In another era, Lana Del Rey would just be another pretty pop singer with a second-rate voice and big, unrealized ambitions, a major-label footnote maybe worth a page or two in a book about the foibles of the early-'10s music industry. But this is The Age Of Trollgaze, and so her "mysterious" origins and melted-cover-girl looks get fetishized and obsessed over by members of the peanut gallery who fancy themselves as "indie," but who are just as into the notion of hatefucking unavailable women as their brethren who read The Superficial and its ilkeven the most anodyne mentions of her music on any site with a comment section will devolve into incoherent referenda on her physical self, an inevitability almost as concrete as debates on political blogs turning into arguments over whether George W. Bush or Barack Obama ruined the country more irrevocably. The songs are often overtaken by these tussles enough that they are merely termed "fine," or "shitty," or somewhere in between those two on the one-word-judgment spectrum.
Del Rey's debut album Born To Die comes out, finally, early next year, and the ready-for-radio version of its title track appeared on her YouTube channel last night after being performed in Europe a few times over the past month. How does it fit into this debased, hashtag-riddled age that we are currently living in? Our mathematical analysis, below. More »