Lana Del Rey is the pretty new girl in class, and for some reason, instead of accepting her with open arms, the music community has resorted to the behavior of middle-schoolers. Certain cliques have put her on a pedestal, others have unashamedly bashed her, but everyone is talking, and the gossip doesn’t stop. The latest topic of conversation is her U.S. television debut on SNL, which has left some people (even NBC’s Brian Williams) feeling so dissatisfied that they are compelled to take action, which in most cases means going on Twitter and calling her names.
Now, we have no problem with name-calling, but Lana Del Rey doesn’t deserve this. First of all, we like her music. “Video Games” was one of the Best Songs of 2011, and since she’s been on the scene, she hasn’t disappointed. Secondly, her slight awkwardness is understandable—she’s been thrust into the spotlight with the quickness, and she already has to deal with bullshit. Her visible discomfort on the SNL stage is kind of charming, in a humanizing way. Lastly, hating on “sell outs” is dead, so even if you think Lana is manufactured, fake, whatever, just let that girl cook.
We hope that everyone would stop hating and we could just enjoy Lana’s inevitable rise into power, but the haters are persistent, like maggots. She may have to take some action. Here are some ideas.
1. Murder someone
Let’s just get this one out of the way. Murder is a game-changer. It always has been. Once a homicide is committed, the petty things seem to disintegrate. Plus, murder has that “wow” factor that makes for great headlines. Who cares about an awkward performance when there is blood to be spoken of, right? It doesn’t even matter who is the victim, but may we suggest Brian Williams?
2. Collaborate with James Blake
Authenticity? James Blake doesn’t even know what authenticity is, because James Blake lives in a post-authenticity world, where people are only judged for their sometimes misunderstood genius. Hipsters love him, Kanye loves him, he’s accessible enough to be loved and edgy enough to be interesting. He’s British. There are a lot of things in his favor. If Lana linked up with James Blake, her credibility would certainly get an insta-boost.
3. Go hip-hop
Imagine if Lana just quit this crazy faux indie scene and said, “Fuck it, I’m hip-hop.” Hip-hop isn’t exactly the gold standard for positivity, but it’s a world where correctional officers can be druglords and the line between reality and fantasy is jagged, broken, and sometimes twists up into the heavens like a thin strand of kush smoke. Want to pretend that the whole Lizzy Grant thing never happened? The hip-hop community could be okay with that, and if you want to reinvent yourself as the crazy white girl who was a gang member/shot caller, that’s probably cool too.
4. Get a face tattoo
Sometimes, the best way to stop the momentum of negative energy is with a diversion. There is no greater diversion than a face tattoo. Everybody loves them, and the more unexpected they are, the better. And who really cares about your “skills,” or “performance,” or “music,” or whatever else when you’ve got a wicked new tiger claw inked on your cheek?
5. Connect with Suge Knight
Painfully hip critics with a chip on their shoulder will tighten their lips when you walk into a room wearing a bright red gown, escorted by this man. Did you get a bad review? Within hours, Suge will be hanging the man/woman/child responsible for that nonsense over a balcony, probably laughing and asking, “What you think of Lana now, you little bitch?” Besides, nothing bad ever happened to anyone connected with Suge, right?
6. Reveal a hidden talent
Right now, the debate around Lana Del Rey has to do more with her story than her music. People are unable to move past her past and accept her for what she’s doing today. The fact that she had a previous career as Lizzy Grant, label connections, appearance changes, etc. all overshadow—for some people—the music she’s making. A good way to help people move on would be to reveal some new set of skills. Can Lana Del Rey dance? Can she skat? Is she an accomplished accordion player? Any of these things would surely wow the naysayers and help them accept that Lana is more than a one trick pony.
7. Undergo another name change
This worked for Diddy, yeah? At one point, Puff Daddy was a borderline joke. Sure, he brought us Biggie, but who was taking this Puffy fellow seriously? Then, all of a sudden it was like, “Call me Diddy.” And now look. Diddy has an entire empire that he’s building, and he’s not someone that can easily be dismissed. Now, we know Lana already did the name change thing, but maybe she jumped the gun. Maybe now is the time to go with the name change. Some good options might be Lana Lay Lay, La La Del Rey Rey, or Lana S.N.L. Rey.
8. Drug rehab
In 2012, going to rehab is like the pop culture equivalent to the rapper going to jail. Nobody likes to see someone in trouble, but when they take steps to better themselves, the public seems to instinctively root for that person. Maybe adding a statement like, “The negative media coverage sent me into a deep depression and I found myself escaping through drugs” would send a few people on a much-needed guilt trip.
9. Align with a brand
I’ve never understood this, but aligning with the right brand seems to be a positive thing. Look at Tyler, The Creator and Supreme. Somehow, by partnering with the right brand, instead of seeming like a corporate sellout, an artist can actually gain some amount of authenticity credits to their name. I don’t know how/why this works but I think it can somehow be tied to economics (possibly the “invisible hand”). With the whole American flag/retro vibe going on, Lana could partner with some classic brand that everyone likes. Some options: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Cheerios, or American Spirit.
10. Continue to make good music
Maybe this should have been the first one. Although I’d love to see Lana with a face tat, standing next to Suge knight holding the head of her latest murder victim, it’s probably not the wisest path to success. Right now, Lana is the new buzz, and part of the reason that people like to hate is because there are just as many people discovering her now and falling in love. There’s nothing more satisfying to a music snob than saying to someone, “Actually, no, she’s not cool. She’s fake. Did you see her when she was Lizzy Grant? Her dad’s rich. She sucks live.” This might work now, but eventually the music is going to win. If Lana’s debut album Born To Die, out January 30, turns out to be one of the year’s finest, the sound of her new tracks could easily drown out the pestering voice of the elite group of Negative Nancies.