Lana Del Rey is no stranger to controversy. The stunning 25-year-old chanteuse with the haunting voice has been in the crosshairs of the indie blogosphere for months, but after she made her American television debut last night as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, she’s become a conversational lightning rod in the mainstream. Del Rey’s performances of “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans” were not the strongest renditions of those songs in her young career and, as a result, many critics delighted in breaking out their book of nasty superlatives to describe her work using social media services.
Perez Hilton broke his phony, self-imposed streak of faux-niceness and tore into Lana Del Rey on Twitter in the wee hours of the morning: “Just watched SNL. Not only was @LanaDelRey vocally WAY off, but watching her utter lack of stage presence was cringe-worthy. #DontBuyTheHype” Actress and part-time singer Juliette Lewis piled on, tweeting “Wow watching this ‘singer’ on SNL is like watching a 12 year old in their bedroom when they’re pretending to sing and perform. #signofourtimes” before remembering what her own voice actually sounds like and wisely deleting her tweet. Even Eliza Dushku, last seen guest-starring on The League, weighed in on Twitter, describing Del Rey as “wack-a-doodle” before also deleting her tweet. Lest you think it was only famous people eagerly sinking their claws into her, a wholly unscientific, purely anecdotal search on Twitter we just performed shows that negative comments about LDR are outweighing positive ones by at least a 2:1 margin.
However, despite this tidal wave of haterade, it looks like Lana Del Rey and Interscope Records might end up having the last laugh. Her four song Lana Del Rey – EP is currently the #2 album on the iTunes charts (where, it should be noted, it is averaging a 4-star rating after garnering nearly 2,900 reviews) and her LP, Born To Die, is the #16 album on the Amazon.com charts, despite the fact that it doesn’t even come out until January 31. So while everyone probably wished that her performance on SNL had gone over as well as her excellent rendition of “Video Games” on Later Live … With Jools Holland back in October, it’s evident that the American public is now not only aware of this controversial new singer, but that they’re interested in learning more about who she is and what she sounds like. In other words, mission accomplished for Team LDR.
After racking up tens of millions of views on YouTube and generating more conversation than virtually any other “indie” artist in 2011, Lana Del Rey made her American television debut tonight on Saturday Night Live. She performed “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans”, the two songs that first propelled her from virtual obscurity and put her on the map less than six months ago. America clearly took notice, too: She was a trending topic on Twitter not once but twice tonight (although, it must be noted, one of those times the TT was “Lana Del Ray”, a misspelling of her name).
Spelling issues aside, SNL provided a compelling introduction to Lana Del Rey’s unique sound. She appeared a bit nervous at the outset of each of her two performances tonight, her voice dropping into an even lower register than she generally sings, but she settled into a groove each time and finished both songs with gusto. Curiously, she chose not to perform “Born To Die,” the song which she shot a big budget video for back in December (and is currently the Single of the Week in the iTunes Store), but we suppose she’ll probably perform that when she visits the Late Show With David Letterman and Ellen in a few weeks.
We actually had the opportunity to sit down for a candid conversation with Lana Del Rey earlier this week, during which she opened up about her controversial omission from this year’s Coachella lineup and told us a totally awesome story about an encounter with a topless Paz De La Huerta in Paris late last year. We also asked her about Daniel Radcliffe, who was the host of tonight’s episode of Saturday Night Live, the results of which you can see below:
Spin Will Review This Year’s Music In 140 Characters Or Less
Spin is doing something new and unorthodox, taking to Twitter to give album reviews in 140 characters or less for 2012. This will be an interesting experiment indeed — will they succeed in communicating their thoughts on complex albums in such short form? [NPR Music]
A gravelly-voiced Bob Dylan paid tribute to Martin Scorsese at the 17th Annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, performing “Blind Willie McTell.” It made perfect sense that the music legend should pay tribute to the film legend, as both have an iconic stature in cultural history. Moreover, Scorsese’s “No Direction Home” is a documentary about Dylan. The CCMA performance itself was dark and gritty, and Dylan personified the Scorsesean anti-hero on the dimly lit stage.
