In defense of Lana Del Rey

Here’s the much-lambasted performance that she gave last night on SNL.

Frankly, she looked a hot mess, but I don’t think that means she should give up her career.  She has a great voice and obviously has star magnetism, even if it hasn’t been practiced enough to work on live TV.

I think her voice sounds great.  Her high notes are spot on and have a nice hint of vibrato that make them ring nicely.  Her middle voice evokes some of those great voices that I associate with the 70s (I’m drawing a blank as to an example, but I’m sure I’ll come up with one eventually.)  In short, she resonates well.  She also appears to have more of a range than your typical pop star, which is refreshing.  I didn’t say she had a big range, though, because that remain to be seen.

As for her much criticized stage presence:

Singing songs that are slow and don’t really allow for dancing, rocking out, or any of the myriad crutches that most performers use are hard to perform.  Especially for someone who lacks practice.  When you learn to sing in public without props or distractions, suddenly you have hands and you have no idea what to do with them.  You sway nervously because it’s hard to stand still without conscious practice.  Your face looks dead and inexpressive because you haven’t practiced connecting the music with your facial muscles.  These things, for most people, take conscious, concentrated effort.  There is more to singing than delivering notes, but for some singers, that takes longer to learn than for others.  I have every confidence that Lana Del Rey can learn this ability at least to an adequate if not impressive degree, and then, a talented producer can make up for her failings with distractions that would mask them so well that no one would notice.  After all, Lady Gaga may be a good performer, but she has never had to just stand on a stage and deliver like that to my knowledge (although I have no doubt that she could).  Lady Gaga always has a piano, or half-naked men, or a sparkling cage, or a whole host of other props.  The producer here really failed Del Rey by putting her in a gig that she wasn’t ready for, failing to adequately prep her, and failing to provide appropriate distractions from her rigidity.  Any idiot knows that giving her planned out hand motions or things to do would have eased 80% of her nerves and made her performance passable if not laudable.  I think, if anything, her performance more disturbingly reflects on the ineptitude of the people working with her than on her herself.

Del Rey just needs practice and needs a team who knows how to work with new, inexperienced talent.  Just because someone has sung for a long time does not mean that they have performed for a long time and the idiot that got her in this mess should have known that.

Granted, Del Rey should’ve realized some of this herself, but I can imagine that she’s kind of caught up in the whirlwind of it all and didn’t know or didn’t have enough sense to put the brakes on.  However, I doubt that a lot of people who turn into major stars have that kind of sense.  They are often little more than canvases or rather, pretty packaging to be filled with the label’s ideas for them.  I’m pretty sure I heard that Norah Jones was just a country singer before producers got to her.  That should tell you that half the job in this business is done by the producer, etc in creating the artist from the rough material provided.  Norah Jones had a good voice and apparently could play the piano, so she was worth creating according to someone.  Lana Del Rey has a much-buzzed about couple of videos and refreshingly new-yet-old image.  Let’s not toss the baby out with the bath water here.  There is value to be capitalized on, and talent to be enjoyed for what it can offer once it is appropriately filtered by people who know how to do their job.

I just don’t think this failing is a deal breaker because I still saw promise.  Perhaps the rest of the public will be more fickle, but I doubt it.  Ashlee Simpson came back from worse and she absolutely has no singing talent.

In short, lesser stars have risen from such beginnings, so let’s be patient and not try to give up on her.

Side note, I love her dress.  She did succeed at looking true-to-her-hyped-image-hot.

And now for a little lagniappe, a song that I hadn’t heard yet from Del Rey.  Gotta say, I love the promise in it.

And then, because, I’m now in the thralls of a YouTube related videos black hole, this cover is nice and makes me take greater note of the lyrics from Del Rey’s Born to Die.  Her voice is too sweet for the song – it needs Lana Del Rey’s grit to be remarkable, but I really like this lady’s skills nonetheless.



Filed under art, fashion, music, news

2 responses to “In defense of Lana Del Rey

  1. Pingback: Lana Del Rey on Saturday Night Live | Bill Chance

  2. You are the only other person that has said anything positive in the aftermath of Lana Del Rey’s performance (which was about what I expected) on SNL.

    Thanks for sharing.

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