Sunday, February 05, 2012

Lana Del Rey or Why I Hate the Media

In December, many of blogs I follow started getting all a-flutter about singer Lana Del Rey. They posted the video for her single "Video Game," they wrote breathlessly about her upcoming album, "Born to Die," and basically made it seem like she was the greatest thing since the iPhone. Then in January, the backlash began. She did a stilted gig on SNL. It was revealed that she had released an album before under her government name of Lizzy Grant, and that her hype machine was fueled by major label money. People accused her of not being indie. They made fun of her plastic surgery. They accused her of astroturfing.

Her album dropped last week, and response has been tepid. People have been quick to bash her. Most reviewers point out what is probably the truth, that the album is ho-hum and not worthy of all the attention it has gotten, either positive or negative. Even Rolling Stone gave it 2 stars, and they NEVER give ANYTHING 2 stars. Rolling Stone loves every album. They had a motto up in their offices in the 90s that 3 stars meant never having to say you're sorry.

Most reviewers are spineless fucks, myself included. We don't want to go out on a limb and say something sucks if everyone else seems to like it. We don't want to be mean to an artist. We don't want to admit to not understanding something everyone else loves. The only exception is when something is so loved we want to be contradictory, or when the signal has been given that it is ok to hate on an album.

Case in point. Nicolas Jaar's "Space Is Only Noise" made a bunch of top 10 lists. Why would a weird, meandering electronica album make so many top 10 lists? Because the signal was given that this was a cool record, and people lined up to love it, myself included. The fact that it is indeed a remarkable album helps its case, of course, but that is secondary. There are tons of brilliant records that don't get championed. It's far easier to back a winner than to go out on your own.

But I'm getting off topic. The whole Lana Del Rey thing is an example of the worst element of the media, especially in this hyper connected age. Some little thing will be talked and hyped to death by a bunch of pundits who don't know what the fuck they are talking about, creating this vicious feedback loop that makes a small matter into a giant tumor. Then, just as quickly, the tide will turn and the person or issue will vanish completely. The Republican primary is one example of this. Or Mass Effect as a sex simulator. Or Obama's birth certificate. Or any celebrity couple.


Whatever. "Video Games" is a decent song. Also, fake lips are terrible. I've never, ever looked at a woman and thought, I wish her lips were bigger.There is not one case where fake lips look better than real lips.

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