With her debut album in stores now, she is surely the new "it" girl on the block. Jovan Christopher gives his take on the captivating genius that is Lana Del Rey.
aturday Night Live has been a staple in American pop culture for decades. The show has introduced the world to several comedians of today. Mike Myers, Will Farrell, Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey are just a few alumni who have gone on to have successful careers in beyond the show.
But SNL isn't just about the actors. It's also the place where the greats perform. Artists of today such as Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and the Black Eyed Peas, just to name a few, are no strangers to the SNL stage.
So, the question is: how does a relatively unknown girl from New York with no album released at the time make her way to such a platform? By creating her own buzz. That’s why we ought to know Lana Del Rey.
She caught the world's attention when she released her single “Video Games," which gained her instant fans. Fans that obviously included some of the producers over at SNL. Del Rey released the track because it was her favorite; not expecting it to warrant much attention. She recorded and edited a video to accompany the track herself and uploaded it to YouTube. Progressively, the song was featured on the new CW drama “Ringer” and from there she gained notoriety, creating a "who makes that song?" kind of buzz. The result: a guest performance spot on Saturday Night Live and a growing anticipation for a debut album.
Although she’s still relatively unknown, she only has 228,000 followers on twitter, she’s been on the cover of several magazines including Billboard and British Vogue.
Nonetheless, Del Rey has established enough clout to debut at number 2 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart. The only album to beat her was Adele’s ‘21,’ which has dominating the chart for a little over a year now.
The album is called Born to Die and the music is just as haunting as the album title. The combination of production her voice is somewhat hypnotizing. Collectively, the sound is not radio friendly. She prefers the term “alternative pop.”
Although her reviews were lukewarm, somewhere between favorable and unfavorable, she’s definitely creating a niche of her own. Yes, her lyrics are somewhat pedestrian at times, but she makes up for it on more captivating records such as “Dark Paradise,” where she discusses holding onto a relationship that is dwindling and coming to realize that sometimes it takes a stronger person to let go rather than hold on.
She definitely plays up to her tongue and cheek image (she looks like she emerged from a different era) on songs such as “This Is What Makes Us Girls.” On this track she revisits her teens, a time when she was “skipping school and drinking on the job.” As well, she found herself getting into her fair share of trouble. A similar track is “Lolita.” A bonus track that is possibly the most radio friendly cut on the album.
The album as a whole serves as a critique on pop culture today. Songs like “Carmen” and “Radio” make slight jabs at the celebrity aspect of the music industry. Lana shines on previously mentioned tracks, but other tracks worth indulging in are “Blue Jeans,” which she also performed on Saturday Night Live and “Off to the Races.”
She’s a remarkable young woman who’s lived a little and wants to share her story. These experiences have manifested into a body of work quite befitting of a new artist. Thus far, she seems untainted by the music industry as she’s allowed to create her music as she sees fit. And her originality excludes her from the mainstream, assuring that her sound is undoubtably an acquired taste.