January 24, 2012
Lana Del Rey’s first album “Born To Die,” dropped yesterday and, whether you love her or love to hate her, Del Rey has become an overnight sensation.
Less than a year after breaking onto the music scene with the viral music video “Video Games,” Del Rey was signed to Interscope Records, found success on the singles chart, faced criticism from a “Saturday Night Live” performance and, now, released a full-length album.
However, she wasn’t always known as Lana Del Rey. The singer found her legs as Lizzy Grant, an ambitious and creative young girl who dreamed of being a famous singer. Little did Grant know she would never be famous on her own accord, but as the self-proclaimed “gangsta Nancy Sinatra.”
Grant was rebranded as Lana Del Rey, the pouty femme fatale marketable to pop-lovers, audiophiles and hipsters alike. This is nothing new for the music industry. Many musicians, including the ones below, were able to break onto the music scene because of newly formed personas. However, they are able to back up their stage name/alter ego with an enormous amount of talent and I question whether Grant has the creative wherewithal to thrive under the guise of Lana Del Rey.
Upon first seeing “Video Games” on Youtube, I was enthralled with Del Rey. Her self-produced music video is a compilation of clips evoking a coming-of-age tale deeply rooted in a skateboarding culture that collides with nature and the glamour of the past. Catching a glimpse into her creativity and knack for visuals, I couldn’t wait to see what came next.
But now I find myself disappointed and crestfallen by her rise in fame. There is a serious disconnect between the persona developed by Interscope Records and the person who created “Video Games.” Grant may be a more marketable musician under her rebrand as Lana Del Rey but her music feels hollow and over-produced. Arguably, the best songs of Del Rey’s brief catalog are “Video Games,” “Blue Jeans” and “Diet Mountain Dew.” These songs were available on YouTube prior to Del Rey signing with Interscope Records and there is an audible difference when compared with the rest of her album.
So, now the question becomes whether Lizzy Grant has enough talent to sustain her rise as Lana Del Rey. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if her demise came as swiftly as her climb to the top.
Other artists you may know better by their stage name and rebranded persona.
Curtis Jackson – better known as 50 Cent
Stefani Germanotta – better known as Lady Gaga
Marshall Mathers – better known as Eminem or Slim Shady
February 6, 2012