Friday, February 03, 2012

Got them Lake Placid Blues

There's always the chance that she's playing a character, although that seems doubtful, because when Lana Del Rey is in character, she really lets you know about it.
There's always the chance, Alexis Petridis, that she fooled you. You listen to rock'n'roll; you write about rock'n'roll; you live rock'n'roll. You know all the fakes, all the phonies, all the poseurs. You've seen them all come and go. But this one, this one was real. That first time you heard her, that first time you saw her, you knew that; this kid was the real thing; she was genuine, sincere, authentic.

Except she wasn't. She's fake; just like all the others. Just like Joe Strummer. Remember how he said to the NME, back in 1977, that he got into reggae because he was the only white boy in his class at school? But then it turned out his school was the City of London Freemen's School and that daddy was not a bank robber; he was a diplomat.

Just like Shane McGowan, that authentic Irish rebel;  born in Pembury, near Tunbridge Wells, educated at Holmewood House, then at Westminster. Then there was Tom Robinson, who sang songs about working class experience, about his brother Martin and going to borstal;  Tom attended Friends' School, Saffron Walden; his brother Philip is a television producer. Robin Hitchcock is a Wykehamist;  Nick Drake was a Marlburian. Members of the Zombies were at St Albans,  Radiohead formed at Abingdon;  no alarms and no surprises there. Coldplay come from Sherborne; bedwetters.

So what is so special about Lana? No, not her real name; it was chosen by the management. Yes, her daddy's rich and her mamma is good looking; she is just another rich kid, slumming it. Aren't they all? Jim Morrison's father was an Admiral; so was Tina Weymouth's. Bands are formed in film schools and art schools, by middle-class kids who want their lives to be authentic. They study sculpture at  St Martin's college and want to be like common people.

 Rock'n'roll is authentic; thus it is fake. Surely everyone knows that. Listen to the what the man says: "after the umpteenth song in which she either puts her red dress on or takes her red dress off, informs you of her imminent death and kisses her partner hard while telling him she'll love him 'til the end of time..." And yet, despite the obvious similarities with Twin Peaks, still Petridis is disappointed when she turns out to be the realtor's beautiful daughter.

So what does Petridis suggest we do? Ignore the lyrics, that's what. So, she's like a singer-songwriter and we are just going to pay no attention to the singing or the songwriting. We'll just let ourselves be swept along by the melodies; we'll just be in denial.

But what about the pictures? Look at this:

So so Moderne. Ask yourself this: is this the real life, or is this just fantasy? And yet, the Observer used it in September to illustrate an article that began:
We crave a popstar who is authentic, who thrives because of their talent, not PR. So when you stumble across someone like Lana Del Rey – her popularity apparently born online and growing per YouTube click – it's hard not to be sceptical as to whether she's actually too good to be true.
Well no, it was very easy to not be sceptical. The reasons for doubt were staring you in the face but you chose not to look, because you craved authenticity. Had you just looked at the pictures, you would have seen that it is all made up. And if you knew just a little art history, you might have noticed something of the work of Cindy Sherman in these images. It is all a carefully constructed hyper-reality. It is not real. Reality is not nearly as interesting.

But you so wanted it to be real that you overlooked the obvious fiction. And now you are really angry, not because Lana del Rey is fake but because you made her real, and now you realise you made a fool of yourself. It was all pretend, silly. It was just a game but you thought it was true love.

Never mind. Here's Kate Bush:


Russell said...

But but but...she looked so natural!

Stephanie said...

In your dreams, maybe

Russell said...

My worst nightmares, actually.

linger said...

@Russell: or were you actually talking about the cat in the photo?

Russell said...


Rich said...

The worrying thing is that old rockers eventually die.

Being CGI, Lana can never die. She'll be as real in 2070 or 2200 as today (in fact, more real, because technology will have advanced).

I wonder if that's the disguised meaning behind the name "Born To Die".