Unpopular opinion: I hate Lana Del Rey
A critique of Lana Del Rey’s lyrics and singing ability
On a warm afternoon in the middle of summer, pop and alternative music lovers will turn to Lana Del Rey for relaxation and fun.
Her slow, sultry voice pulls people into her music and her apathetic tone makes people forget about their problems. Del Rey’s style mimics that of a 70’s hipster flower child with her breathy and raspy low notes combined with her angstful, melodramatic lyrics. Her music seems perfect for any teenage dirtbag or college student seeking some rebellious and calming tunes after arguing with their parents about money.
However, her music is also trash. I know it is a bold statement, but listen to my case.
Her lyrics are focused around drugs and men not loving her back, be it about her dad or her ex-husband that ran away. She milks her daddy issues to the point that it is not sad anymore, it is just annoying.
Two of her most popular songs are about the men in her life. Blue Jeans is about her ex-husband that ran away from her and Off to the Races is about the man in her life suffering from drug addiction. In Off to the Races, she talks about her man owning her, and explicits states that he is not a good guy: “My old man is a bad man but I can’t deny the way he holds my hand / He loves me with every beat of his cocaine heart.”
To make it worse, she glorifies abusive relationships. Lana is the lyrical queen of unhealthy relationships. In her song, Ultraviolence, she glamorizes these toxic relationships: “I can hear sirens, sirens / He hit me and it felt like a kiss.” She even dedicates an entire song about unhealthy sexual relationships and power dynamics called F**ked My Way to the Top. Many of Del Rey’s lyrics are promote abuse, addiction and toxic relationships. For a list of more, look here.
She fantasizes substance and drug abuse by singing about it in at least half of the songs on one of her most famous albums, Born to Die. Additionally, she promotes addiction and glamorizes death. In an interview, she said that she wanted to be one of the greats, like Amy Winehouse, and the only way to do that was to die. She explicitly states that she wants to die in her song, Dark Paradise: “Your soul is haunting me / And telling me / That everything is fine / But I wish I was dead (dead like you).”
Many people resonate with this type of music and the lyrics she proclaims, thus explaining her massive following. Many Del Rey fans talk about the relatability of her songs and the beauty in her honesty and transparency. SIS rising sophomore Andrew Morgan, a self-proclaimed die-hard fan, said, “I love her because she uses her own style of music and is much more relatable and interesting than most artists these days.”
However, are these relatable lyrics really something we want people relating to, or more importantly, something we want people reminded of while listening to the chorus of Lana’s new song?
One of her self proclaimed biggest fans, CAS rising sophomore Magdeline Vasatka, calls Del Rey her “cocaine princess.”
Another fan, SPA and SOC rising sophomore Camille Perrault, claims that she only listens to Del Rey when she is depressed, and would never listen to her when she is happy. An artist that I can only resonate with when I am sad or lonely, or worse, an artist who’s music is going to make me even more sad than I already am… is that really a great artist?
Relatability is not the only thing keeping fans with Del Rey. Her fans believe she is genuine and admire her glamorous hippie aesthetic. SIS rising sophomore Jarrod Jeffcoat, said, “Lana Del Rey isn't contrived like most popular artists - she's authentic. She reminds me of the faded glamour of the sea side.”
Now, maybe it is just me, but I see right through this feigned “authenticity.” Her look is too much on many levels. Too much hipster. Too many flowers. And finally, too many pouty lips. Lana’s default emotion is attractively sad, and she intentionally tries to look seductively morose. Moreso, how can someone be glamorous, relatable, and authentic all at the same time? Well, they can, if they are faking something.
The “authentic” Lana look goes back and forth between sullen and sassy with an emphasis on looking as apathetic as possible. Her act of trying to look like she does not care irritates me more than her unbearable singing voice, which is pretty bad in and of itself.
In her recorded songs, her voice sounds like a complaining and annoyed teenager rolling her eyes at her parents. In her concerts, her voice sounds like grunting or someone who is trying to shakily hold back vomit while singing at the same time. If you think I am being harsh, listen here.
Now, here is where I will admit where my disdain for Del Rey dervies from. I was a Del Rey fan. That was until I saw her at Lollapalooza in 2016. I had heard reports of how bad her live performances were, but I did not fully believe it until I heard her uncomfortably off-pitch low notes and awkward shifts to her piercing high notes in person. She was so atrocious that I left after 20 minutes of her performing, and 20 minutes of hell that was.
A performer that cannot perform live is a bad performer. Plain and simple. If you still don’t believe me, buy an overpriced concert ticket, and suffer through her ear shattering and uncomfortable performances yourself.
Del Rey is an overrated, wannabe hippie that glamorizes drug and substance abuse. And on top of that she cannot even sing. But hey, she does write some catchy lyrics: “Will you still love me when I’m no longer autotuned and faking my hipster attitude?”