The Soapbox | My take on the phenemenon known as Lana Del Rey


By Alan Ho

This is not an article in which I would take on the role of some of my more esteemed but holier than thou colleagues in music journalism and rip on Lana Del Rey.  I am here to offer a more measured take, at least I hope it is on the former folk-pop/rock singer-songwriter Lizzy Grant, now known as electronic-pop/rock phenemenon Lana Del Rey. 

As you know, as my duties as chief editor, I allowed a review of Lana’s debut album “Born to Die” to make it across Musiqtone and it earned a 2.5 out of 5 from our reviewer.  She honestly did not care much for the album and whole admitting that lyrically it was fine, it was not fine from a music standpoint.  So I had to listen for myself since I was already mildly familiar with Lizzy during one of my many trips to that thing called Myspace.  

I think what we have here with Lana Del Rey is someone who wanted to reinvent herself, both image and music-wise.  She felt that Lizzy Grant, the plain old folk-pop/rock singer-songwriter just wasn’t working out and wanted to tap another side of herself and embrace it.  And that’s OK, music is all about exploration and something I like to call “Evolving the Music”; all the good and great musicians and bands do it, try it at least once, see what works and then incorporate it into what already has worked and/or selling tickets, singles and albums in the past.  The problem I have with Del Rey is that while she clearly wants everything that comes with successfully reinventing oneself in music, it almost feels like she ran out of gas somewhere in the process and decided to just fly with it, with no more fuel to use to what I think is a total incomplete project.  This is my feeling on musical reinvention, to truly and successfully reinvent oneself, you have to be willing to invest the time, all your creative juices and covering every base before you go out there and come out anew.  It seemed like on Del Rey’s “Born to Die”, she either didn’t or want to invest in all of that to truly remake oneself.  Whether or not that was her decision or her label’s can be debated till someone comes out and says something. 

Based on that, I can’t really say Lana isn’t good, but I’m willing to say she isn’t bad, the chick can clearly write.  But as far as the music goes, there’s something missing.  Time, maybe even a bit more effort.  In that regard, I would be in line with our reviewer’s take on “Born to Die”.

And hopefully as the roar of holier-than-thou critics still somewhat continue to pile on her (especially after that SNL disaster, then cancelling a tour), she learns from it, applies and finishes her transformation from Lizzy Grant to Lana Del Rey on her next album…as long as her label allows it.  Her sophomore album will be the one to ultimately define her place in music and how she is viewed by myself and my colleagues as well as music fans.  So I would say, quit piling on her.  You want to pile on her and rip her?  Wait and see what she has coming for her second album…THEN you can make a sound judgment of who she is and WHAT she is as an artist looking to reinvent herself.


This is The Soapbox…so I wanna hear what you think…but keep it somewhat civil though!  Do you agree, disagree, indifferent?

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