Lana Del Rey played her first London show last night at the Scala to a sell-out crowd in the capital, with as many top industry insiders and bedroom-bound tastemakers littering the dancefloor as genuine and bonafide fans of the hottest emerging popstar at the moment. It seems like everyone was there to see how the 'Video Games' singer – who only has a handful of live gigs to her name so far, her debut show coming in Manchester last month – would step up to the plate live, but in truth most people had already made up there minds about the artist formerly known as Lizzy Grant.
Lana Del Rey emerged on the scene with a singular Youtube clip earlier this year, the track in question was 'Video Games' – a song that you must have heard by now. If not then you either live under a rock or simply don't have a TV, don't use public transport and don't work in an office that has a communal radio playing all day long. Either way, it's a slick and self-assured crooning number that's internally polarised internet message boards the whole web over.
The track had been bubbling under the surface for a while, with its amateur-seeming accompanying video being posted on Youtube with little fanfare back on July 1 before capturing the attention of one indie music pioneers Pitchfork in early August. The vid had everything guaranteed to grab blogsters' combined attention – the pastiche quality of old film reels, the lone webcam set-up of her head shots, as well as the very on-trend Mad Men, femme-fatale-smoking-a-Vogue-cigarette feel.
Del Rey seemed to appear both identifiable and something distant and glamourous. She was even described as the “gangster Nancy Sinatra”, although a friend of mine once labelled her “a hipster Duffy”. I guess both could be deemed as somewhat true. But questions began to emerge around her true identity - like a celebrity's ghost-written biopic, who exactly are we reading into?
Soon the armchair detectives – or should we say computer chair detectives – were on the case. Bored cynics soon got to work invading her privacy, typing her name into every search engine imaginable – I'm sure if they could rummage through her garbage or dirty laundry via remote computer access then they would have.
Turns out that Ms Grant had been a singer prior to what was portrayed as her debut release, and had even been photographed mingling with major label executives. This led to a mass online backlash from those who had shot her to fame with their page views and click counts. The alternative scene felt vindicated as if they had been misled and lied to – but had they? And does it even matter?
Alternative and online culture loves to do this. It's easy to get wrapped up in something that you think nobody else knows about, you get all giddy when you find out a friend of yours also likes the singer or musician in question, and then the annoyance comes when seemingly everybody that hadn't a clue what you were talking about when you went on and on relentlessly about the artist just months prior is suddenly harking on about this “new” act in the same way as you did previously.
This year has already seen this happen to poor James Blake, post-Dubstep's poster boy, who had been all but promised the Album Of The Year title back in January – but now it seems that even his most avid fans have got bored or turned their back on him. I guess this is a product of modernity's constant need for some new – access to information has heighten and so has demand, as well as the sheer pace of this want.
Other than Lana getting too much attention from Radio 1 and the like, another qualm people have had has been on her appearance and the possibility that she has paid for plastic surgery to enhance her beauty. Many have been tweeting about her look just as much as her music, and this has attracted as many horny teenage boys as it has staunch feminists in backlash.
Lana Del Rey told The Sun newspaper earlier just last month that she doesn't feel like she'd get so much hate if she wasn't a woman. This is true, but she probably wouldn't have received such mass attention either. So has the singer been a case study for female inequality that still exists in our culture? I'd say definitely so. For better or worst, she has garnered many fans and much hate solely on her image. But Del Rey can hardly complain, when you appear in some of the kinds of photoshoots that she has then you're sort of feeding into people's hands to make these comments.
In short, we at Gigwise feel that 'Video Games' remains one of the best pop songs of the year. Arguments over her being fake, phoney or manufactured shouldn't come into your enjoyment of the song, neither should her appearance.
If you dislike a musician the most damaging thing you can do is to not give their music the time of day. So for your own mental health, you should stop giving such time to something you don't even care for. Just listen to the music or don't - it should be as simple as that.