Five Things The Internet Thinks About Lana Del Rey

So many think-pieces, so little time.


by Alex Heigl

Hey, have you heard this song? Were you struck by its casual, off-handedly retro appeal and stately melody? Or did you think it was contrived, cliched, and vainglorious? (Also, have you been able to tear your eyes away from her lips?) Lana Del Rey has reduced the internet to drooling worship or slavering hatred (and their irritating middle ground, chin-scratching analysis) with remarkable efficiency, given that she's only released two singles. In case you're feeling left out, here's a quick rundown of the internet's key thoughts regarding Lana Del Rey.

5. "She sucks, but she's hot."

HipsterRunoff.com hates Lana Del Rey almost as much as they love talking like Dust Off-huffing teenagers. That attitude seems to be pretty common across the internet. Many seem torn over whether to fawn over her hotness or assault her for just about everything else. There's a weird dichotomy here: even as people give her cruel (yet hilarious) nicknames like "DSL Soundsystem," they can't seem to stop talking about her.

4. "She's all style and no substance."

Much has been made about Del Rey's marketed tag line ("the Gangsta Nancy Sinatra"), and the way her aesthetic reference points seem to have been calibrated by a well-trained team of sociologists and fashion designers working out of a loft in Brooklyn. In fact, divorcing her image from her music is almost impossible. And that's a shame, because all of those things are piling weighty critical theory on music that's actually pretty straightforward. I actually like "Video Games," but were I to listen to it sight unseen, would I have immediately thought "This girl probably lists the theme from The Godfather and 'Lollipop' by Lil Wayne as influences?" Of course not, because that would mean I was a crazy person.

3. "Her album won't live up to her hype."

This is more of a sad reflection on the power of internet-hype than any value judgment on her music. Though its cover art looks like a bizarre mashup of American Gothic and Ready to Die (probably by design), but to live up its rabid hype, the thing would have to sound like a mashup of Abbey Road, Exile on Main Street, Enter the 36 Chambers, late-period Billie Holiday, and a Take Five bar. And that is scientifically impossible, because we all know Take Five bars cannot be improved upon.

2. "She sucks live."

Del Rey had a series of craftily-publicized live shows around NYC recently, and people were seriously unimpressed. Stereogum's comment on her first "secret" show in Williamsburg (a place that should by all means function as her Castle Grayskull): "She chewed a lot of gum." Rolling Stone was a little kinder in their review of a more recent show, praising her "husky, come-hither sexuality" and "bratty, girlish petulance" (both of which sound like descriptions of roadside-diner waitresses, though maybe that's apt), but noting that she seemed "shaky and inconsistent." Either way, what we've heard of her album already sounds like music to quietly sway back and forth to in a dimly-lit room, rather than something to produce a shake-the-rafters live show.

1. "Who?"

The only people who appear to be driving the Lana Del Rey debate are music critics and amateur sociologists. While writing this, I asked the Nerve interns, "What do you guys think of Lana Del Rey?" Their answers: "I don't really get her" and "I know who she is." That was it. No treatises on artificiality vs. authenticity, no references to the Dylan/Zimmerman dichotomy. Zero. Which is great — let her songs speak for themselves. I know that's nearly impossible these days, and it's an unfair double standard that seems to plague female artists more than male ones (why is that? oh, right), but seriously: settle down, internet.

Commentarium (27 Comments)

Dec 09 11 - 1:19am
nope

We clearly travel in very different circles of internet. I don't think I've ever heard of this girl. She has a nice voice, really disturbing lips, and both of those tunes were pretty generic and I doubt I'll be able to hum them tomorrow. Is the issue that she's using a different name and got some plastic surgery? Is that supposed to be shocking for some reason?

Dec 20 11 - 8:36am
J

I know what you mean. The only difference here is that she's trying to be "indie" or something when in reality she's everything but.

Dec 09 11 - 2:14am
src

She sucks but she's hot. All style and no substance. Her album won't live up to the hype. Sucks live. You could say these things about any number of artists with pop singles.

BTW, the thing I said was "Who?"

Jan 18 12 - 11:02am
bob

Except for Lady Gaga - she sucks... but she is definitely NOT hot.

Dec 09 11 - 2:51am
SB

ah..never heard of her

Dec 09 11 - 4:17am
Wait Five Minutes

The phenomenon of scribes and pundits debating endlessly about someone most of the rest of us have never heard of is nothing new. I actually have known about this particular person... for about a week.
It's also amazing how a career can be floated on so few actual songs.
As to debates about whether a performer is "authentic or not," this is show business. When is anything authentic?

