My pussy taste like Pepsi-Cola, my eyes are wide like cherry pies. I got a taste for men who’re older. It’s always been, so it’s no surprise. -Lana del Rey, Cola (Pussy)
Elizabeth Woolridge Grant (born June 21, 1986), known by her stage name Lana Del Rey, is an American singer-songwriter. Del Rey started singing at the age of 18 and signed her first recording contract with 5 Points Records in 2007, releasing her first digital album Lana Del Ray in January 2010. Del Rey bought herself out of the contract with 5 Points Records in April 2010. She signed a joint contract with Interscope, Polydor, and Stranger Records in July 2011.
Del Rey released her second studio album Born to Die in January 2012. It debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200, and was the fifth best-selling album of 2012. A remix of its fifth single “Summertime Sadness”, produced by Cedric Gervais, became her highest-charting track on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 after peaking at number six in the country. Del Rey released her third extended play Paradise that November; three of its tracks were featured in her short film Tropico, which was premiered in December. Her third studio album Ultraviolence was released in June 2014 and debuted as number one on the Billboard 200. Pop critics referred to her as the new queen of pop.
Del Rey’s music has been noted for its references to various aspects of pop culture, particularly that of the 1950s and 1960s Americana. The singer has described herself as a “self-styled gangsta Nancy Sinatra”. Musically, she draws influence from what she deems to be the masters of each genre, including Elvis Presley, Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin, Nirvana, Eminem, Bruce Springsteen, and Britney Spear.
After uploading a few of her tracks to her YouTube channel, Del Rey was discovered and signed by Stranger Records to release her debut single “Video Games”. She told The Observer, “I just put that song online a few months ago because it was my favourite. To be honest, it wasn’t going to be the single but people have really responded to it.” The song earned her a Q award for “Next Big Thing” in October 2011 and an Ivor Novello for “Best Contemporary Song” in 2012. The same month, she signed a joint deal with Interscope Records and Polydor to work on her second studio album Born to Die.
Del Rey built anticipation to the album by doing a number of live appearances, such as promotional concerts at the Bowery Ballroom and at the Chateau Marmont, and with performances at television shows such as De Wereld Draait Door, and Later… with Jools Holland.
Del Rey also performed two songs from the album on Saturday Night Live on January 14, 2012 and received a negative response from critics and the general public. Del Rey’s performance was defended by the evening program’s guest host, actor Daniel Radcliffe, despite not having seen her performance. She had earlier defended her spot on the program, saying: “I’m a good musician […] I have been singing for a long time, and I think that [SNL creator] Lorne Michaels knows that […] it’s not a fluke decision.” The following week on SNL, Kristen Wiig impersonated Del Rey where she humorously defended herself during Weekend Update. When asked how long she was able to enjoy her success before she started receiving backlash, Del Rey said “I never felt any of the enjoyment. It was all bad, all of it.”
Born to Die was officially released on January 31, 2012 worldwide, and reached number one in 11 countries, though critical reaction was divided.The same week, Del Rey said that she bought back the rights to her 2010 debut album, and had plans to re-release it in the summer of 2012 under Interscope Records and Polydor.Contrary to Del Rey’s press statement, her previous record label and producer David Kahne have both stated that she bought the rights to the album when she and the label parted company, due to the offer of a new deal, in April 2010. Born to Die sold 3.4 million copies in 2012, making it the fifth-best-selling album of 2012. In the United States, Born to Die charted on the Billboard 200 album chart well into 2012, lingering at number 76, after 36 weeks on the chart.
Most of her fans who bought the album were (are?) teenagers. After all, if Elizabeth Woolridge Grant was “born to die” why not trying to get banged against the American flag and leave this planet satisfied. Who wouldn’t do it?
It was all about “fantasy” and “dreams” what made Elizabeth Woolridge Grant a narcissist and self-centered singer, one that thinks “Elvis is my daddy, Marilyn’s my mother. Jesus is my best friend. We don’t need nobody ’cause we got each other, or at least I pretend.”
