In Lana Del Rey's Defense
February 6, 2012, 2:50 pm
Making Sense of Liz Phair's Lana Del Rey Defense
This Spin piece is worth reading. Liz Phair says it's ultimately about being heard. Has each successive wave of backlash and backlash-to-backlash over a young pop singer with an OK voice, a distinctive Betty-Draper-gone-Beth-Orton (plus dated hip-hop slang!) aesthetic, and a couple of otherwise-forgettable TV appearances got you dizzy yet? Just you wait. Liz Phair wrote about Lana Del Rey over the weekend for the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog, and Phair's take is, um, complicated.The connection between the two would seem to be that both are female singer-songwriters whose music can be frankly (hetero-)sexual and critically divisive. Phair, for her part, released an almost universally acclaimed indie-rock landmark with 1994 debut Exile in Guyville ("Phair doesn't merely show promise — she seems to have it all, good and bad, already," our reviewer prophetically opined), then put out a couple of almost universally somewhat-less-acclaimed records before splitting everybody with a self-titled album of shiny pop. Del Rey, of course, is the "Video Games" singer with the Brian Williams-panned Saturday Night Live performance and the anticlimactic debut album Born to Die. (See also: Deconstructing Lana Del Rey.)What the industry veteran has to say about the fresh-faced up-and-comer is complicated — one could less charitably say "confusing" — so let's try to break it down. In one fell swoop, Phair basically claims Del Rey as an heir, says Del Rey's music isn't necessarily that good, revisits the tired old authenticity debate our critic Rob Harvilla already took care of once and for all, links Del Rey to a vision of a woman-led society (sounds better to me, honestly!), calls for Del Rey to "duke it out" with female musicians from M.I.A. to Tegan and Sara, and tells us we won't understand why she's saying this (I'm still not sure I do). Then Phair brings it all back to, well, herself.
Read more HERE.