Friday, 30 December 2011
The Del Rey Dilemma - Off to the Races...
If there's anything that neatly sums up my confused feelings about Lana Del Rey, it's Q magazine's brilliant cover shot of her. With its wry 'bloody' pun, it wraps up all the frustration with her ridiculous levels of over-hype and artistic posturing - most importantly though, she looks great, like really really great.
Strip away the throne-perched, towering presence of Lana Del Rey the media creation, and there exists a singer of undeniably great talent, whose album is sure to become one of the early biggest sellers of 2012. While I, especially at the start, couldn't stand what Del Rey stood for, or the seemingly endless sticky-ness of her chocolaty vocals, with continued exposure - as we're all bound to face next year - I began to see the positives to be taken from her.
It was with taster track Off to the Races that she finally 'clicked'. With Del Rey finally 'going uptempo' and eschewing her lower tones for a flirty high-pitched vocal line, Off to the Races emphasised what I personally always wanted Del Rey to be - a proper popstar, instead of a dizzying blend of artistic, sexual, mediafied influences. Unlike Born to Die and Video Games, which take eons to unleash their hooks - and only then amidst a baroque soup of sound - Off to the Races is light and airy, and most importantly, fun.
Her cackling cries of 'scarlet harlot!' show Del Rey in touch with 25 year old she actually is, instead of the quasi-goddess like figure she manifests herself as in her previous videos, an untouchable being of perfection. Here, she appears as fundamentally more the 'character', but a character that is innately in touch with herself - and from this, we finally see all aspects of her coming together in the most fitting of unions.
And once the gates are unlocked, a flood of understanding, and ultimately affection for Del Rey comes. It's the subtlety of moments like the delicately plucked harp strings or slow trickle of icy static-like synths in Video Games. Looking past the veneer and the hype, there's a great artist there.
Born To Die, the album, is released on the 30th January and can be pre-ordered on Amazon here.