Lana Del Rey: Insane, or Playing the Game?
By Laura T.
Her album dropped on Tuesday, and despite the reviews that praise her and scathe her, she’s rising to the top of the charts.
Somebody got peeved at my term Pretty Girl with Problems (PGWP), which really got me thinking about what I’d said and what I truly meant. Let me reiterate: Lana isn’t invalidated by her beauty. I don’t think this is a case of beauty first, talent second.
I just don’t understand why all the female pop stars these days (with some exceptions) have to be “insane.” Or present themselves as, honestly? Schizophrenic.
Or make hideously offensive videos showcasing their schizophrenic alter egos like Nicki Minaj.
Even my favorite new female artist, Bat for Lashes, says she has an alter ego.
Gaga is obviously the queen of this reigning “psycho” regime. I won’t even go into Jo Calderone.
Is this all just elaborate, nouveau-pop theatre, or is there something more at stake here? Maybe everyone’s problem with Lana Del Rey is that they just can’t figure her out. Is she crazy like Gaga? Is she the girl next door? Did she arrive here in a time machine, from the 1970′s?
My big, unanswerable question today is this: Do all female artists now have to profess insanity in order to be talented? Or is insanity just a by-product of being an artist?
Take Kate Bush for example. Everyone’s called her just a little nutty. And you know she is. You have seen her nutty videos.
Bjork is also someone we might consider nutty. She made a video in which she is in love with a cat-man. It happened.
And obviously Madonna has made videos that make her appear just a little off-kilter.
But now the new female artists, like Minaj and even Bat for Lashes, are actually showcasing that they have alternate personas, which they use in order to make their art. Bjork and Kate Bush, I think, had more authenticity: they were weird not because they were women divided into personas, but because they were just… weird.
I don’t like the trend our female artists are taking with their self-professed alter egos. The girls I’ve known in my past who have professed “insanity” so they could really be themselves have ended up completely unhappy, and often self-destruct.
Maybe what sticks out the most about Lana Del Rey is her total adoption of this bad girl, “I’m insane” angle. If I were still a teenager, I completely guarantee that I would be so in love with her music, I would have posters of her all over my walls, and I would worship the ground she walks on.
As it stands, I’m almost 30 now (*gasp!*), and, while I do like aspects of her sound and appreciate her beauty and her videos, I simply don’t feel the heart behind her music and the conviction behind her “act,” which is what will, ultimately, separate mediocre artists from great artists.
But maybe I’m just getting old.
So, what do you think? Are female artists playing into some strange need for us to view them as insane so they can “be themselves”… or are they all just, quite frankly, nuts? And, if they are nuts… is that okay, too?