Lana Del Rey: The View from 10,000 Feet

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I’ve thus far resisted linking to or quoting music industry gadfly Bob Lefsetz, because I’d rather you just signed up for his indispensable e-newsletter.

But his meta-review of Lana Del Rey’s performance on “Saturday Night Live” is required reading. Just in case you’re late to the party, the modern-day torch singer had one of the most overhyped appearances ever on “SNL,” being signed to perform on the strength of a couple of striking videos, but before she ever released an album or even had many live performances under her belt.

Long story short: she underwhelmed, capturing little of the sexiness evident in the videos and delivering an unsteady vocal performance. Check it out here:

For his part, Lefsetz likens her performance to Ashlee Simpson’s–not that she lip-synced, per se, but that she torpedoed her career. “Anybody can see that Lana Del Rey had her lips inflated and is low on talent and has nonexistent charisma,” he writes.

Probably overly harsh. But it’s what Ms. Del Rey says about the music business that’s most important. “[She’s] a manufactured rocket of the old school type, put on the launch pad by her label hoping to cut through the clutter of the music world,” writes Lefsetz. “Yup, Interscope believes if they make an expensive enough video, they can convince enough people to make someone a star. … Like Rebecca Black, she’ll have her moment in the sun. But she won’t last. Because there’s nothing there.”

Unlike, he points out, Gary Clarke, Jr., whose career will undoubtedly last longer.

Indeed, I’d add that it’s the difference between a mediocre act like the Black Eyed Peas, whom the music industry has repeatedly trying to force down our throats, versus Adele, who won us all over with raw talent and emotion. No one’s ever going to sell us on Adele being as sexy as Lana, but Adele never–never–would have turned it a performance like that.

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