A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine posted on Facebook:
So, someone is going to have to explain to me... why are we all supposed to hate Lana Del Rey? I don't know anything about her, except that I'm intrigued by her sound and wouldn't mind hearing more...
I had not heard anything about how we were "supposed to hate" this chick. I listened to her Later... With Jools Holland performance and actually liked it.
After a little Wikipedia reading, I saw what she was going for in her look - something they call "gangsta Nancy Sinatra". I understood that she was a manufactured star, in a sense. Fake name, plotted career, niche look pushed as latest-flavor pop. But, none of that is unique in today's pop landscape.
Then, I saw all the Twitter comments about her recent SNL performance. I pulled that up on YouTube and gave it a listen. Audio-wise, the mix was a bit thin. Visually, she doesn't know what to do with her hands - she could learn a thing or two from Adele on that score.
But, there was nothing nearly so bad in that performance as the one from Ke$ha on SNL.
Both of them suffer from some asinine lyrics. But, Del Rey sings. No AutoTune silliness. Of course, comparing turds is no way to arrive at decisions about quality. Let's just say Del Rey had an off night on SNL.
Then came Letterman.
Most commenters felt her performance was much better. Some didn't.
Why couldn’t Lana Del Rey have performed on SNL like she just did on the Late Show?
— Brian Di Leandro (@BrianD67) February 3, 2012
Seems Lana Del Rey's performance on on SNL wasn't a fluke, she was equally poor on Letterman.
— Sherwyn Spencer (@SherwynSpencer) February 3, 2012
In my other life, I mix live bands. I can tell you now that at least half the difference between the SNL performance and the Letterman had to do with mix and EQ. Half. Not saying it was the sound guy's fault. Who knows what the setup was?
But, I think this "I Hate Lana Del Rey" phenomenon is something else entirely.
It's hip to hate Lana Del Rey. And, it is equally as hip to defend her. It's just a "thing". And, I think it all launched because of a Tweet by Juliette Lewis:
"Wow, watching this 'singer' on SNL is like watching a 12-year-old in their bedroom when they're pretending to sing and perform #signofourtimes."
Lewis later deleted the tweet. But, actress Eliza Dushku also piled on:
Who.....is.....this wack-a-doodle chick performing on #SNL..? Whaaaa?
— Eliza Dushku (@elizadushku) January 15, 2012
And, with that celebrity cred behind it, the whole thing took off. It became a thing. And now, everyone has to pick a side. It could be about anything: Super Bowl commercials, Facebook changes, settlements on the moon. But, this time, it's about a person.
Lana Del Rey's career will do just fine. She will last just as long as any other pre-fab pop artist, which can be a long time sometimes. The Internet will get tired of playing with her when the next whipping boy/girl comes along. For the time being, people will talk about how they hate her so much. Hate! Like she killed your kitten or stole your boyfriend.
We really need to come up with a metered continuum for our hate. Some scale with which to measure it. For crying out loud, people, they're selling kids on the Internet. Let's reserve a little for that, shall we?