Why The Media Turned On Lana Del Rey

 Illustration: Abi Heyneke

I’ve been reading a lot about Lana Del Rey lately. You have too. You’ve heard about her past as Lizzy Grant, her “image change” and “lip enhancement,” and of course her notorious Saturday Night Live performance. You’ve watched as she suddenly went from being put on a pedestal as a media darling to being tied to the whipping post. How did it happen? Why did we all of a sudden decide to collectively stop liking Lana Del Rey? Is it because she isn’t talented? Is it because she “deceived” us into thinking she was some do-it-yourself-er who stumbled upon success? Is it because she failed to entertain us once she got put in the spotlight?

No, it’s not because of any of these. It’s because of who Lana Del Rey’s audience was. From the beginning, it was the indie world that embraced Lana. Her low budget videos of found film circulated around all the blogs while songs like “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans” had her crowned as the next big thing by every pig-nosed critic in the game. But there’s a problem with this audience.

The media that favors indie music is a hard bunch to please, and while they’ve got a keen ear for music, they’ve also developed a twisted liking for brutality. In order to become an authority—which basically means being able to tell people what to like—you also have to make it very clear what NOT to like. In the indie world, this is especially important because the more stuff you dislike, the more special it is when you like something. If you are indifferent towards or react negatively to 90% of things, this will make that 10% that you like seem extra special. Hey, it must be good if that asshole who hates everything likes it, right? Right. The point is, these aren’t the types of critics that ignore what they don’t like. If they don’t like something, they will make it known.

The other thing about this bunch is that they love rooting for the underdog, or maybe more accurately put: they love rooting for the person that everybody else isn’t rooting for. They like stories of heartbroken men retreating into secluded cabins and recording masterpieces. Stories of kids in Idaho who recorded melodic pop in their bedrooms. Stories of misfits, outliers, and have-nots who sprouted like organic herbs through the cracks of the Williamsburg concrete. The voices of hipster media love finding things, discovering things, and above all they are one thing—not sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers, but “tastemakers.” There may be nothing inherently wrong with this word, but there is something wrong when the goal becomes less about sharing what you like and more about influencing what other people like.

Being a tastemaker isn’t just about influencing others. A big part of the game becomes making your own taste. If you’re a tastemaker, you can’t be falling victim to some great marketing scheme, no matter how good the music is. The indie-centric media has been conditioned to reject marketing schemes (at least the obvious ones), and like difficult, cranky babies, they can’t stand being force fed. They will consume what they want, when they want it.

The problem isn’t with Lana Del Rey, it’s with the people she’s being marketed to.

You see, the problem isn’t with Lana Del Rey, it’s with the people she’s being marketed to. Lana Del Rey is being marketed to people that don’t like being marketed to, people who react viciously when they realize they “fell for” something that isn’t authentic.

Let’s go through this piece by piece and break down some of the problems that critics point out, then see how other artists with the same “problems” have been treated.

Problem 1: Her lack of authenticity

This complaint is probably the most common. In their review of her album, the Los Angeles Times said, “Consisting mostly of fictions from an imagined America, on Born to Die, Del Rey presents songs about the ragged life as invented by someone who doesn’t look to have ever swigged burnt 3 a.m. truck-stop coffee –- a Williamsburg trucker’s cap come to life.”

The basic idea is that Lana’s label has dreamed up this weathered but glamourous vintage image for her and it’s all an act. An act? You guys realize that this is the entertainment business, right? It’s incredible when a 100% genuine artist comes along and shares his/her story in complete honesty, but you know how rare that is? A huge part of mass appeal is an over-the-top image, and most successful artists have one. In most other genres, an exaggerated image is accepted. Pop stars get super eccentric, fathers-by-day turn into raging rock stars on stage, and rappers…well, rappers…

Just look at Rick Ross. The thematic vein that runs through this man’s entire career is basically, “I am a drug lord. No, like for real, I have made massive amounts of money by selling drugs. It’s a very large scale operation. International stuff.” It’s like a script out of a mob movie that’s so outlandish that it’s comical at times. Ross even went so far as to say, “I know Pablo, Noriega, the real Noriega, he owe me a hundred favors.” Later, he admitted that he does not in fact know the real Noriega. He also admitted that he was a correctional officer.

