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Caturday Covers

Posted: October 15th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Caturday Covers | Tags: | Comments Off on Caturday Covers

Lana del Rey – Video Games
Leavves – Video Games

More importantlish, the video for Video Games:

So, I’ve been waiting for an excuse to come out of semi-retirement and publish the Treatise on Lana del Rey I’ve been writing in my head for the past month, though of course by this point the wave has crested and we’re already excavating the backlash. (To bring you up to speed, here is an Abbreviated Timeline of Salient Events:

– Apparently homemade music videos by something called Lana del Rey start appearing on the wienernet
– Music press discovers them, sees that there is a prettyish Frankenstein in them, gets very mildly excited
– Music press discovers that Lana del Rey is not her real name (LOL), that those are not her real lips (LOLOL), that she already recorded an album of pop(!) music under her real name (since dis-released), that she’s been massaging these songs and her image for years with the help of (PREPARE FOR HORROR) “lawyers and managers.” (LOLOLOLOLOLOLO)
– Music press goes WEIRDLY APOPLECTIC, far out of proportion to her initial lukewarm reception (which, honestly, if you’re pointing to that hipsterrunoff post as the beginning of THEE BACKLASHING you probably don’t “get” hipsterrunoff)
– I see a press image on FFFFound, realize I’ve been seeing the image in the corner of the internet for weeks, go “huh” and click through to her video.
– Song gets stuck in my head forever
– I read a bunch of articles chronicling the “divisiveness” of this “new” “internet sensation” and laugh the shit out of my heart-butt at the idea of anyone debating the “realness” of a cultural product in the year 2011 AD #occupyWallStreet
– Death)

So but setting lightly aside the well-worn internetmusicjournalist timeline of “she seems cooWE HATE HER!!!!!slut,” the weird sense of betrayal that her seemingly independent and fully-formed aesthetic apparatus (THE VERY FUCKING PICTURE YOU GET WHEN YOU LOOK UP “PASTICHE” IN THE WIKTIONARY fuck you) might be (gasp/gulp/fart) calculated, and because I do not have the wherewithal to establish connective tissue between the following threads, here is a loose collection of STRAY OBSERVATIONS ON WHY THIS IS A SPECTACLE WORTH STAYING APPRISED OF:

– We are 60 years past the point where we might worry about the “authenticity” of an artist’s aesthetic project, yet we do it anyway (and despite the fact that from the outset this plasticized humanoid would have to have sprung from some kind of 1950s trailer park time warp in order to be in any way “authentic,” which means we are getting huffy over whether her cultural appropriations are her idea “because she likes them” or someone else’s idea “because something is being sold to us” which I just laugh and laugh)
– Any “pop” “artist” who references David Lynch as an influence is automatically more culturally relevant and legitimate than your Ke$has, I am allowed to be prejudiced in this way
– She pronounces “only” with 3 syllables
– Her total inability to focus her eyes in the video suggests a sort of precocious ruined-ness–the idea of being an addled fallen star even before fame has fully materialized–which strikes me as hyper-contemporary in this Post-Kardashian Future Era
– The videos, with their shuffle of random Americana, webcam footage, Old Hollywood and oddly prescient footage of (similar tragic-plastic-surgery-victim) Paz de la Huerta’s infamous public rock-bottoming seem to be SAYING SOMETHING about Our Dumb Time, even if they do not intend to, and even if I have not yet figured out what the SOMETHING is.
– On the subject of these videos: the seemingly naive combination of super-8 footage and webcam video, which again seems to be SAYING SOMETHING, and makes me think about our children who will grow up in a world of high-definition video phones, and what the future visual referents of “nostalgia” will look like when film grain, analog VHS and 480p are equally flattened into WHAT THE PAST WAS.
– The zeitgeisty combination of references: Soul, 50s/60s Mad Men nostalgia, glamour/fame/shame all on the pointedly adolescent subject of playing videogames with your boyfriend, and the way she cannily distills this into “Lolita got lost in the hood.”
– The way (like a very, very, very watered-down Nicki Minaj) she schizophrenically switches voices/personalities in the song–from weary soul to plastic pop to babytalk–and how this represents the young person’s TOTAL COMPRESSION OF TIME and ability to select identities as outfits
– The way the song itself seems aware that its protagonist is hanging out with the wrong tough guys, even as the protagonist is not aware of same (dramatic irony)
– The cover is pretty pointless, but the original is really pretty great, all shadowy and downcast, and she seems to have invented the genre of “Hollywood Sadcore” which I applaud
– Do you think there is a sub-genre of humans that looks at Paz de la Huerta and says “I want my face to look like that”? Like, have we reached a point where young people are aestheticizing plastic surgery disasters?
– I will never not like it when you can hear that someone is smiling while they sing a line
– The tom-sound that starts at 2:28
– I’m realizing that the videos can be read as basically equivalent to a 12 year old’s aspirational mood board, which is sort of depressing
– But (much like with Ryan Trecartin’s videos) I’m fully aware that I’m watching something inarticulably indicative of the horrifying and unknowable mindset of people younger than me but I am also well-educated enough to resist my initial disgust and appreciate its cultural significance even as it horrifies me and my first inclination is to toss it on the campfire