Did someone decide to give a roast of Lana Del Rey and forgot to tell everyone else? Poor Lana Del Rey has been suffering in the media lately as the vultures try to circle and swoop in on the star’s ability to have a range of emotions. In particular, critics around the world are mulling about the notion that Lana Del Rey is not as dark as she claims to be.
Last year, Lana Del Rey released Ultraviolence, and the media started to say things about her being a paradox of darkness and light. Most of those major reviewers stated that Lana Del Rey embracing her dark side was perfectly fine.
The New York Times stated about Lana Del Rey’s new album, “But one thing the album should immediately eliminate is the notion that Lana Del Rey is only chasing hits. The album reaches deeper into her slow-motion sense of time, her blend of retro sophistication and seemingly guileless candor.”
About her new album release, NPR appeared to think she was sincere and said, “Lana Del Rey emotionally goes to places she shouldn’t, and the young people who pack her concerts and put her records in the charts thank her for wallowing in the messy truths of their impending adulthood that PC entertainers simply won’t touch.”
Sadly, Ultraviolence and its fluctuations between light and dark emotions would come back to haunt Lana Del Rey. When Kim Gordon first published her memoirs, she negatively targeted Lana Del Rey specifically for her “depressive persona” — indicating that Lana Del Rey was not giving respect to mental illness and was just acting dark to get attention.
Now, the Ultraviolence debates have been re-opened — only this time, critics are less than supportive of Lana Del Rey’s “darkness.” Since Kim Gordon started poking the bear, Lana Del Rey critics have unleashed their fury. For example, the Daily Life in Australia openly dissed Lana Del Rey by throwing her in with other people the author of the article deemed as “proof that irony has lost its status as our primary cultural mode” and also said, “Lana del Rey may be the dark queen of irony and Swift, earnestness’s golden pin-up, but it’s no accident that they often sing about the same themes.”
FlavorWire also used Lana Del Rey to create a scathing review of Lifetime’s Wuthering Heights, saying, “Surely, fans of teenage melodrama will enjoy the drugs, the mean-girl scenes in the school bathroom, the parties, the loud montages with moody pop music. Paloma Kwiatkowski as Cathy projects unceasingly stylized, blank, Lana Del Rey-style rage, while Andrew Jacobs nails the brooding stares of Heath.”
Ouch! Does anyone have anything nice to say about Lana Del Rey? When Fader published their interview with Lana Del Rey in 2014, she spoke sincerely about where some of her “darkness” came from that led to the Ultraviolence album. Lana Del Rey stated the following after the interviewer asked why she was crying.
“I’d been sick on tour for about two years with this medical anomaly that doctors couldn’t figure out. That’s a big part of my life: I just feel really sick a lot of the time and can’t figure out why. I’d gotten these shots in Russia, where we’d just been. It was just heavy… I thought my position was sad. I thought it was sad to be in Ireland singing for people who really cared when I wasn’t sure if I did [because Lana Del Rey was constantly sick].”
Is this why Lana Del Rey is so misunderstood? According to the Invisible Disabilities Association website, anyone with a chronic invisible disability or chronic ongoing illness that involves pain might be able to understand where Lana Del Rey’s darkness is coming from — if this is indeed revealed to be a source of her darkness.
They state, “We hate being sick, because the time ticks by, the work piles up and we cannot do anything about it. We gripe and moan that ‘we don’t have time to be sick!’ even for just a day. It is just plain miserable to be sick, in pain and debilitated – nobody enjoys it.”
Could the lyrics to “Ultraviolence,” where Lana Del Rey says about herself that she is “filled with poison but blessed with beauty and rage” have new meaning when seen through the lens of a person dealing with a painful chronic long-term illness? Should critics start cutting Lana Del Rey some slack if it turns out she made an album based on her experience with pain related to chronic illness?
After all, it does appear that the misery Lana Del Rey showed in Ultraviolence may not come from nowhere.
[All images from the referenced links.]