When Video Games appeared on Youtube I didn’t know what to think of it, initially. There was an air of darkness about it and the vocals, low, smoky, were certainly peculiar. The sound was so unfamiliar that it took me a while to “get it”, but I finally did, and it seems like everyone else did as well. Then Born To Die surfaced and I fell in love with her hopeless pessimism. Lana Del Rey was everyone’s favourite mystery. She was also a mystery to me, I didn’t even know how she looked like yet but I also didn’t care. Then the story wrote itself: Lana Del Rey used to be Lizzy Grant, a girl with less full lips, less glamorous clothes, less smoky peculiar vocals, and a less interesting sound that flopped a couple of years ago. The universal praising she had got turned into a mixed reaction at the discovery that Lana Del Rey was, for the lack of a better word, manufactured. But what was her crime, really? She reinvented herself after a failure, something that’s somehow admitted in every aspect of life but is condemned in music. A reinvention that Madonna has successfully practiced a million times. Video Games is still there, she still sings it and it sounds just as glorious, what has changed is the point of view that people choose to judge her from.
I’m not not a fan of the “real music” talk. Music is music, and it comes in different genres, types, sounds and vibes. Lana del Rey is music just like The Rolling Stones are music and the Spice Girls are music. You may like one of these bands more than the other. You may argument why you think one of these bands is better than the other. But you cannot negate the validity, legacy and success of each of these bands. If you do, it is your mistake to make. And I feel like this has been the mistake with Lana Del Rey. When she was a mystery, everyone embraced her, her image and her music. Now she is a manufactured pop act, a lot of people turn their backs at her, their own prejudices when it comes to pop music getting in the way. It’s not her music what has changed, it’s people’s mindsets, and that’s what’s truly a shame. Then she did one performance at Saturday Night Live and it was a disaster, and suddenly this one bad performance validated all the criticism and the cries that she isn’t really talented. For some. Not for me.
Because I have actually listened to her album. Songs like Dark Paradise, Million Dollar Man, National Anthem, Radio, This Is What Makes Us Girls or Summertime Paradise are as good as Video Games and Born To Die. I feel no remorse listening to Lana Del Rey, The Reinvented, just like I didn’t while listening to Lana Del Rey, The Music Mystery. I do not care if her lips have botox or not, frankly I am not that superficial. All I care about are things like the harp in Video Games, the chorus on Black Paradise, the pre-Chorus in Radio, the string arrangement in Dark Paradise, the delicacy of her vocals in Million Dollar Man. The album is consistent, melodic and authentic to Lana Del Rey’s spirit.
So here’s my verdict:
Listen to: Born To Die, Video Games, Dark Paradise, Million Dollar Man, National Anthem, Radio, This Is What Makes us Girls, Summertime Paradise.