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This Lana Del Rey Controversy is So Whatever

By • Oct 28th, 2011 • Category: CELEBS, ENTERTAINMENT, Music

If you’ve heard of Lana Del Rey, you’ve probably heard at least some of the bones that have been dug up and posted on the Internet: that her first album – a cut of semi-mainstream pop – flopped, that she was hand-crafted an indie image for the second go-around, and crafted physical adjustments to go along. She may have just won the “Next Best Thing” title at the Q Awards, but she’s still hyped as the fake-out artist of the year.

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I know there’s nothing new about critics pouncing on an artist’s authenticity, or lack thereof, and that new artists who’ve yet to musically “prove” themselves are especially subject to suspicion. But this particular controversy has reeked of pre-emptive bias. The singer doesn’t even have a full-length album out and already the mobs are forming. Who even thought authenticity could be considered a thing anymore, in an era dominated by mash-ups, genre-bending neo-symphonic folk bands, and artists who build their entire careers through countless celebrated reinventions? Not to mention the fact that sampling has been around longer than Del Rey herself.

So from what the bloggers and commenters are saying, the issue of her authenticity seems to be as much about her physical appearance as it is about her music. Whether it actually is, I’m having a tough time seeing the problem with either. Every artist’s image is crafted, even with the teeniest of needle points, and she’s clearly not a repeat Rebecca Black. Am I missing the point of these before and after shots, to prove she had some work done? Is it shallow of me to think that she looks hot either way, and still want to listen to her spooky song about jerks and their video games?

What the real beef of these criticisms seem to hiding is 1) that lame paradox that on one hand, says women must be universally attractive, meanwhile discrediting them when they are with a pandering “gotcha!” and 2) an outdated ideal of artistic purity. Her voice is gorgeous, and her sixties trailer park pinup look is too. That she didn’t just fall from the clouds a perfectly in-tact package of sultriness, that her songwriting and musical styles have undergone certain changes (though minor compared to the Justin Timberlake’s and Katy Perry’s of pop) shouldn’t be a surprise. Nor much reason for these debates.

To say that she’s a fake is one thing. But the online outrage and obsession with her clearly effective if provocative image says much more. And that’s got “future star” written all over it.

Has this whole controversy pissed anyone else off?

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is a coastal-hopping country-come-cosmo girl who can be found getting her feet dirty all around Brooklyn and writing all over the Internet. She is the probably lovechild of Jay-Z and Dolly Parton. Follow her on Twitter @karinabthatsme
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