Can we just think about that for a second? Okay, so Lana Del Rey may have slightly altered her look and stretched reality a little to obtain a certain image. Rick Ross has made a career off portraying himself as an international criminal, and he was a fucking correctional officer! I know you guys know this already, but how is it that we can simply let Rozay slide and continue to bawse it up as one of hip-hop’s biggest stars, yet we crucify Lana because she used to have different hair and her lips look a little suspect?

Problem 2: Her past work as Lizzy Grant

When this shit started to leak out on the internet, it was like some breaking news of a big, dirty scandal. “Oh my god,” they gasped, “Lana Del Rey was hiding her secret identity.” Her first stab at making it the music industry may have flopped, but listen to the music. People talk as if she had covered up some embarrassing past as Rebecca Black’s sidekick. That’s not really the case at all. And you think she’s the only one who didn’t make it big on her first try?

Consider Frank Ocean. The Odd Future crooner has been accepted as one of R&B’s saviors, alongside The Weeknd, and his Nostalgia, Ultra mixtape is widely regarded as one of 2011’s best releases. By now you probably know his story. Frank Ocean used to operate under the name Lonny Breaux, and he was signed to Def Jam. He made a bunch of music (a lot of it sounding like pretty generic R&B, to be honest, which has mostly been removed from sites at the request of the label) and when he realized that his career wasn’t going anywhere, he reinvented himself as Frank Ocean and started to operate outside of Def Jam.

Surely there was plenty of complication when he actually started blowing up, but eventually the differences were patched up and he’s planning his major label debut with Def Jam this year. What a happy ending, yeah? Yeah, and Frank Ocean is awesome, and we’re glad he found his unique voice, even if it took two tries. Why didn’t Lana’s situation get viewed the same way?

Problem 3: Her image change

Let’s give the stone-throwers the benefit of the doubt and say that the issue here was not just that Lana had a “secret” past career, but that her image had changed—that she ditched one character to become another. Let’s agree with them—for the sake of this argument—that Lana totally changed. And let’s agree that we hate when people change, because change is necessarily bad, especially when it’s contrived.

You ever seen old video of Lady Gaga? Before she was the whimsical performer/spectacle that we know her as today, she was Stefani Germanotta. Watch her here, at an NYU talent show. There’s no doubt, she always had the talent, but it took a little tweaking before she started really turning heads. Gaga’s transformation was far more dramatic than Lana’s, but nobody seems to mind that one day Stefani decided to call herself Lady Gaga and dress up in a meat gown. Yet they can’t stand that Lana went all retro and changed her hair. Why?

Problem 4: Her privileged background

This really bothers a lot of people. Her first album—the Lizzy Grant one—was apparently made for $10,000. Her father was a successful business man, and this is often twisted into “Daddy paid for his daughter to be a star.” Like she’s some kind of sexed up version of Rebecca Black. But the head of Five Points Records, the label that released the Lizzy album, said this to NME:

“Her father never had anything to do financially with supporting her creativity. I don’t know if he was lending her money to live off, but at least when she was with us, not a penny. I don’t know if he’s rich or not; I met him and he seemed like a pretty ordinary guy.”

Still, plenty of people are out with the mission to prove that Lana had this shit handed to her, and that in itself makes her music and her accomplishments less impressive.

Another group that blew up on the internet is Odd Future. These DIY hooligans created as much buzz as they did controversy, but they were always glorified for paving their own path, doing things their own way. They proudly put out a “fuck you” to all the blogs who never posted them, and their independent mentality was like the Braveheart story of an emerging brand of internet hysteria. But the thing about Odd Future: this wasn’t a random group of kids who just started fucking around and got famous. Most of Odd Future’s material was recorded in Syd Tha Kid & Taco’s parents’s house. So the brother-sister OFWGKTA members, who lived with their parents at the time, had a studio in their house. There are countless young aspiring rappers with talent and motivation, but how many of them had the convenient access to a studio in their friends’ parents’ house?

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, and it should in no way be seen as a negative that makes Odd Future’s success less impressive. But if you look at the backstories of most successful artists, they had some kind of unique opportunity, some kind of advantage that gave them an edge. So even if Lana did have a privileged background, why do we care?

