth-happy crescendos. Autograf manage to steer clear of this territory in their truly modern rendition of the 1960’s classic.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/autografmusic/marvin[/soundcloud]

 

 

 

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