Pretty Hate Machine: The Problem of Lana Del Rey

by Laurie Henzel

Ok, I’m gonna duck and cover here, and say I don’t hate Lana Del Rey. Maybe I don’t care enough to have such strong feelings, but I’m truly perplexed by the deep hatred people have for her. Even here in the BUST office, Team Lana only comprises about 30 percent of the staff. You’d think she’d murdered kittens while wearing an NRA tube top. Look, she’s no Adele in the singing department, and yes, I object to a 24-year-old girl getting lip injections (you don’t need ’em, Lana) but really, Internet, simmer down now. Here are some of my reasons for defending her:

  1. Yes, she changed her name, but big whoop—performers do this all the time. See: Billie Holiday, Bono, Iggy Pop, Natalie Portman, Moby, Nico, Queen Latifah, Pink.
  2. Apparently she writes her own lyrics, which is almost unheard of in pop music (usually people just hire that lady from 4 Non Blondes—ugh, so boring).
  3. She sucked on SNL, but so does everyone, due to the crap sound quality. (Did you see Florence’s performance a few months back?) Plus, I’m sure she was extremely nervous, which could be the cause for any performance problems. P.S. Her hair looked great, and her getup reminded me of Kelly from The Carrie Nations.
  4. Her video for the song “Video Games” made Shirley Manson cry! “The music is strong,” said Shirley here.
  5. My very astute, music-loving 13-year-old daughter digs her. (She’s got good taste: she also likes the Velvet Underground, Cat Power, and Elliott Smith.) I’m glad that in a world of disposable pop by Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, and Katy Perry, that she has better options.

I think people hate Del Rey because she got lucky: lucky that a major label decided to pour a bunch of money into her album and a publicity campaign on her behalf. Del Rey is also being positioned as an indie star, which is where things get tricky. Indie rockers are supposed to be more “real,” and certainly not manufactured by managers and A+R guys. Plus she’s awfully pretty and plays the sex kitten (which is a tried-and-true technique, and not a crime). Of course, I’m judging her after only hearing three songs, so maybe her album will be terrible and I’ll regret this post. But really, her music’s just entertainment, and in the end, not worthy of all the vitriol.

There have been plenty of arguments for and against her—it seems people love to fight over Lana Del Rey. Here are some choice posts on the subject, all more eloquent than mine…

Pro—Collapse The Question of Authenticity and Lana Del Rey

Con—Amy Klein’s blog: The Problem With Lana Del Ray

and Some Things You Should Know About Lana Del Rey Before She Plays SNL

Middle— Why the Indie Music World Hates Lana Del Rey

I’m curious what BUST readers think. Lana: love her or hate her?

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