Wednesday, 5 October 2011
-Music Videos on my Mind- Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games”
One has to be weary of the British press when it comes to overhyping new acts, especially American ones that achieve fame here before they do their own country. Kings of Leon are an example of such an occurrence, as is someone like Quentin Tarantino; both embraced to such an extent by dear old Blighty that Americans had no choice but to take notice of something that had been hanging around their backyards for years.
Now Lana Del Rey is the new addition to the list of American artists who are set to make waves thanks to an overenthusiastic reaction by British music listeners. The BBC, NME and Guardian have run a series of features on Del Rey, hailing her as the next big thing in music. The buzz has been so fierce that US tabloids like EW and Pitchfork have been compelled to also report on her.
Within 6 weeks of posting her debut track Video Games on Youtube, Del Rey has gone from being a minor blogging curiosity to getting her song featured in last week's CW primetime series Ringer.
It seems easy to understand why Del Rey found popularity in the UK before the US, primarily because she has more in common with minimalist British singers like Adele and Birdy than what she does with the current crop of flamboyant mainstream American solo pop princesses. Furthermore, Del Rey is a metaphysics graduate from New York, which always adds credence to singer's credentials as far as the British are concerned.
Del Rey has now moved to London because her growing appreciation here means she will probably gain traction in the rest of Europe too. In truth, her sound is so ineffably American that it's hard to see how she cannot break her own country soon.
The video for Video Games is a fairly ad hoc affair that channels little about the song's themes concerning a young woman's feelings of neglect and insecurity in light of her lover's apathy towards her. It's a heavy subject for a doll-like 24-year old who sings in a voice wiser than her years. Perhaps the evocative resonance of Video Games is why Del Rey managed to sell out a recent London gig within 30 minutes of tickets going on sale.
Is this unwarranted hype, or is Del Rey the real deal? Only time will tell, but she at least seems more relevant to this era of uncertainty and uneasiness than say what Katy Perry or Ke$ha are.
In short, Del Rey seems to be singing about real feelings, a tradition her contemporary mainstream American female singing fraternity is struggling to uphold.