Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Review: Lana Del Rey, 'Born To Die'

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    Then you go on to say what it is derivative of.

    as an interesting take on 2012 pop music:

    Eh?

    It is 2012. This is an interesting take on what pop music might sound like this year. I'm not sure derivative means what you think it does ;-)

    But yeah, I don't expect everyone to like Born to Die. And it does quote numerous pop tropes (and the odd book). There are valid criticisms of it: it's just that "derivative" isn't one.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Lana Del Rey on Jonathan Ross Show tonight
    TV One (sat feb 4m 10.15pm)

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5092 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Russell Brown,

    For the LDR songs I’ve heard so far, I’d make a distinction between the music, which is pretty much everything you’ve claimed for it, and the lyrics, which are something of a mess, with no real sense of any message or worldview that the performer really believes in; and this is at least in part because the character of the songs’ narrator is not fully inhabited. Both meaning and character are sacrificed for superficialities of sound.
    But, OK, it’s pop, style-over-substance is only to be expected. And it does sound amazing.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 928 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to linger,

    it ain’t meme babe…

    …the lyrics, which are something of a mess, with no real sense of any message or worldview that the performer really believes in

    do it yourself cut up text sites…
    (and more here)
    hours of fun…

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5092 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Lana Del Rey on Jonathan Ross Show tonight

    Even less power than the SNL performance. Did not sound like a professional singer to these ears. Best stick to the studio surrounded by smart producers. Making Annabel Fay sound good is not something to be proud of.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I’m not sure derivative means what you think it does ;-)

    How preposterous.

    Derivative [dih-riv-uh-tiv]
    Noun
    The limit of the ratio of the increment of a function to the increment of a variable in it, as the latter tends to 0; the instantaneous change of one quantity with respect to another, as velocity, which is the instantaneous change of distance with respect to time.

    Everybody knows that.
    So there.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4947 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    the instantaneous change of distance with respect to time

    making a fast getaway

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Sacha,

    making a fast getaway

    Exactly. If you don't do that then you do time.;-)

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4947 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    derive, she said...

    making a fast getaway
    Exactly. If you don’t do that then you do time.

    or, I suspect, risk pointless quantum entanglement
    in which case it pays to be very, very able!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5092 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    spooky

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    derive, she said…

    How does the old joke go...

    Maths and alcohol don't mix: Don't Drink and Derive! ;-)

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3470 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Lilith __,

    But but, alcohol's a number...

    Maths and alcohol don’t mix:
    Don’t Drink and Derive!

    I'll stick to sets n drugs n rock n roll then....

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5092 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to Lilith __,

    TW anyone who thinks LDR’s persona is contrived or silly should watch the new Madonna video. If that sounds like a punishment, it is.

    My eyes! I resisted this when it came up on twitter, but then thought 'how bad could it be?' Worse.

    Sad.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2160 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to JacksonP,

    ‘how bad could it be?’ Worse.

    I did warn you! Hard to believe she was more sophisticated in her early 20s than she is now. Or that's how it seems.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3470 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Lilith __,

    I did warn you! Hard to believe she was more sophisticated in her early 20s than she is now. Or that’s how it seems.

    It is ghastly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood, in reply to linger,

    For the LDR songs I’ve heard so far, I’d make a distinction between the music, which is pretty much everything you’ve claimed for it, and the lyrics, which are something of a mess, with no real sense of any message or worldview that the performer really believes in; and this is at least in part because the character of the songs’ narrator is not fully inhabited. Both meaning and character are sacrificed for superficialities of sound.
    But, OK, it’s pop, style-over-substance is only to be expected. And it does sound amazing.

    The four songs I've heard ("Born to Die", Blue Jeans", "You Can Be The Boss", and of course, "Video Games") seem to be all about the same thing- namely an ingenue attracted to seriously bad or slyly abusive men because they're so glamorous, and she wants to be something bigger than herself.

