- 20 Jun 19
Paul Nolan reflects on Del Rey's career as of today and how her unique grim-romanticism has solidified her as an artist of the decade.
It is sometimes strange the way artists end up hitting the headlines. Of late, Lana Del Rey unexpectedly found herself at the centre of social media attention, courtesy of an anecdote in Moby's controversial memoir Then It Fell Apart. In it, the electronic producer invites Del Rey - then going by her real name, Lizzy Grant - back to his lavish New York apartment, where he asks to hear some of her material on the piano.
Grant tells Moby he's "the man", which he initially takes as a compliment - only for the singer to retort,"ÒNo, not like that. You're a rich WASP from Connecticut and you live in a five-level penthouse. You're 'The Man'. As in, 'stick it to The Man'. As in the person they guillotine in the revolution."
But withering putdowns are far from the only thing in which Del Rey specialises. Since debuting in 2011 with the international smash 'Video Games' - a song of the decade contender - the singer, a native of Lake Placid in New York state, has stayed the course in hugely impressive fashion. There were strong clues that she was considerably more than just a one-hit pop wonder in the accompanying clip for 'Video Games', directed and edited by Del Rey herself
A zeitgeist-defining collage of home-movie footage, moody black and white shots of skateboarders, vintage cartoons and paparazzi clips, 'Video Games' suggested Lana Del Rey was an artist for the times. That potential was fully realised on the track's parent album, Born To Die- - 2012's favourite ram-raid album for music supervisors looking to soundtrack TV and film trailers - as well as subsequent outings like Ultraviolence and Honeymoon.
Indeed, Del Rey has one of the most perfectly formed aesthetics in contemporary pop; with its thematic focus on youthful hedonism, sex and violence - all cloaked in an atmosphere of doomed romanticism - her material radiates a palpable sense of dark LA glamour. Having hit number one in Ireland with 2015's Honeymoon, the following year Lana wowed Electric Picnic with a memorable headline set. Creatively, she has also shown impressive range throughout her career, proving equally comfortable duetting with Bobby Womack or soundtracking Baz Luhrmann's epic adaptation of The Great Gatsby.
Del Rey's most recent album, 2017's Lust For Life, found her once again playing with her image, adopting a down-home country look on the sleeve. The record also featured collaborations with an eclectic range of guests, including The Weeknd, Steve Nicks, ASAP Rocky and Sean Lennon.
Lately, Del Rey has been busy plotting the follow-up, which has the rather brilliant working title Norman Fucking Rockwell. For good measure, she has also announced plans to self-publish a book of poetry, provisionally titled Violet Bent Backwards Over The Grass. But before all that, there's a highly anticipated Dublin show to perform. Miss it at your peril.
Lana Del Rey is playing Malahide Castle this Saturday, June 22 with Kojaque and Tamino.