Our You Oughta Know artist Gotye has taken America completely by storm on the strength of one song — “Somebody That I Used To Know” — so as you can imagine we are excited to see what will happen as more of his singles start dropping in the States (we can only imagine more Gotye songs will equal more Gotye dominance). And now it appears Gotye is the latest buzz artist to be invited to perform on Saturday Night Live after Lana Del Rey and Sleigh Bells both graced the hallowed stage earlier this year. The SNL episode will air on April 14th and marks Gotye’s SNL debut. We wonder if he’ll take Kimbra along to perform “Somebody That I Used To Know,” or if he’ll play something entirely different. And if he does play “Somebody,” what will be the second track he’ll chose to play off his critically acclaimed album, Making Mirrors.
Maybe Jack White always looks this uncomfortable, or maybe not, we don’t know the man personally. All we know is that regardless of his regular stance, the charismatic musician seems somewhat perturbed in this new promo for this weekend’s episode of Saturday Night Live. White, who is set to appear on the show as a musical guest, spends almost the entire promo next to host Lindsay Lohan and funny man Andy Samberg with his arms folded in front of his body. Add to that a few sideways glances, the hint of an eye roll and the unenthusiastic exasperation with which he delivers his lines and it seems like he’d prefer to be anywhere but there. And let’s not mention that he seems to lean nervously away every time Lindsay gets close to him — or is that just our over active imaginations? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!
Maya Rudolph and Sleigh Bells were the host and musical guest, respectively, on last night’s episode of Saturday Night Live. The standout sketch of the evening involved the world’s most famous new parents, Jay-Z (played by Jay Pharoah) and Beyoncé (Rudolph) welcoming a slew of famous musicians to their crib to welcome the newest member of the Carter family, Blue Ivy Carter (see: Photos of Blue Ivy Carter). Their guests at their Scarsdale, NY home included the mystery wrapped inside of a riddle wrapped inside of an enigma that is Prince (played to perfection by Fred Armisen), 2012 Grammys host LL Cool J (played by Kenan Thompson, a comedian whose many strengths do not include the ability to do a spot-on impression), a rambunctious Nicki Minaj (played more than adequately by Nasim Pedrad), Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (Taran Killam and Abby Elliott, respectively), and a VERY surprised Taylor Swift (Kristen Wiig).
There was one other surprise visitor to see the Notorious B.I.C. — the 2012 winner of the Best New Artist Grammy, Bon Iver! Frequent SNL cameo actor and former musician Justin Timberlake turned in a hilarious impression of the notoriously shy indie frontman, which included singing a parody version of “Holocene” that served as a lullaby that put both Blue Ivy AND Bon Iver himself to sleep. Justin (unnecessarily) went out of his way at the end of the show to make peace with the bearded Wisconsin native, holding up a sign that read “I (Heart) Bon Iver” as the show credits rolled, but we’re pretty sure that the recent SNL musical guest didn’t care. After all, unlike Snooki and Skrillex, everyone managed to pronounce his name correctly.
Mere moments after Lana Del Rey completed her now infamous appearance on Saturday Night Live a few weeks ago, we saw dozens of tweets in our feed comparing her performance to something that a weird Kristen Wiig character would do. Well, the rabid imagination of the Twitter community came to life on last night’s episode of SNL, when Wiig showed up unannounced during Weekend Update as Lana Del Rey.
Wiig’s impression, which was a very slight variation of her classic character in the series of Two A-Holes sketches, straddled the line between mocking and defending the 25-year-old singer. Wiig’s Del Rey described herself as “stiff, distant and weird,” but also addressed the “authenticity” argument by sarcastically (and sagely) noting that “No serious musician would ever change their name, except maybe for Sting, Cher, Elton John, Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, everyone else in hip hop, and of course Bob Dylan.” The segment was fairly meh, mainly because head writer Seth Meyers avoided the opportunity to poke fun at NBC News anchor Brian Williams. As you’ll recall, Williams went out of his way to criticize SNL and bash Del Rey in a controversial email to Gawker, and Weekend Update’s refusal to jab back at Williams demonstrated for the umpteenth time that this era of the show places a greater emphasis on playing nice in the corporate sandbox than it does on biting the hand that feeds.
Many, many moons ago, cultural critic Adam Sternbergh outlined his theory about the Undulating Curve Of Shifting Expectations in the pages of New York Magazine. Basically, what the UCoSE does is provide us a way of analyzing the trajectory of entertainment products as they metamorphize their way through his theorized seven-stage growth chart: Pre-Buzz, Buzz, Rave Reviews, Saturation Point, Overhyped, Backlash, and finally, Backlash To The Backlash. When this chart was conceived back in March of 2006, the Internet was clearly already an important medium; however, sites like Facebook and Twitter had yet to reach the masses in the way that they do today, so it generally took “entertainment products” a decent amount of time to fully mature and run through the full cycle of the UCoSE. However, that is not the case today — thanks to omnipresence of social media, the cycle of culture consumption has clearly accelerated.
