OK, that’s a joke – sort of. Lana Del Rey is the pampered daughter of a Los Angeles dotcom millionaire: she’ll never have to worry about being a single paycheck away from homelessness. And no matter how much hate spews from the blogosphere, she’ll always at least have the option of hiring a PR team to tell the world how wonderful she is. But that outpouring of hate is hypocritical to the extreme.
Saying that what she does has more artistic merit than, say, Bon Iver or Arcade Fire is like saying that Mad Dog tastes better than Smirnoff Ice (it does, but why subject yourself to it at all). Still, if you’ve seen the stupid video, you have to admit that her phony noir shtick is actually a step (maybe a half-step or a microstep) above either of those two acts, both of whom have been championed by the same boys who take so much pleasure in putting her down. Could this possibly be a case of sour grapes? Maybe those boys have got their boy-thongs all in a knot because what they really want is to be Lana Del Rey. Why should she get all the photoshoots, the endless parade of stylists and sycophants, and trailerloads of American Outfitters knockoff clothes to choose from every afternoon when she wakes up?
Yeah, there’s a studied ineptitude to everything she does. But why should, say, Grizzly Bear get a free pass when it comes to musical incompetence, while Lana gets pilloried for it? That hypocrisy is fueled by misogyny. After all, everybody knows that indie rock is a boys’ club: other than the closeted trust-fund lesbian contingent, it’s no girls allowed. In a genre where being an atrocity exhibition is a badge of honor (it means you’re wealthy and can afford to embarrass yourself onstage or on record), why, all of a sudden, does quality matter when it comes to Lana Del Rey, but not when any of the boys are concerned? And the height of the hypocrisy is borne out by the fact that her Bowery Ballroom show was sold out. Clearly, the pretty boys of Bushwick’s interest in celebrity far outweighs their interest in music. And that’s two-faced to the extreme.