If you’re wondering why I didn’t just use a picture, I’d be bloody damned if I be liable to anything related to the music industry again.
So, as this is going to be a habit from now on, I was drinking tea and listening to music. Somewhere on the internet someone is screaming “pretentious prick” at my general direction, but I digress. I came over “Summertime Sadness”, one of the most memorable songs I’ve heard last year. It doesn’t particularly strike me as artistic so much as haunting, reminding me of the old days when I was able to relate to it. Still, that’s not why I want to talk about it. Instead, I want to talk about Lana as a singer, and as one of many faces popping into today’s “pop culture”. I use quotation marks, not because I want to be ironically clever, but because I cannot say those words without unwilling jerking my muscles, like a bad cold.
I’m going to preface this with saying that Lana Del Rey, or at least her album “Born To Die” in full, has been a great source of entertainment for myself ever since I took notice of them. I also won’t pretend that I know anything about singing beyond the very basics, as all my observations obviously stemmed from my personal (unrefined, you might say) taste. Thank god that I’m not arguing it here, as my tolerance ends at the first sight of my trying to string big words together, much like certain writers. Being as active on the internet as I am, it’s hard not to notice comments made towards something you’re actively trying to discover. I’ll be honest, I sought out to a lot of them, knowing fully well that the majority will be as meaningful as the cheese strings inside my trash bin. A recurring theme of, I suppose, ‘complaint’ Lana has with her music is that she’s not authentic enough, and the fact that she might have had facial surgery at some point was a point of debate. Now to be fair, a lot of these are in response to saying that she was drop dead gorgeous or something of those lines. As far as I can tell, she is. However, considering the fact that it’s her songs I’m interested in, I could not care less about those debates. What I do find interesting, however, is the notion of authenticity. To me, that means literally nothing. She’s in show business. Her music is one thing, her face is a different thing, and Lana herself doesn’t even have to be remotely close to any of what those media might entails. Why people find the need to question someone’s, or perhaps their own, enjoyment of music based on whether the singer was “faking” the emotions or not is beyond me. Anyone who even mentions such a thing to an actor, for example, would be deemed ridiculous. In fact, the actors would actually be praised for effectively embodying dialogues and attitude of someone other than themselves. The notion is hilarious at best, but it exists. Why does it exist? I truly cannot answer. The world is big, and I’d be damned if I understand even a little of it. Still, if Jon Caramanica at the New York Times could bring himself to indulge in it, then so can I. It was easy to ride on basically the same narrative, I’d say, where every party of “dissectors” was being, or rather trying to be, satirical and objective about one another that they never realize how silly it made them all look. It’s well within their rights, of course, but those from The New Yorker, The Guardian and, excuse my subconscious sneering, HipsterRunOff never thought to look back at what they’re actually writing. Unlike I who will continue to stay on my high horse for pure entertainment, these publishers would be hard pressed to even stay on topic.
I don’t mind the blind fans, really. Hell, I don’t even mind the criticisms, because I know fully well Ms. Del Rey deserves the lot of it. The early live performances were nothing short of atrocious, and if I didn’t know better I’d be thinking crooked advertisement. All of these are fine, because I can clearly see how genuine they are, and how hard they’re trying to get attention. I can say this now, of course, as an off-time blogger who has zero stakes in anything said. With that in mind, it rubs me the wrong way when someone try to be smarter than she, or he, really is. I could not tell for the life of me whether the entire album is extravagant sarcasm, full of nothing but mockery and skewed word views, as told to me by one very angry internet commenter; or it is a genuine depiction of a persona she had formed, or even forged, beating through every pump of the songs. Everywhere was (past tense of course, as it’s no longer topical) filled with pages analysing the beats, the lyrics, the background, the style of that which were nothing but a collection of notes sung across the span of a few minutes. A lot of these articles took a rather condescending tone towards the artist’s reception, flaunting on their prediction of her eventual irrelevance. They didn’t even see how desperate they were trying. I realize how old I sound like I’m pretending to be, but can’t we just take a step back and realize how ridiculous all parties were being? I’m not one of those people who believe that the new generation is suddenly worrying just because people’s ignorant are being shown more publicly than ever before. Honestly, the ones who believe so are just lazy, but that’s for another day. What I would like to do is look at this whole shebang and point out how unnecessary it was, just like this post, evidently. All of this talk are, ultimately, irrelevant to the true purpose of the medium. People are obsessed with a face, whether to make fun of or to praise, so much so that it became all too obvious how they all overreacted. Everyone is part of the problem. Actually, scratch that, everyone IS the problem. Critics just want to sound deep, and publishers want their products praised by critics. It’s a truly vicious circle, and those outside laughing don’t even noticed they’re being laughed at. That is, of course, if the public stopped caring about nonsense altogether. Then again if that were to happen, those people would be out of a job.
You are now free to call me a pretentious prick.
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