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Saturday, 22 October 2011

Lana Del Rey


The most haunting and cinematic song of the autumn is 'Video Games' by Lana Del Rey pictured (an alias).  Del Rey, whose name, like Marilyn Manson's, is a California portmanteau, comes from Lana Turner and the car (or pulp publisher).  He music (at the moment, we have two songs only, a double A side, with a debut album out in early 2012) is saturated with the sort of over-ripe LA Confidential-era mood, of twisted Hollywood B-actresses in motels, slumming angels, sun-baked streets, and dipsos and nymphos sporting in shades under palms; the presiding spirit is Mulholland Drive; Del Ray's woozy, yearning voice, and the funereal pace of the song, reimagine Badalementi's Twin Peaks score, via Sunset Boulevard.  Her other song, 'Blue Jeans', channels 'Wicked Game', and offers us glimpses of bruised love, James Dean, and a favourite sweater.  This is decadent dream-pop, a la Mazzy Star.  If she can keep the mystique going, and present another 8 or 9 songs of this quality and moodiness, this could be a star-making turn; and if her demos and live vids on the net suggest, she may just.  Then again, many young singers have mined this dark glamourous moment, stuck between James M. Cain and Fatty Arbuckle in a musical version of Kenneth Anger's Babylon.  I find it irresistible, personally - nothing is sadder or more important, in an ephemeral and tarnished way, than fading starlets, dead-drunk actors, and half-burn screenplays, somewhere in a bungalow up in those hills, circa 1958.  Everyone wants heaven, no one wants dead.  Most of us settle for Bates Motel celluloid dreams slipping into the muck.

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