A new pop princess has declared her reign, leaving many lukewarm. Born Lizzy Grant, Lana Del Rey began taking the internet by storm after the June 2010 Release of her debut single, Video Games. The self-proclaimed “gangster Nancy Sinatra” is fast becoming known for her nostalgic image, bee-stung lips, and questionable on stage presence.
In print, Lana’s image speaks for itself. She is a window into the world without the Vietnam War, nostalgic Americana accessorized by a wistful reminder of nineties R&B. Her voice, a deep husk foiled by melodic teases, sounds chronically sleepy, as if the tracks were recorded with a cigarette in one hand and a rum and coke in the other.
Preceding the debut of Born to Die, Del Rey rose to internet stardom and was quickly welcomed as a breath of fresh air among her leotard-wearing peers. Paparazzi photos and clips from overseas performances were splashed across the blogosphere, and it suddenly became clear that this woman was becoming a mainstay in the pop world. This charismatic persona has become as essential to her performance as the music itself, which can deemed adequately charming, if not mediocre.
Del Rey’s live performances are a gamble. Relaxed and acoustic, her voice flows naturally and often without flaw. However, her anxiety and hesitancy recurrently make her onstage presence a bore.
Weeks before the release of her debut album, Born to Die, an infamous SNL performance was panned by critics and fans alike. Her first televised performance in America was shaky, unnatural, and when it wasn’t uncomfortable, tedious.
Upon viewing various performances and interviews, it becomes clear that whether or not Lana Del Rey is icon material, her presence among Kiss FM’s finest is a pleasurable one. If this is the future of pop stars, I would say we have done a lot worse.