Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lana Del Rey Played SNL (VIDEO); Controversy Rages On

The meteoric rise of Lana Del Rey continued when she performed as the musical guest on "Saturday Night Live" last night, and like everything else involving this young singer, there was much controversy before and after the fact. (See her SNL performances below.)

I like Lana Del Rey's voice and songs (all three or four that I've heard), but found her performance on SNL tough to watch (especially "Video Games"). She has limited touring experience, and clearly didn't seem ready for such a big stage. She did seem more relaxed and expressive on her second number, "Blue Jeans." Watch the videos and see what you think.

For those not familiar with Del Rey (real name: Elizabeth Grant), she came out of nowhere last year to become a sensation (and a lightning rod for criticism) upon the release of her song "Video Games." The 25 year old has a voice that is sometimes sultry and sometimes vulnerable, and the tune itself is catchy.

Del Rey's good looks (and willingness to show them off in sexy clothes and poses) no doubt contributed to her rising popularity... and to the inevitable critical backlash. According to Wikipedia, Del Rey/Grant's father is a millionaire investor who has used his money and marketing skills to promote his daughter's career.

The fact that a performer with such limited experience got the plum SNL gig just stirs the controversy even more. (Her first full-length album as Lana Del Rey doesn't even come out until the end of this month; she apparently had an album under the name Lizzy Grant a couple of years back.) (You can pre-order the forthcoming album, "Born to Die,"here.)

Some music critics see her as an intriguing new voice (such as the hosts of NPR's All Songs Considered, where I first heard the song). Others are not impressed with her voice or style, and see her as a manufactured pop princess. As often happens, there are plenty of new Lana Del Rey fans, and haters, who are just jumping on the bandwagon.

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