Born to flop
THE rapid rise and swift demise of Lana Del Rey has been amazing to watch.
Before her debut Born to Die was even released, the singer somehow managed to go from next big thing to punching bag and the butt of nasty jokes.
It seems to be an issue of authenticity. People see her as fake and they feel deceived. All of a sudden, they aren’t buying her schtick.
To be fair, Born to Die is hardly a terrible album compared with other pop records of recent months.
Video Games is a commanding single – 24 million Youtube views and counting don’t lie. But the record does lack a little something in a number of areas.
Her songs often feel manufactured – think National Anthem – and they lack any real fire or passion. Kind of like a musical version of the Twilight films.
There’s also a bunch of very retro lyrical themes about being in love with bad boys that make up about half of the album. The other half is comprised of sad- sack pop songs often referencing death. Over the course of an hour, this becomes a chore.
Where Amy Winehouse made art by channelling her inner demons, Del Rey makes people mad by channelling housewife fantasies from decades ago. She sounds like she’s from another time, too dependent on men, even helpless.
Cringeworthy lines like ‘‘ God you’re so handsome/ Take me to the Hamptons’’ aren’t going to fly – never ever.
But the album’s biggest crime might just be plain old dullness.
Throwing strings or trip- hop beats at pop songs work well sometimes but it’s not a cure- all.
At least half of the album’s songs come across as half- baked and underdeveloped. At worst, they can be pretentious and annoying.
Singing in a dispassionate, unrefined, monotone style isn’t adding any drama to this set. She only has two speeds – slurry or sultry. Much of the music here could do with less of a straight bat ( Summertime Sadness).
Why not swing for the fences, add a little campness or swagger to the mix?
It seems somewhat silly to ask for ‘‘ realness’’ from a pop star.
Did she ever even claim it? And besides, manufactured acts have filled a certain void for years ( The Monkeys, anyone?) and will continue to do so.
The real issue isn’t her style, substance or rich family pulling strings to fast- track her career.
She is simply a young lady with a medium- sized measure of talent making mediocre music.
Without a powerful voice or anything heartfelt to say, her die has been cast.