Now look, I’m not saying everyone has to love Lana Del Rey. I understand that the SNL performance, which acted as an introduction for many people, wasn’t very convincing. She got thrown into the spotlight too early, and by that point she was already receiving heavy criticism that she was acutely aware of. And I understand that Born To Die isn’t a groundbreaking masterpiece—some people will love it, some might hate it, and some will feel indifferent. But read the blogs, the magazines and even the major papers, and you’ll find nobody is really saying much about the album. They might try and dress up their invective with commentary on how underwhelming a song is, but they are too caught up with Lana’s story—too upset that they fell in love and now feel like they got hosed.

It is clear to see that Lana has been treated differently to artists in pop, R&B and rap, but is this because she’s an incredibly unique case? No, it’s because of who she was marketed to, and who—although fleetingly—embraced her with such enthusiasm at the beginning. If Lana just made a pop record, this wouldn’t have happened. If Lana Del Rey was a rapper (sounds ridiculous, but glamorous white female rappers aren’t a stretch these days), it wouldn’t be an issue, but since Lana fit so perfectly into what the indie crowd was looking for, she was judged by different standards.

The tide of smug satisfaction from finding a new indie darling turned into a backwash of vitriol and disparaging comments, and it all started to happen before the SNL performance, and before the new songs on Born To Die. What does it tell us about the backlash against Lana Del Rey?

It tells us that it had to do with her past, with her connections, and with her authenticity. It tells us that it was about more than her music. It tells us that much of the indie-loving media is so hell-bent on maintaining some warped idea of credibility that the thought they may have enjoyed or—God forbid—publicly supported the product of a marketing plan has them dipping their pens in acid. It tells us that these people care less about her music than her fucking lips.

  • byahbyah

    The backlash changed nothing for me. Still love her music and want he to be the mother of my children.

  • Joanna

    everything about your argument is so legit. i completely agree. and i really like born to die, downloaded it yesterday.

  • http://sometimesithinkdeep.blogspot.com Ben

    I agree with everything you have said here!

  • PancakeMcKennz

    Hype works in sine waves, I guess. I mean, remember Natalia Kills?

    One day you’re the next big thing and suddenly, you’re the thing after the next big thing.

  • http://isaacbuckley.bandcamp.com thedopeness

    real talk.

  • Bloody

    I think she rocks and her old Lizzy Grant stuff was good too (not up to par with her new stuff though).

  • Zoxxan

    I like the way you wrote this Con’, thank you.

  • Pieter

    I totally agree with you. Just look at the different reviews she’s getting in Europe (where no one cares about her past) and the US. The difference is remarkable.

    I’ve been following her for a year now. It was incredible seeing the hipster indie blogs turn: at first they loved her, but after it was clear that they had basically been used by interscope, her music was suddenly terrible. I love their hypocrisy. Gotta love it when people who claim to only care about the music only seem to care about an image.

    And of course the mainstream american media was nice, and basically took every content from indie blogs, even without checking their facts. I mean honestly, just using google for 2 minutes reveals her performing in a bar 4 years ago and countless of old interviews. Even where she is living in a trailer park.

    I like her music. But she gets an unfair treatment. For her authenticity is a huge deal, while there are people out there like Lady Gaga , Katy Perry (a.k.a. christian singer), Nicki Minaj (woman has boob and butt implants!), Miley Cyrus, and other starlets.

    My favourite comments are the “she is a bad example for women and her lyrics aren’t good”……….. right, because pop stars dancing in bikini’s is a great example for women, and Lady Gaga’s “I want to take a ride on your disco stick” is classic literature.

  • http://www.mypoproks.com comehomenow

    @Pieter “Gotta love it when people who claim to only care about the music only seem to care about an image.” – Amen.

    I often compare LDR to Robyn. Failed mainstream artist who revamped her image, uses sex appeal, has indie hype, yet never any backlash. OF is a good comparison too. Why LDR? I really don’t get it.

  • Jhameel


  • http://ajcrew.com A.J. Crew

    This article is the definition of real shit. I hope every music fan/blogger/critic/maker, etc. reads this.

  • http://www.ringfingerup.com ringfingerup

    it seems that most people had their minds made up before the album came out. she’s a pop artist and should be treated as such, but the backlash is something you’d have hoped her label/pr team were acutely aware of. indie music’s media darling crushed by the same people who created so much hype around her. i’ve only went through the album once so the verdict is still out for me, but on first listen, i’ve gotta say, Emile did his thing on it.

