Lana Del Rey
See also: The Problem With Lana Del Rey (Is You)
Better than... a certain SNL taping.
It seems that the yearning need for Lana Del Rey's brand of gauzy Americana that racked the country five months ago hasn't slowed, at least here in L.A., as indicated by her selling out three consecutive nights at the El Rey Theatre this week.
The pop world isn't so obsessed with her as they were following the release of Born to Die, but she maintains a strong cult of devotees. A few months after her appearance at Amoeba, her show at the El Rey was fitting, at least in terms of the spot's decor, which fits her aesthetic so well it's almost cringe-worthy.
Del Rey's smoky register on her opener, "Blue Jeans," initiated flashbacks of the Saturday Night Live debacle, but it was the only pitchy detraction from an otherwise stellar display of her vocal dynamics. "Million Dollar Man" had the Brooklyn-based singer at the peak of her set as she went from breathy falsetto to fully belting her "I loved a bad boy" anthem.
Yet however dazzling her range may be, Del Rey's lack of stage presence is still noticeable. As she wrapped her set up with "National Anthem," the audience kept as stock still as Del Rey, only breaking the tension as she gave a pageant wave and floated offstage at the end of the song.
When it comes to Del Rey, the talking point still holds -- either you're on her wagon or you're not. Her inability to engage the crowd didn't seem to faze her followers; they all but swooned at her mumbled crowd banter. And it seems that Del Rey is fully aware of her abilities, pushing her voice into a even darker direction on the new track "Body Electric."
Del Rey knows who her fans are and she appeals to them wildly. She's done the amore noir bit to death at this point, which is why though she's only been on the scene for about a year, it feels much longer. Of course, we have only ourselves to blame -- she's an amalgam of our love for retro nostalgia and mysterious characters. She's the musician we wanted, and now we've got her.
Personal bias: I've probably read far too many Lana think-pieces by now, mostly because every publication in existence has released a Lana think-piece.
Overheard in the crowd: Hammered girl screaming "I love you, Laina!" No one had the heart to correct her.
Random notebook dump: People who record an entire set on their iPhones deserve to be punched in the neck.
Set list below
Born To Die
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Million Dollar Man