Since her performance on Saturday Night Live a week and a half ago, Lana Del Rey has become the girl that the internet loves to hate. Actress/singer Juliette Lewis compared her SNL appearance to a 12-year-old pretending to sing in her bedroom and NBC’s Brian Williams said it was “one of the worst outings in SNL history.” But is it fair to be so harsh towards the singer before she has even released a debut album? Here is my list of five reasons why we should all give LDR a second chance.
1. “She’s a harbinger of hipsterdom’s demise, a mainstream perception of a particular subculture.”
This is one complaint that I don’t quite get. She doesn’t really portray a hipster image, or even a hipster image as produced by mainstream music executives. Rather, her appearance and sound are more reminiscent of the female singers of the late 1960s. Lana’s “Blue Jeans” calls to mind Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'” and her alto voice and overall look recall Nico. In my opinion, Lana looks a heck of a lot more like Graduate-era Katharine Ross than any hipster I’ve seen biking down Driggs. Want to blame someone for capitalizing on hipster style? Blame Dov Charney.
2. “This was the worst SNL performance since Ashlee Simpson.”
Seriously? The girl gave it her best shot, unlike Ashlee, the sister of a pop singer and actress-turned-reality-show-star-turned-singer who got caught lip syncing and then lied about it.
3. “Lana can’t sing live.”
OK, her two SNL songs weren’t her best. But Lana is an internet-made star and there is no shortage of clips from her live performances, many of which sound great. Here is one of them. Plus, Lana is far from the first singer whose live performances sound different than on the recordings. Bob Dylan famously changes his songs during concert to sometimes unrecognizable extents. (Yes, I just compared Lana Del Rey to Bob Dylan.) I find it refreshing to hear a mainstream female singer who doesn’t lip sync or sound completely auto-tuned.
4. “She’s not from New York City.”
It’s true that when asked how she got started with music, Lana talks about living in New York City, despite having grown up in Lake Placid. Again, I’m going to use a Bob Dylan comparison. The folk legend was known for initially making up stories to reporters about his upbringing. How many generations of New York transplants have started new lives for themselves here?
5. “But…her lips!”
Lana claims she hasn’t had work done. But even if she has, who hasn’t changed something about their physical appearance, famous or not?
Lana’s album Born to Die comes out on Monday. Let’s give it a chance, and then we can talk.