  • http://darthwookius.tumblr.com/ Badgerboy

    Great feature. Lots of nice touches with the subheads and pull quotes.

    I think most, if not all of this backlash has to do with what you said about who the music is being marketed to. Yet, I’m not sure I buy the reasoning behind rejecting her music because it is ‘fake’ in a sense. Take Johnny Cash for example. Dude wasn’t a hardened criminal, probably never had the cocaine blues, and he may not have indeed been everywhere. Yet, people love him to this day.

    Perhaps this example is slightly outdated since the indie scene hadn’t truly come around until punk rock started to emerge, though they even consider Cash as some sort of a ‘Godfather’ so to speak.

    What I’m attempting to say here, is that authenticity isn’t simply a distinction of the truth being ever-present in music, it is more of a measure of an artist’s embodiment and full fledged empathy with the subject matter they write about. Cash had that for the outlaws of yesterday, Katy Perry has it from actually being a California teenager (I’m gonna ignore the fact she got her start in gospel music).

    Let the woman sing, let the bloggers hate. No matter how hard anyone tries, their opinion or discoveries will usually not be a result of divine inspiration.

  • Confusion

    @Badgerboy I’m so glad someone appreciated the subheads and pull quotes. Really, this article was just a tool to practice using subheads and pull quotes. All very new stuff to me, and so exciting.

  • SK

    ^can’t tell if sarcastic or…

    Anyways, I feel like everything was just blown way out of proportion. Like the great Talib Kweli said, if you don’t like it, doesn’t matter because it wasn’t made for you.

  • grifter

    fuckin’ hipsters…

  • Jumi

    Damn. The critics are murdering her right now. This makes no sense to me. Everyone’s complaining about her being manufactured, but they take the time to praise artists such as Rihanna, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, and even Drake. People need to take their head out of their asses and focus on her music because even if she were manufactured, she’d be a pretty tame case comparatively.

    “It tells us that these people care less about her music than her fucking lips”

    Perfect closing sentence.

  • Cole

    this is ridiculously perfect. I think you must’ve read my mind while you were writing this, because this is exactly what I’ve been thinking, especially the fact that she gets so much shit for being “manufactured” when changing her hair isn’t shit compared to what other pop artists (Gaga, etc.) have done. I wish everyone would listen to the music first, then judge for themselves.

  • Keith

    Y’all some haters! Get a life!

  • Yes

    SolidAlbum goingTo GetIt Great!!!!!Article Though shouldBe distributedWith BornToDie kindOf aIronic Tittle Huh!!!

  • http://www.nonwrestler.com michael

    Excellent article, thanks. FWIW, I’m not interested in her music, so didn’t read this looking for a defence of Lana Del Rey, but have been baffled by all the bile being spat.

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  • Matt C

    I wish this article was better sourced. The LA Times quote was nice, but other than that it’s just sort of gesturing at attitudes. They may be prevalent, but I intentionally don’t read many other music sites. I think if the middle sections had focussed on taking apart quotes like the LA Times one, this piece would have hit harder. It feels pensive, but still mostly just reactionary.

    “In the indie world, this is especially important because the more stuff you dislike, the more special it is when you like something. If you are indifferent towards or react negatively to 90% of things, this will make that 10% that you like seem extra special.”

    I think this statement is factually incorrect. It’s strongly implied that this is referring to Pitchfork, or at least publications like it. If you grant that that’s fair, then let’s look at Metacritic. There, Pitchfork averages a review score of 68 out of 100, putting them very much in the middle of a pack that includes independent and mass market publications. More damning to the idea that they dislike most music is that 75% of their reviews on Metacritic are positive and just 5% are negative (which seems normal to more positive compared to MC’s other publications). I’m not going to defend their reviewing style, but it seems fair to say that they get a lot attention for a just a handful of reviews while the vast majority of what they publish is middle of the road. While this feature is not about Pitchfork, their inclusion in this discussion is implied (especially given other recent features here)

    I still think this is a great writeup and agree that it’s a shame most people only want to talk about Lana del Ray’ image, but we should be careful not to criticize the critics based only on their own image. And in defense of the outrage, I think it’s at least somewhat reasonable to be pissed off because you feel lied to (even if you weren’t).

