When thinking of summertime the last thing that comes to mind is sadness. But Lana Del Rey‘s got that “Summertime Sadness,” and she makes it sound like something worth aspiring to have. Almost. The beautiful scenery in the opening of “Summertime Sadness” looks like the old photographs you’d click through on a projector. Despite the beauty of nature surrounding her, she throws herself from the cliff, committing suicide. It’s ironic, yet intentional, that the beauty of nature–life–surrounds her as she’s falling from the cliff. Before the suicide there was love. Actress Jaime King, dolled in a red dress, plays LDR’s female lover. Directed by King’s husband, filmmaker Kyle Newman, and Spencer Susser, the video captures the human connection of love. Read more…
Born To Die
After her widely-maligned performance on Saturday Night Live a few weeks ago, many bloodthirsty people pronounced Lana Del Rey‘s career over before it even began, utilizing everything from thousand-plus word thinkpieces to snarktastic 140 character tweets to make their opinions heard. Much like we saw in the initial hours after LDR appeared on SNL, though, all the controversy ended up working in her favor. According to a press release issued by her record label, Born To Die sold 77,000 copies in the United States last week, good enough for a #2 debut on the Billboard charts (and significantly outpacing early projections of a 55-60K sales week). The record also debuted at #1 in the UK, where it sold 117,000 copies, and ended up moving some 800,000 copies worldwide. Somewhere in Los Angeles, we hope that Juliette Lewis is scarfing down a plate of crow and chasing it with a slice of humble pie!
However, it isn’t all peaches and cream in Lana Del Rey’s world this week. Despite the fact that she played a well-received set on Letterman last week and performed an intimate gig for her passionate fanbase at the Los Angeles outpost of Amoeba Records yesterday, it seems that Interscope is determined to limit her exposure at this point in time. Earlier this week, the New York Post erroneously reported that she had cancelled a planned Spring tour of the United States; her reps firmly denied this to be the case, but then confirmed to Pitchfork that LDR had indeed cancelled a planned outing to Australia, as well as her highly-anticipated SXSW dates in March. So, for now, LDR fans will have to make do with repeated listens to Born To Die, as well as a still unscheduled appearance on Ellen, to get their Lana fix.
Lana Del Rey Denies Tour Cancellation Rumors [Pitchfork]
[Photo: Getty Images]
It’s here — Lana Del Rey‘s Born To Die, the album that has been discussed almost as much as her “controversial” persona. While digital sales are telling one story — Born To Die took #1 and #2 positions on the US iTunes charts this morning and holds the #1 spot in 11 other countries (UK, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Switzerland) — the critical reception to the album has been less than warm. While a few have praised Lana Del Rey as the dichotomous ingenue / bad girl who is bringing desperately needed direction and ideas back to music, many have fortified attacks on her image by surmising that her music is even less challenging or interesting than her aesthetic portrayal. And the rest are just sort of a bit… “meh,” finding Born To Die neither offensive nor completely worthy of the attention it’s garnered. We’ve clipped together some quotes from the flood of Born To Die reviews that have littered the Internet this week…
“If you ask me, I reckon the girl doesn’t know whether she wants to be a classic Hollywood glamourpuss or a modern pop star, so she’s doing both at once. Nothing wrong with that here, songs all cinematic, like a warped Casablanca channeling the Rat Pack via Do The Right Thing. More interesting than a lot of starlets by far, and more confident. Whatever she ends up being, she seems fun, this Lana Del Rey. A lot more fun than you’d think to look at her.” [Drowned In Sound]
“I like the album better with each listen—the more time I spend in its company, the more I feel as though I’m approaching it on something like its own terms.” [Slate]
“For all of its coos about love and devotion, it’s the album equivalent of a faked orgasm– a collection of torch songs with no fire.” [Pitchfork]
Adopting a split personality for the sake of sensationalizing an image is nothing new in the pop industry. Recent notable alter egos include Beyoncé‘s Sasha Fierce, Lady Gaga‘s Joe Calderone and Nicki Minaj‘s Roman Zolanski. While these characters have allowed these pop stars to explore other aspects of their persona independent of their regular self (also possibly giving them carte blanche to make mistakes, all the while acting as a great gimmick to draw fans into a narrative), they are usually an afterthought to the performer, and are put on and taken off the same way one wears a hat.
