Lana Del Rey is benefiting yet again from a manufactured PR campaign, but this time it's not her faultÂ—or idea. In this instance she gets plenty of unintentional recognition from Gawker magazine and... Brian Williams?
Lots of people haven't heard of this rising star yet because she's basically produced her own music and used the Justin Bieber/Rebecca Black YouTube model to promote her songs. And it's worked... big time.
Her first tune, Video Games, went viral practically overnight because of its unusual sound and message. There's nothing uplifting or hip about it. It's basically a reflection of life's irritants and the never-ending battle with overwhelming boredom and frustration brought on by lackadaisical romance. It's set to a techno-pop ballad wannabe feel, with a geeky, pre-apocalyptic fatalism twist. And it's sublime.
Lana Del Rey, it's been discovered, is the daughter of an Internet gazillionaire and has, apparently, used that wealth to spring forth, already fully formed, on to the music scene. It's the old coming out of nowhere scenario with the added benefit of not having to struggle for years in poverty before finally hitting it big. And that puts a bad taste in plenty of critics' mouths.
It seems most reviewers feel it is the natural path of talented artists to suffer for their craft in obscurity for years before getting the recognition they deserve for spectacular talent and inspired creation.
Lana Del Rey (a.k.a. Elizabeth Grant) is breaking the mold with a new business model which puts the music out there widely and allows fans to say either Yay! or Nay! based on their own tastes, instead of being force-fed what labels decide it is they want to hear. It takes a big bankroll to do it. That's why it's rarely done. And it's never been done so effectively.
Over the weekend LDR appeared on SNL for a two-song set. She reprised Video Games beautifully, if a bit stiffly, and broke Blue Jeans with increased polish and growing confidence. It turns out she really does care about pleasing her audience and wants to do well. It's just not necessary to change costume every time she tries.
Brian Williams was bored out of his own skull on Sunday and emailed a buddy over at Gawker complaining about the site's lack of news on weekends. Sorry, Brian. They probably don't have the staff you're used to at NBC and are incapable of churning out meaningless pulp 24/7/365 like the staff at NBC Nightly News is paid bloated salaries to do.
But Gawker knows a good story when they steal one, especially on a down news day, and published the email without consent.
In it Williams trashed Lana Del Rey for her performance, writing "Brooklyn hippster [sic] Lana Del Rey had one of the worst outings in SNL history last night ... the least-experienced musical guest in the show's history, for starters."
So Brian Williams is a music critic now. He can add that to his rÃ©sumÃ©, along with terrible comedy actor, shilling for NBC on 30 Rock without knowing he's buffoonish and awful at comedy. Which works brilliantly on that show...
Gawker at least had the stones to keep the email scoop up on the site after a complaint by some faceless NBC lawyer looking to protect the "brand," and from there the ball started rolling about how "terrible" Lana Del Rey was on SNL.
Anyone with a hint of a musical ear can watch both videos of her performance (for free!!!) and see, as well as hear, instantly what message is trying to be conveyed. It's all "been there, done that" on the surface with a tremulous, frightened little girl underneath.
And what other singer has the vocal range of Lana Del Rey? Follow along as she effortlessly floats through the registers from Contralto to Soprano, sometimes within the same lyric line. It's brilliant and absolutely astounding.
So Gawker and Brian Williams have only served to add to the media fire surrounding Lana Del Rey and her improbable rise to musical glory. And this time, she didn't have to pay a dime to a publicist or a musical director.
It's kinda like being President up for re-election. Let everybody else spend millions of dollars on mind-numbingly boring ad campaigns, while the Press just does its job covering every move the incumbent makes...
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