(ED. NOTE—Admittedly, this is a somewhat roundabout intro to what you’re about to read, but if you bear with us, we promise that it will all pay off.)
Now, it may seem slightly weird to classify a real, live human being like Lana Del Rey as an “entertainment product,” but it’s pretty clear to us that she’s already rocketed through six of the first seven stages of Sternbergh’s UCoSE, albeit in an extremely abbreviated fashion. However, it now appears that after Del Rey’s widely-maligned SNL performance, she’s reaching the Backlash to the Backlash stage. In a poll that we published on Tuesday, over 48% of the poll participants indicated that they’re fully on-board Team LDR, and earlier today, Whitney Cummings —star of NBC’s Whitney and herself a widely-maligned figure— wrote a blog post coming to Del Rey’s defense.
After the Lana Del Rey carnage that was Saturday Night Live this weekend, the Internet is still buzzing with conversation, from the Lana haters to the staunch defenders, it seems that everyone has something to say about her controversial performances. With high profile personalities tearing at Lana Del Rey like rabid hyenas, it would be easy to concede that the young pop star has stalled her career before it even reached full throttle. NBC Nightly News anchor and all-around good guy Brian Williams roasted Lana, writing in an email published by Gawker, “Brooklyn hippster [sic] Lana Del Rey had one of the worst outings in SNL history last night — booked on the strength of her TWO SONG web EP, the least-experienced musical guest in the show’s history, for starters.” On the other hand however, Daniel Radcliffe, host of the same episode of SNL was quick to jump to Lana’s defense, saying, “It was unfortunate that people seemed to turn on her so quickly. I also think people are making it about things other than the performance. If you read what people are saying about her online, it’s all about her past and her family and stuff that’s nobody else’s business. I don’t think it warranted anywhere near that reaction.”
Despite the onslaught of criticism, Lana Del Rey has made it to number two on the iTunes charts — so it can’t be all bad news. Despite her impressive chart rankings, however, conversation has now turned to her future, and what path her career will take from here. Grantland presented an essay with several options, including focusing on her international audience, redeeming herself in upcoming television appearances for The Ellen Degeneres Show and The Late Show With David Letterman, and sabotaging next week’s SNL musical guest, Bon Iver. One observant commentator on Stereogum’s website suggested the following, which seems most pertinent after the seemingly disastrous SNL appearance:
We recently spoke to Lana and she said of her performance capabilities, “I am not a natural performer but my fans that go to see the show are there because they want to be there not because you’re going to watch and see me fall and mess up and die. The reason that they are there is because they want to listen to songs off of the record. I am getting better on stage. Like when I was in Europe before I even got on stage people were smiling and waving at me and that was unexpected and that was very helpful because I could tell they didn’t really care if I wasn’t amazing. They were just there because they wanted to be there. So that’s all I can really ask for at this point.” What do you think about the performance? Did it affect Lana Del Rey’s career or your interest in her music? Is her music good enough to stand independent of her shaky performances? Let us know in the poll below!
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.
Lana Del Rey is almost nothing like you’d expect her to be. Let us explain.
In just under six months, Del Rey has gone from being a virtual unknown to landing a highly coveted gig as the musical guest on this weekend’s episode of Saturday Night Live, an opportunity that some artists work their entire careers for and never achieve. The booking of this artist, best known for her uniquely sexy voice and a cinematic style of music she describes as “Summertime sadness,” totally makes sense, though. While it’s true that she hasn’t even released her album yet —Born To Die streets on January 31— Lana has already experienced a career’s worth of buzz (and, subsequently, backlash) in indie blogosphere circles, mostly stemming from questions regarding her quote-unquote “authenticity.” This, in combination with the mysterious persona she projects in her videos and her somewhat defiant performance at the Bowery Ballroom back in December, led us to believe that she might come off as being cryptic and guarded during her interview here at VH1 HQ in New York City yesterday. The Lana Del Rey we met, though, was anything but: During the 45 minutes or so we spent with her, she was happy, effusive, relatable and totally forthcoming about the rocket ride that she’s been on for the last half of the year.
“You wanna hear a little story?” We’ve been talking to Del Rey for a few minutes about her self-made, self-edited, collage-style music videos for “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans”, the treatments of which propelled the indie chanteuse from obscurity into the spotlight, but that were also initially met with puzzlement by clueless suits at record labels (“For a long time, nobody thought that anything fit together. I brought things into different labels and to different people and they all thought it was really f***ing weird. They thought that the videos didn’t have a strong narrative and that they were creepy.”). We raise the issue of Paz De La Huerta, an actress who, depending on your vantage point in life, is either a hot mess or your spirit animal. Footage of a clearly overserved Paz made its way into Del Rey’s cut of “Video Games,” an intriguing creative decision that lends a zeitgeist-y and almost Lynchian-circa-Mulholland Drive feel to the video, underscoring the overlap in the Venn diagram of Hollywood where glamour, darkness and tragedy meet. So, we posed, did Lana ever hear from Paz herself?