  • Matt C
  • Confusion

    @MattC: I thought about citing specific reviews. I actually had some shit in there directed at specific reviews and specific reviewers, but that wasn’t the point here. If you don’t read any other music publications, I guess a lot of it doesn’t make sense, but I think most people that have read about Lana Del Rey have seen the backlash, and we’ve posted about that backlash on P&P at least a couple times, so I was starting with the assumption that we knew there was a backlash, and this was my opinion on WHY it’s happening, not to just point out that it’s happening.

    You may be right about the 90% 10% thing as it relates to Pitchfork, but you have to consider what they choose to completely ignore. What I meant by that statement most of all is that if you want to be a tastemaker, you have to be selective in what you choose to support and you have to make it clear that you aren’t one of those people that is just like, “Yeah, I’ll listen to anything.”

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

  • joi cardwell

    great commentary.

  • Donni

    @Matt – Pitchfork reviews after their own scale, one which is based on the grade scales found at Universities. A 6.0 or below is essentially an F and counts as a negative review. That’s why, on Pitchfork, a 7.4 and a 7.8 are VERY different scores where it would just be pointless to bicker about on other websites.

    This is where the issue arises in your argument. The true average on Pitchfork is about 7.2-7.3 which would be quite a bit below average going by other sites’ standards. But remember who you’re dealing with.. this is the site that only dishes out a perfect score once every few years and anything in the 9.4-9.9 range not more than once a year. This is just what they do. That is why they can create controversy and hype so easily.

  • Matt C

    Donni, I think you’re right about the university scale. I had never considered that before.

    I think my defense of pitchfork basically amounted to me wanting to say that maybe they don’t intentionally cast themselves as tastemakers. Maybe they just love music and take it too seriously. So when artists disappoint, they rage. And vice versa for good moments. Or maybe they are just manipulative people who are only trying to build their own hype as taste makers. I don’t know maybe I’m just naive, but I’ve always liked to think of indie critics as the true artists of the critical world. They’re irrational, but they love what they do and are not afraid to express themselves fully.

  • relaxxin

    good read. I had heard a few of her songs before this, but wasn’t really aware of the “backlash.” A few thoughts…

    1. I found it very interesting that her two biggest hits on youtube have a total of 40 million views. what age demographic watches youtube videos?

    2. Performing is a huge part of why I love music. It makes or breaks the “realness” factor of this artist. some artists I have really enjoyed in the past turn out being mediocre performers. This is not to say she won’t improve.

    3. I think that naming your commercial debut “Born to Die” puts a lot of expectation on it being a “timeless” album.

    4. She makes me happy in the pants area.

  • mnm

    I really appreciate that candid explanation, no bias just a good portrayal of event that created a serious backlash on someone I had just heard of. I love the music and her voice, it took a while to get used to the lyrics, they were so different, but something I can sweep over, because I love melodies and sultry voices. I didnt even think she was bad at SNL. I like SNL a lot and I think there are too many critics out there that spend too much time judging other people. I never really comment on this type of stuff I just get my music and listen to it. I had to appreciate your candor in this article, though, Nicely Done!!!

  • eunice

    Such a good post, and I agree with majority of what was said within the article and a lot of the readers’ comments. While I don’t love all the songs on her album, there are quite a few that I do enjoy, and I think she deserves more credit than she’s receiving right now.

    One thing I do want to mention though is SNL was her “big break” into the national spotlight, and she wasn’t a compelling enough performer. I think a big issue is that she didn’t have stage presence on SNL, and on such a big, public stage…you should be expected to receive some backlash. I know there are plenty of artists who can’t sing, but they do have stage presence and energy in their performances which is why people like to watch them. Just my 2 cents.

  • http://don'thaveone Deb

    I just like her music and don’t give a flying fuck about her lips or her rich family. I can’t think of one natural looking female singer except Nana Mascury in the 70’s(unsure of spelling) …. Of course her image/name was changed if the old one wasn’t working. Marilyn Manson would not have made it if he had stayed where he was. About 100 years ago I saw an old photo of him in a purple “hippy” hat complete with flower power bright clothes and laughed for a week. The mean spirited tossers on the ridiculous!!!! hate wagon seriously need to get a life.