Dec 09 11 - 8:51am
Hmmm.

I honestly don't know who she is.

Dec 09 11 - 11:31am
Red Octopus

Really nice hair . . . .

Aug 20 12 - 2:15pm
aj

Boy I got some bad news for you

Dec 09 11 - 1:45pm
Daddy

She's Betty Draper. That is all.

Dec 09 11 - 2:03pm
dude

Not at all, man. Damn. Not all white people look the same, you know.

Dec 09 11 - 5:59pm
....

in a past interview, she talked about making out with a record executive....i fapped

Dec 10 11 - 4:01pm
Mikhail

Just heard about her in the last week. Not really impressed. "Really disturbing" is indeed the best way to describe her lips.

Dec 10 11 - 11:38pm
godzilla_foil

Completely crooked lips - i.e. horrible, unnatural and even a bit disgusting.

Dec 11 11 - 12:21am
Delia

She's smart, that's what she is! I heard of her a few months ago and was confused about the fuss, but she gets that the only way to get this much talk about her is to be wildly, weirdly different but a throwback at the same time. Congrats on finding out how to get those 15 min, Lana. Moving on, now...

Dec 12 11 - 8:44am
Popsy

She is sex on legs

Sep 10 12 - 2:38am
PerryFarrell

She looks like a 12 year old beauty pageant contestant. Ohhhh, now I get it.... Sick man, just sick.

Dec 13 11 - 10:37pm
AML

Does anyone else feel like this is a cheap shot to fill the space left by Amy Winehouse? No comparison to the talent or vision, but the retro junkie bombshell thing feels so familiar...

Dec 15 11 - 1:36am
Lou

I heard about her a few months ago. I admired her music until I read about her, finding she was christened 'Lana Del Rey' by her lawyers (dunno why?) and record producers so she 'went along with it' and her image was structured around all of this, etc.

That's not art, that's all business in my opinion. So, I can understand the substanceless claims.

Jan 15 12 - 1:17am
UGH

I just watched her on SNL. I mean is she some sort of joke? SNL really scraped the bottom of the barrel for this musical act. Come on SNL I think you could do better than putting this no talent on. I just read her Wikipedia page as I hadn't heard of her before.... sounds a little rich girl who had her career bought by her wealthy father. Not surprised!

Jan 15 12 - 1:36am
WTF?

After listening to Lana Del Rey on SNL tonight, I HAD to google her. I figured she had to be a comedian, because she sure wasn't a singer! I had to mute the TV because I just couldn't take it. If she sells any of her music, it will be to desperate guys who just like her looks because no one is tone deaf enough to like her singing.

Jan 15 12 - 2:03am
Christie77

She's awful, but her dad's a millionaire, so...I guess he bought her a spot on SNL, too. Lame.

Jan 15 12 - 2:13am
Jon

Same as the previous 3 posters. Heard her on SNL, couldn't stand her, had to look her up to try and figure out why the hell they would ever have someone that terrible as a musical guest. Her first song made absolutely no sense, and her second one put me to sleep.

Jan 15 12 - 3:19am
Beatlesgeorge9

LOL! Her second song put my husband to sleep too!!! I turn the volume off on most of SNL's music acts but this one took the cake! After we heard the first song, I was waiting to see if it was possible to follow with a worse one; she delivered! I found this page after googling "what the hell is wrong with Lana Del Ray's voice?"

Jan 15 12 - 5:13pm
Jon

Haha, I searched pretty much the same thing. Except minus the 's + voice.

Jan 16 12 - 5:16am
Sierra

Oh man...I was seriously beat by some other haters who saw her on SNL. I found this page after searching "Lana Del Rey sucked on SNL". However, I need to put it out there that I own all of her demos and the majority of them are pretty good. Songs such as "Hey Lolita Hey" and "Diet Mtn Dew" are actually listen worthy. I think I'm going to enjoy her new cd. Now I just know that I will NEVER waste my money to see her live. That performance sucked ASS.

Jan 27 12 - 6:16pm
brasslotus

I thought that she was part of another skit on SNL. I thought SNL cast member Kristin Wiig was going to walk out there and join her. I can see her doing a skit on her! What a depressing and monotone voice......how could anyone think that she is retro? She sucks!