You know that icky feeling when you thought Don Draper might sleep with Anna's niece, Stephanie? Sustain that into a lifestyle and you're close to nailing Lana Del Rey. Well, perhaps "nailing Lana Del Rey" is a poor choice of words, as that is essentially the dark male fantasy projected by the pop singer. She is marketed as a dead-behind-the-eyes plaything, and it carries through in the 27-year-old's lethargic crooning and numb expressions.
When Del Rey burst on the scene, I wrote that she ushered in a new era of porno pop. Frankly, my opinion of her has been a rollercoaster, as I struggle to gauge her sincerity and sense of satire, or as I learned to stifle my critical impulses and admire her knack for postmodern songcraft.
But just as I had come to accept her, even enjoy her, after witnessing impressive live performances that buried that SNL disaster, Lana Del Rey had to go and drop Ultraviolence. It is an album that lyrically looks to set gender roles back to the Eisenhower era. Which is a shame, as musically, it's as gorgeous as it is bold for the mainstream. Its patient pace, Bond-theme cool and echoing Death Valley guitars are lightyears away from the club thump that fills the charts.
Then you focus on the lyrics and your soul trickles out of your ears. Del Rey has Wolverine-warped Alexis Neiers's brain backwards in time into Lana Turner's body. See for yourself below.
"I will do anything for you, babe. Blessed is this union. Crying tears of gold like lemonade."
You know what they say, when life gives you lemon… Sorry, I can't get the image of her urinating from her eyeballs out of my head.
"He used to call me poison. 'Cause I was poison ivy."
Well, not only was he not very clever, he was a bit lazy. He couldn't be bothered to just throw in an extra syllable and use the full "Poison Ivy" nickname?
"My baby lives in shades of blue. Blue eyes and jazz and attitude. He lives in California, too. He drives a Chevy Malibu."
Whoa, she likes the bad boys, the ones who live dangerously. In 2012, GM recalled hundred of thousands of Malibus, as they would roll when in park. More recently, millions of the model were recalled. In fact, the 2009 Malibu is the most recalled car in the GM stable. So driving one is the 21st century equivalent of racing a crotch rocket with no helmet.
"Get a little bit of bourbon in ya. Get a little bit suburban and go crazy."
Ain't no party like a suburbs party! Schaumburg is the new Pilsen?
"I got your bible and your gun. And you love to party and have fun. And I love your women and all of your heroin."
Not just some of your heroin, all of it. She's all in with your smack.
"My boyfriend's in the band. He plays guitar while I sing Lou Reed. I've got feathers in my hair. I get down to Beat poetry. I'm a Brooklyn baby."
Lana romanticizes everything that is the absolute worst about modern indie. Can you imagine how insufferable this band would be? It'd be like Interscope, the CW and Urban Outfitters building a Tune-Yards clone fronted by Taylor Momsen.
"Being a bad bitch on the side, it might not appeal to fools like you. Creeping around while he gets high, it might not be something you would do."
You would be right, Lana.
"You talk lots about God… But that's not what this bitch wants. Dope and diamonds. Diamonds. Diamonds diamonds diamonds. That's all that I want, man."
Hearing this ooze out of LDR's dead lips is akin to watching Lindsay Lohan clobber-stab Gloria Steinem with a Louboutin heel.
"I paint my nails black. I dye my hair a darker shade of brown, 'cause you like your women Spanish, dark, strong and proud."
We are inches away from Al Jolson here. Has she been to Spain?
"Yo soy la princesa, comprende mis white lines? 'Cause I'm your jazz singer and you're my cult leader."
Finally, a song that chronicles the torrid love affair between David Koresh and Ella Fitzgerald.