    Certainly, it fits in with the nakedly cinematic quality of the arrangements, although there is something distant about the way they're recorded at the same time, and I wonder whether a whole record of it would be wearying, to say the least. But as stand-alone singles, they hit the spot.

    But as a creation, her persona is very now, and seems to hock into a lot of things bubbling in the mainstream at the moment. That said, am I the only one reminded of Mazzy Star, specifically, this song:

    While we're talking about pop stars who get a second chance at reinventing themselves, perhaps the most interesting one of recent times is Robyn who was actually successful the first time around- albeit as a late-90s prefab artist who had no control over her image or songs. Cue a period of obscurity and re-thinking, hooking up with one of the most interesting producers in the business, and almost a decade later, she's reborn, as a wryly known pop artist, whose two most recent albums- Robyn and Bodytalk- are everything Lady Gaga isn't: sharp, funny, concise and charming (I find Gaga's stuff graceless, overbearing, opressive and just not a lot of fun), plus anyone who opens a record with the line "I've got some news for you/Fembots have feelings too" wins my admiration.

    On the compression front: yeah, it's one of my major bugbears. There have been a few acts which have done interesting things with it- I really like the way Sleigh Bells and Battles use it as a sonic weapon- but mostly, it's exhausting. In fact, some recent reissues have been quite badly affected by it.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Amanda Palmer's tweeted opinion:

    hearing Lana del Rey's whole CD after the mysterious thrill of Video Games is like something mysteriously thrilling happening & then sucking

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Biobbs, in reply to Matthew Littlewood,

    On the compression front: yeah, it's one of my major bugbears.

    Neil agrees with you! Always thinking ahead, that old man...

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/9054002/Piracy-is-the-new-radio-says-Neil-Young.html

    The River Mouth, Denmark • Since Jan 2011 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Hey, it's better than her remake of 'American Pie'.

    (I quite like the "L. U. V. Madonna!" part. I am a simple soul.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3663 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Matthew Littlewood,

    The four songs I’ve heard (“Born to Die”, Blue Jeans”, “You Can Be The Boss”, and of course, “Video Games”) seem to be all about the same thing- namely an ingenue attracted to seriously bad or slyly abusive men because they’re so glamorous, and she wants to be something bigger than herself.

    Certainly, it fits in with the nakedly cinematic quality of the arrangements, although there is something distant about the way they’re recorded at the same time, and I wonder whether a whole record of it would be wearying, to say the least. But as stand-alone singles, they hit the spot.

    Thanks to the Hype Machine, you can listen to Million Dollar Man, a vampy ballad in the I-love-the-bad-boys vein.

    Radio, which is proper mad.

    And National Anthem, which could hardly sound less like ‘Video Games’.

    And you're right: these aren't simple, direct recordings. You'll never be able to hear Lana breathing on the mic, or feel that she's in the room with you. They're confections.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Matthew Littlewood,

    obyn and Bodytalk- are everything Lady Gaga isn't: sharp, funny, concise and charming (I find Gaga's stuff graceless, overbearing, opressive and just not a lot of fun)

    Yeah, I want to like Gaga, but I find myself barely able to remember the tunes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    is she really going out with him?

    the I-love-the-bad-boys vein

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5092 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I want to like Gaga

    I have mixed feelings about her. She’s so goofy; she also seems to have a sense of fun and an appreciation of irony that Madonna never had.*

    However her music was exactly what I needed after the Sept 2010 earthquake, when we were having so many aftershocks and my flatmate would start screaming every time. Gaga’s OTT and cheerful pop really helped! :-)

    * American Pie as if it were a patriotic song, for heavens sake!

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3470 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Now, if you want meaningful lyrics, this guy is someone I had never heard of, and am very taken by.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP,

    I was reasonably impressed by Emeli Sande performing Heaven live on BBC.

    Also, her new song, Next To Me, on Graham Norton. Got a gospel vibe, which I don’t mind.

    And if you want a version to swing to, try this. Didn’t realise her album wasn’t out yet. Seems the first song came out a while back.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2160 posts Report Reply

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