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  • emil

    This is a very VERY well written article, but in my honest opinion it’s flawed. I feel like the major problem with her is that she is being marketed as an American version of Adele, but “edgy.” They want to make her an amagmation of everything. She’ retro soul like Adele, she doesn’t smile and is dark, like goth-lite dark. But she’s also “hip hop” That comment where she described herself as gangsta Nancy Sinatra was what did it for me. I heard that and literally said out loud “fuck this stupid bitch.” So she’s supposed to be indie, retro, goth and black accessable, adn she is NONE of these things. And she got trashed for it, and she deserved it. She didn’t earn her way to where she was, she’s not a performer, or a writer, or someone who ever had to have a day job. That urks people.

    The main flaw I see with this article is this. You compared her to Rick Ross and Frank Ocean, and Lady Gaga, who is connected to hip hop. Hipsters will never EVER criticize a black person no matter how fuckign terrible they are. They ALWAYS have to make sure people know they’re “down with black people” I don’t have an honest answer as to why that it, as few guesses, but it’s true. In their eyes black people can do no wrong, no matter how ghetto, or fake, or stone racist to their faces they are. It’s all acceptable.

    It’s stupid really. There’s good and bad hip hop. I personallty think Frank Ocean is terrible. But he’s another one they all love on account of he’s gay. As proven with him, and Lady Gaga, they won’t bash gay friendly artists either.

    My only real guess as to why they are this way, aside from what you stated, is its a backlash for all the years of ass kissing to really bad rock players and groups. All of the 2nd and 3rd wave grunge, the hair metal idiots, the fucking rap metal guys who should all be shot, and the I guess 12 years after Is This It, all the Brooklyn wannabes. And hip hop is the accepted leading music form right now.

    So I gues it just is what it is.

  • Sarah

    I am very happy you wrote this. If I had a blog, I would have loved to dissect this issue because I felt like Lana Del Rey’s criticism became such an incredible representation of some of the issues we have in society, specifically alternative music. Side note, most of lana’s story is incredibly authentic. No one chooses to read what she has said in interviews or look into the real facts. She was very much a loner and an outsider, she lived in a trailer at one point to try to make money for herself, she had a problem with alcohol and quit several years ago and possibly a drug problem too. She worked her ass off for years trying to get noticed and her music didn’t change much, just was fine tuned. What the indie music critics did to her and how the rest of the media jumped on the band wagon kind of disgusted me. As a fan of independent music for about a decade now, it was sad how revealing their hatred to her was of the scene and some of its representatives. It’s not about the music, it’s about the identity. There’s some form of insecurity underneath the core of the indie music critics and fans because of the obsession with,not the value of the music, but the idea of being “unique” and “first to discover” “authenticity” etc. As if they choose to un-ironically like this girl who doesn’t fit their strict protocol of what good music is, they will therefore be rejected from the scene. and, like insecure people do, they are violently critical of others. Their reputations were threatened and they returned with full force. Also, to note, this would never have happened to a man, at least not to this extreme. I don’t know what the indie media critics were trying to achieve but for us smarter ones, they just looked insecure and conformists. So, despite my avid love for independent music, especially the underdog, and the value of uniqueness, I judge music by its quality, as well as the creators behind it.

  • disqus_0SbrhIczdg

    oh who the fuck cares if she changed her image or not? she’s a very talented singer who writes the most beautiful lyrics. she has a way of captivating people, and that’s not an act. i fell in love with her music the second i heard her. i don’t think there’s any “true” media these days, indie ones included! and who cares if she’s black, white, red, indie, goth, nancy sinatra, big foot…that’s irrelevant to the fact that she’s a beautiful and talented young lady with a bright future ahead of her! people need to GET A LIFE and stop worrying about others. she’s making millions of dollars overseas believe me she doesn’t care what American media has to say about her.

  • meeee

    her career is going great now, and i think it should only be about the voice, who seriously cares about her personal life and background? im not going to fan girl over her, just her music and singing! young and beautiful fro the great gatsby is a hit

  • kat

    I love Lana Del Rey. Why does she get shit on for changing her name and changing her hair and lips??? SO many other artists have done it since the very beginning of idolizing pop stars and actors! This isn’t fair to her! She’s such a talented singer and writes the most hauntingly beautiful lyrics I’ve ever heard! She’s a beautiful human being and didn’t deserve all the backlash!

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