A while ago I posted a snippet of this post but never the whole thing, so here we are. Late is better than never. 🙌
If you don’t live under a rock, you have probably heard that Lana Del Rey recently expressed her disenchantment with a critics ‘review’ of her newest album,Ultraviolence. If you do live under a rock, you are probably very pale and need some serious Vitamin D, and enlightenment as to the recent turn of events. Anyway, this ever growing confrontation between the two parties has rekindled a growing annoyance for me. Although it appears I may be writing about guacamole due to the title, unfortunately I will not. This post will actually serve to express my discontent and frustration following (and continuing to follow) the tiffs exchanged between an artist and critic.
I am a nineteen year old student. The music I listen to covers a wide range. My favorite artists vary from Lorde and HAIM to Joni Mitchell, Fleetwood Mac and Van Morrison with a hint of Arctic Monkeys and Arcade Fire and a dash of MØ and Rae Morris, etc. etc. plus about 1,000 other artists. When I begin listening to new artists, such as Lorde, that present unique and positive messages to our generation validating being individualistic or different, it is truly refreshing and inspiring. These artists present an image that is not necessarily ‘main stream’. I, and many other people my age, appreciate these unique independent artists after years of cookie-cutter, same old same old, ‘perfect’ musicians supposedly representing “us”. I consider myself a bit quirky, nerdy even, definitely not typical cheerleader-type. I appreciate that my generation is exposed to independent and alternative musicians like Lorde and Grimes offering a different concept of “pop”. Another artist I associate in this category is Lana Del Rey; she is the reason I’m writing this post.
Unfortunately, I read reviews that do not celebrate the talent of these musicians and in turn, diminish the abilities of truly gifted performers who have the courage and confidence to put themselves out there creatively. I used to feel disappointed when reading a personally critical review, now I feel anger. I have been trying to comprehend for quite some time now why the opinions of forty-something-year-olds are trusted to review and ‘critique’ music written by and for twenty-something year olds. The twenty year age difference may not seem substantial, but I would never write a review of a Jimmy Buffet album and genuinely think it would be a beneficial thing to put into the universe. As is always the case, the opinions of our generation versus the opinions of older generations are going to be inherently different for numerous reasons. Thus, is it really fair to these artists that someone in an influential position casts an opinion reviewing music created for a generation they would have difficulty understanding? The opinions that are not being heard may be the most important. They should be the opinions of our generation representing our generation.
Alas, back to the Lana Del Rey controversy. The infamous interview became uncomfortable and elicited quotes from Lana such as referencing that she wished she was dead already. These and other comments have caused reactions from the Cobain family and many others are also negatively weighing in. I will not take a stance on her personal comments or reference to dying young. I will say that I find it very unfortunate that she is being ridiculed for having particular opinions that may not be considered ‘normal’ or ‘relevant and logical.’ Some critics are quick to instigate controversy for media attention and twist statements that ultimately do nothing other than hurt the artists. I think it is quite unfortunate that flaws are enflamed and emphasized and the positive elements of the musicians are overlooked. Maybe Lana made some controversial statements. Rather than that becoming the focus of his article, I wish the interviewer had celebrated her new album as it is truly a work of art.
So there, Holy Gaucamole!
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