She has been described as a “self-styled gangsta Nancy Sinatra” and “Lolita lost in the hood”and her music has been noted for its references to various aspects of pop culture, particularly that of 1950s and ’60s Americana. Del Rey has also been called “a torch singer of the internet era” and “the anti-Gaga.” Born Lizzy Grant, Del Rey has attributed her work to various stage names including Lana Rey Del Mar, Sparkle Jump Rope Queen, and May Jailer. Settling on Lana Del Rey, the singer claims she selected the name because it was beautiful. First mention of the name Lana Del Rey came from her Spanish-speaking Cuban friends. Following in the shadow of artists like Prince and David Bowie, Del Rey chose her musical identity because it “reminded [her] of the glamour of the seaside. It sounded gorgeous coming off the tip of the tongue.”
Drama Queen Del Rey has stylized her musical sound as “Hollywood sadcore”. Time said the solid core of her sound was “movie music”, with a fairy-dusting of harp and an ominous timpani, laid out over-top a hip hop vocal cadence. Her vocal style has been likened to rap. Of Born to Die, indie music journal Drowned in Sound wrote, “She likes that whole hip hop thing though, has this whole swagger thing going that not many women singers like her got,” adding that it sounded like a poppier Bond soundtrack. In “National Anthem”, “Off to the Races,” and “Diet Mountain Dew”, Del Rey employs this alternative rapping technique. Under the stage name Lizzy Grant, she called her music “Hawaiian glam metal”, while the work of her May Jailer project was acoustic. Attributed to many genres, Del Rey’s sound has been primarily linked to indie and pop, and experiments with hip hop and trip hop genres.
Ultraviolence is the third studio album by Del Rey, released on June 13, 2014 by Interscope and Polydor Records. Despite originally dismissing the possibility of releasing another record after her major-label debut Born to Die (2012), Del Rey began planning its follow-up in 2013. Production continued into 2014, at which time she heavily collaborated with Dan Auerbach to revamp what she initially considered to be the completed record. The project saw additional contributions from producers including Paul Epworth, Greg Kurstin, and Rick Nowels.
Ultraviolence received positive reviews from music critics, who commended its cohesiveness and overall production — as well as the number of copies sold. It debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 182,000 copies, becoming Del Rey’s first number-one album on the chart and the best-selling debut week of her career. Ultraviolence was preceded by the digital release of four singles, “West Coast”, “Shades of Cool”, “Ultraviolence”, and “Brooklyn Baby”.
After the release of Born to Die in 2012, Del Rey dismissed the idea of releasing another album, because she had “already said everything [she] wanted to say.” However, by February 2013, Del Rey had started work on an album saying, “It’s a little more stripped down but still cinematic and dark. I’ve been working on it really slowly but I love everything I’ve done. I’ve been writing in Santa Monica and I know what the record sounds like. Now I just have to finish it. Musically I’ve worked with the same three guys.” She mentioned that one of the songs off the album would be called “Black Beauty”. When the demo version leaked in July, Del Rey stated “I do feel discouraged, yeah. I don’t really know what to put on the record. But I guess I could just put them on and see what happens. Each time I write… I’ll never write a song if I don’t think it’s going to be perfect for the record.” She also stated that she was writing “low-key and stripped back” songs and was working with Dan Heath, her boyfriend Barrie-James O’Neill and that she wanted to work with Lou Reed.
In October, Del Rey said about the prospect of a new album, “When people ask me about it, I just have to be honest — I really don’t know. I don’t want to say, ‘Yeah, definitely — the next one’s better than this one,’ because I don’t really hear a next one. My muse is very fickle. She only comes to me sometimes, which is annoying.”
Ultraviolence is definitely Del Rey’s best album so far, and has put her on the cover of the Rolling Stone Magazine. As usual, RS refers to women pop singers as “rockers”, labeling Del Rey as a “rock diva”. It seems like the RS critic did not had the time to do his homework, but just looked at the number of copies sold.