Lana Del Rey has been accused of being an odd duck. Her music is brooding. Her first album was called Born To Die. The Guardian of London published a controversial article claiming she said, “I wish I was dead already.”
That kind of talk ran her afoul of Kurt Cobain's daughter, Francis Bean, who said, “The death of young musicians isn’t something to romanticize. I’ll never know my father because he died young & it becomes a desirable feat because ppl [sic] like u think it’s ‘cool.’”
Lana Del Rey said she was misrepresented, misquoted, misled. But her persona as a tragic female figure has stuck, maybe purposefully. Lana Del Rey is a character.
But one man thinks he gets the joke.
James Franco is fast friends with Lana Del Rey. He has written about her before, and will soon publish another book about her.
"Lana lives in her art," James Franco wrote, "and when she comes down to earth for interviews, it gets messy, because she isn’t made for this earth. She is made to live in the world she creates. She is one who has been so disappointed by life, she had to create her own world. Just let her live in it."
When he talked with Lana Del Rey about writing a book on her, she was a bit coy about revealing too much of her true self.
"I wanted to interview Lana for a book," Franco writes, "and she said, 'Just write around me, it’s better if it’s not my own words. It’s almost better if you don’t get me exactly, but try.'”
I've literally never heard a lana del rey song except from summertime sadness and i just listened to the whole album and now I'm obsessed
— Helen (@gvcci_) July 26, 2015
When Howard Stern asked Franco if he'd hooked up with Lana Del Rey, he was adamant that he had not, but said he would "have sex with her music".
"There's a weird thing with creative types," Franco said. "Sometimes I love a person's work and, like, I'm just so enamored with that and their persona in their work. But outside of that, it's like, our dynamic is we're just kind of friends, we get along so well. But all this sexual attraction is for the person and the work."
So Franco set out to write his book about Lana Del Rey -- some of it her, some of it his own construction of her. The result is called Flip-Side: Real and Imaginary Conversations with Lana Del Rey.
Maybe James Franco can explain her. Maybe he will add more to the mystique and tragedy around Lana Del Rey.