However, in the case of Lana Del Rey, her alter ego is more widely known that her “real” self. (We’re not going to get into existential arguments of what’s “real” or not, but suffice to say that “real” in this context is who she was born as/lived her life as until she became Lana Del Rey.) As thousands of bloggers have noted, she was born Lizzy Grant, and even recorded an album under that name, an album that was released in January of 2010 but then quickly pulled from the shelves, adding to her mystique. Lana is currently in Europe promoting her new album Born To Die, and during an interview with the BBC, she noted that she’s planning to reissue her Lana Del Rey A.K.A. Lizzy Grant album, and we’re officially intrigued.
With the Lana Del Rey hype monster so engorged, is the overnight sensation now using her new found fame to promote the art she made and believed in prior to her transformation into tortured chanteuse? Will she reissue the album as Lana Del Rey, or will Lizzy Grant act as Lana Del Rey’s otherly doppelganger? Is the next chapter of the Lana Del Rey story going to be a nostalgic expose into the heart of Lizzy Grant, or just another great marketing stunt? And moreover, will audiences, critical blogging fingers at the ready, ever be able to reconcile the two conflicting sides of the Lana Del Rey coin?
Lana Del Rey, so buzzy you can’t go anywhere without hearing the dull hum of her beating wings (even when you’re lying in bed at night, and even though you can’t see it, you can hear it flying around your face in the darkness), has made a last minute cancellation of a UK live appearance. Lana Del Rey was set to appear tonight on MTV UK’s Brand New For 2012 show at London’s Koko nightclub, but has pulled out at the eleventh hour due to “illness.” We’re expecting her withdrawal from the show to garner some attention, if not criticism, especially in the aftermath of her controversial SNL appearance last week.
Lana Del Rey’s debut album, Born To Die, is also set to drop next week, so the young starlet is most likely run ragged promoting it. Beginning to open up in interview, Lana Del Rey recently told The Telegraph of the new album, “I think it’s beautiful. I think it’s gorgeous. This album is my self in song form. So if they sort of sound like everything fits perfectly together, it’s because it does. There is nothing altered, nothing compromised, they are perfectly me. For better or worse, it’s like a person in song and video form.”
Speaking to Complex, she revealed the inspiration behind her love songs saying, “I know what it means to meet someone who’s f***ing fresh to death,” and “When I found somebody who I fell in love with, it made me feel different than I felt the rest of the day. It was electrifying. That’s what inspired the “Off to the Races” melodies. That’s one of the times when you’re feeling electrified by someone else and they make you happy to be alive.” It seems that with the the album release so close, and with these unprecedentedly intimate interviews, the Lana Del Rey flower is blooming, the the whole story is starting to come together. We’re intrigued to see what comes next for the overnight sensation.
Lana Del Rey Unable To Perform Due To Illness [MTV UK]
Lana Del Rey interview: new album Born to Die is ‘a beautiful thing’ [The Telegraph]
Lana Del Rey: Can She Live? (2012 Cover Story & Gallery) [Complex]
There’s no slowing buzz machine Lana Del Rey down. From the dark, brooding “Video Games” that got everyone talking in mid-2011 to her equally enigmatic follow-up, “Blue Jeans,” Lana Del Rey managed to capture the imaginations of music aficionados in an almost cult-like fashion. With her debut album, Born To Die, due to drop later this month, the hype is becoming dizzying, as the sultry songstress continues to drop tease after tease, from the racy “Born To Die” video and now two new, previously unheard songs, “National Anthem” and “This Is What Makes Us Girls”.
Amping up the hubbub and controversy, both tracks are decidedly different from anything else we’ve heard from Lana Del Rey up to this point. Upbeat and poppy, both tacks are decidedly sweeter sounding than Lana Del Rey’s previously tortured vocals; her new tracks employ the verbal pacing of lite hip-hop and reminds us somewhat of a young Uffie, with the lyrical subject matter skewing slightly towards Katy Perry territory. Yep, the Lana Del Rey machine has managed to get fanboys sufficiently hot under the collar for the release of Born To Die with an excruciatingly drawn out, but seemingly genius marketing period. The album itself looks to be a concoction of several Lana Del Rey personas, from the self destructive, to the unassumingly sexy, to the romantic, to the girlie hedonist.
Listen to the tracks here: Lana Del Rey Tracks “National Anthem” & “This Is What Makes Us Girls” Surface [Idolator]
[Photos: Getty Images]