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Lana Del Rey is a highly divisive American singer. Originally recording under her (real) name, Lizzy Grant, to little success, she later created her current Lana Del Rey persona after being inspired by her frequent visits to Miami, and wanting a name she could "shape the music towards". Also, she just liked the way it sounded.
After settling on her new name, Lana posted a few songs (with accompanying, DIY music videos made on her Mac) to YouTube. One song in particular, "Video Games", caught the attention of many music blogs and critics alike. To capitalize on the sudden interest of the track, Lana released "Video Games" (with a b-side, "Blue Jeans") as a single on Stranger Records in October 2011, and it became a Sleeper Hit all across Europe. Not long afterwards, Lana was signed to Interscope Records, and her (major label) debut Born to Die was released worldwide in January 2012. For a relative unknown like Lana, it actually sold pretty well in its first week; she even managed to knock Adele's 21 off the top spot in many countries, including the UK.
You can't talk about Lana without addressing the major controversy (controversies?) surrounding her sudden rise to fame, mainly relating to her image and persona. The biggest issue people seem to have with Lana is her supposed lack of "authenticity"; In interviews, Lana claimed to have lived in a trailer park for years, but it soon become known that she actually comes from money (her father is a millionaire), leading people to question why she'd purposely live in squalor, and if she used her name to win some connections in the music industry. Others find her immensely overrated, and uninteresting as a performer. Probably the most trivial of complaints directed at her, though, is in regard to her lips; many feel they are comically exaggerated from cosmetic surgery, though Lana herself claims they aren't surgically enhanced. In any event, people have found many reasons to hate on her.
Lana's Saturday Night Live performances in early 2012 (of "Video Games"" and Blue Jeans") only made the above criticisms worse. Many viewers were puzzled by her languid stage presence, her… unusual vocal performance, and some even thought she was an elaborate Kristen Wiig character. Needless to say, Lana became a target for snark, and was even called the worst SNL performer ever by many. But weirdly enough, her SNL appearance didn't hurt her album's opening week sales in America like many thought it would. SNL would later lampshade Lana's appearance on the show (addressing the many criticisms thrown at her by viewers) during its Weekend Update segment... with Kristen Wiig actually playing Lana this time. You can watch her spot-on impression here.
- Lana Del Ray A.K.A. Lizzy Grant (2010)
- Born To Die (2012)
The Artist Formerly Known As Lizzy Grant provides examples of:
I want my cake and I want to eat it too/ I want to have fun and be in love with you
- Audio Erotica: Sings in a low, husky voice.
- Break Up Song: "Video Games", "Blue Jeans", "Dark Paradise", and "Summertime Sadness".
- Better by a Different Name: Literally, because Del Rey originally had a contract under the name Lizzie Grant and many fans were skeptical when she became Lana Del Rey.
- Dear Negative Reader: Lana has been known to respond to her detractors on social media sites.
- The Chanteuse: Her record label specifically built her up to resemble a sultry lounge singer.
- Driven to Suicide: Born To Die, Dark Paradise.
- Deliberately Monochrome: The music video for "Blue Jeans".
- Embarrassing Middle Name: Her full, real name is Elizabeth Woolridge Grant.
- Even the Girls Want Her: The mysterious young starlet from Carmen.
- Fan Girl: Said Britney Spears was one of her favorite artists that inspired pursue a music career.
- Some tracks on her album even have some heavy Britney influence like Lolita, Diet Mountain Dew and National Anthem.
- Fille Fatalons: She lampshades these often, especially in songs like Lolita and many songs on her early albums, and like with Rihanna and Adele, her stiletto style long nails have become one of the most trademark and consistent parts of her look.
- Grief Song: "Dark Paradise" heavily implied.
I'm scared that you won't be waiting on the other side
Your soul is haunting me and telling me/That everything is fine/But I wish I was dead
- It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": She said in an interview with Complex Magazine that she once had to correct a fan's pronunciation of her name, which she says is "Lon-ah".
- Intercourse with You: "National Anthem".
- "Diet Mountain Dew" as well. "Say's he's gonna teach me just what fast is," anyone?
- Lolicon : "Put Me In A Movie"
- Love Nostalgia Song: "Blue Jeans", "Dark Paradise", and "Summertime Sadness".
- May-December Romance: "Off to the Races".
- Money Song: All over Born To Die, National Anthem and Radio.
- Melismatic Vocals: Del Rey uses plenty of flourishes in her voice.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Mixes Rock,Rnb, Pop and retro 60's pop in one package.
- Obsession Song: "Born To Die", "National Anthem", "Without You", "Dark Paradise"
- Power of Friendship: "This is what makes us girls"
- Rockstar Song: "Carmen", "Lolita", "Radio", "Without You". (Mostly mocking the whole thing)
- Silly Love Songs: "Lucky Ones",
- Shout-Out: The song "Lolita".
- In "Out to the Races", also to Lolita:
Light of my life, fire of my loins
- Smarter Than You Look: Invented her own persona, wrote most of her album material.
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: Subverted, the radio ready "Upbeat" songs are hidden amongst the slow rnb retro ballads, for instance Lolita, Diet Mountain Dew and National Anthem.
- Take That: "Carmen" against various unwholesome, unfulfilling ways of life. According to The Other Wiki the songs message is "to warn younger girls about the lifestyles of celebrities like Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton."
- Yandere: Dark Paradise.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Lana's love interest in the videos for "Born to Die" and "Blue Jeans".