Scorsese was awarded with the Critics’ Choice Music + Film Award by Leonardo DiCaprio and Olivia Harrison, and his movie Hugo was nominated for 11 awards, taking home the award for Best Art Direction.
With the hype around Tim Tebow, quarterback for the Denver Broncos and Most Popular Athlete In America, hitting fever pitch, it seems like the music world has become rather enamoured by the football star too. While rumours are circulating that Katy Perry’s parents are gunning for their pop star daughter to date the football wunderkind, the music tributes are rolling in thick and fast. Jimmy Fallon paid tribute to quarterback with a hilarious parody that mashed together David Bowie and Tebow for the character “Tebowie,” half Ziggy Stardust, half man on the field, but with a guitar instead of a ball. John Parr also took this opportunity in 20-Tebow to honour him with a remake of St. Elmo’s Fire entitled, “Tim Tebow’s Fire.” Given the reverence with which Tebow is being received, we think he should have kept the “St.” part of the title. Just sayin’. You can hear both songs after the jump.
It’s been a rough start to the New Year for Katy Perry despite a trailblazing effort in 2011 that saw her score five number one hit songs from the same album, Teenage Dream. Having recently split from hubby Russell Brand, Katy cancelled what should have been her first appearance for 2012 at the People’s Choice Awards earlier this week (where, despite her absence, she cleaned up, winning a massive five out of seven awards she was nominated for). But we had the girl pegged as the “Never say die” sort from the start, and it seems our instincts about Katy weren’t far off the mark. Katy will be getting back on the horse for Super Bowl week and performing at a private show for DirecTV’s Super Saturday Night at Indianapolis’ Victory Field on Feburary 4. We’re rooting for Katy from the sidelines, and looking forward to seeing her back on the stage where she belongs!
[Photo: Getty Images]
As you know, 2012 is still an infant — yes, just like Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s baby girl — so while January welcomes us with open arms, here is a list of things that need to happen in the next 12 months to help ensure a high-quality year of music:
1. Adele Needs To Sing
No word yet if Adele will be performing at the Grammys, but she will be singing at the Brit Awards in March. You can’t have an album as big as 21 and not tour. And because Adele’s sophomore album was so huge, she may have to play arenas, the type of venue she fears playing (ironically, her voice is made for such big places).
2. Buy A Ticket To See Madonna
Every young pop star needs to buy a ticket to see Madonna when she inevitably goes out on tour this year in support of her forthcoming album, MDNA. Yes, there are pop stars younger, sexier and more talented than Madonna, but this is a lesson in longevity and consistency. Madonna is 53 years old and is going to put on a high-energy, non-stop show that will humble the artists who drive on the pop-highway she paved.
The adorable Kina Grannis, VH1’s January Posted artist, performed a beautiful, acoustic version of “In Your Arms” for Jimmy Kimmel Live last night. It’s no secret that we love Kina, and it’s not hard to see why. The young performer is sincere, relatable and perfectly imperfect as she sings with true emotion. Promoting her album Stairwells, Kina took to the stage with the presence and easy charm of a veteran performer, despite her relative newness to the limelight. Her charming smile accompanying the heartfelt vocal made for a convincing performance that has stuck in our minds the same way as the passionate kind of love affair Kina sings about would. We were even lucky enough to go backstage at Jimmy Kimmel with Kina to find out all about her upcoming US and European tours. See our video after the jump!
Lil Wayne Will Release A Memoir About His Time In Prison
This November will see the publication of “Gone Till November,” a compilation of Lil Wayne‘s diaries from the eight months he spent in prison. We’re hoping for some Nicholas Sparks style emotion, and hopefully a movie option, but we also hope that the memoir doesn’t overly glamorize a life of crime. [Billboard]
Drake Gets Plenty Of Hometown Support From Toronto
Drake‘s record sales double the average expected sales in Toronto (which is around 1.5% for artists of the same caliber), with his hometown making up a whopping 3% of his album sales globally, and 40% of his Canadian sales. Now that’s some loyalty right there. [Pop Dust]