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Lana Del Rey: Why Brian Williams and Others Are Completely Wrong About Her

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Fri, Jan 27, 2012 at 9:15 AM
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See also:

*Lana Del Rey - The Troubadour - 12/7/11

*The Problem With Lana Del Rey (Is You)

Lana Del Rey used to be known as Lizzy Grant, and her song "Trash," a live performance of which has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube, is remarkable for its tacky narrator. She is pure trailer trash. Her fake nails are decorated with "pink tiger stripes." Her hair is "high and white." Her flower is tight. "Don't you want to come to my motel, honey?" she sings to a hick named Bill.

This Lizzy Grant -- who has an edge and real stage-presence -- is nothing like the Lizzy Grant you've been reading about, the one who Thought Catalog claimed made "pop music for bored college girls who shop at Anthropologie."

As Hipster Runoff revealed in the fall, Lana Del Rey used to be a much different-looking person when she went by Lizzy Grant. Back then, she didn't look very "alt-sexy," as they put it. Del Rey's Jan. 31 major-label debut album, Born to Die, has been overshadowed by this controversy.

These types of talking points have pretty much set the tone, as prominent music critics and blogs across the country dismissed Del Rey as a manufactured star who supposedly spent her pre-Born to Die days making tween pop. The Awl, in a more intellectual diss, said her older music was "earnest" and "heavy on the organ."

But this isn't actually true. There are no organs or earnestness in "Money Hunny," an acoustic Lizzy Grant recording. Here she tells the story of a policeman who threatens to arrest a dead man lying in the street.

And her taste in men has stayed consistent through all the face and name changes. In "Nothing More Gorgeous Than A Hundred Dollar Bill," Grant sings: "I like them tough and mean/Jim is the worst that I've ever seen."

Far from "benign" (The New York Times' words) Del Rey's older music could be creepy; "You know you like little girls" is how she seduces a man in "Put Me in a Movie."

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