Lana Del Rey on Saturday Night Live

I first stumbled across a link to Lana Del Rey’s Video Games video in… I guess June of last year. That’s only a little more than six months – an eon on the hyped up internet world of mass entertainment. I was immediately hooked by the quirky vocals and grungy video. I really couldn’t say it was good… but it was different – and I liked it. I liked it enough to waste a blog entry on it (and now I’m doing it again).

Back then, very few folks had heard of her. I posted a link to my blog on her facebook page, she commented a thank you. But there was an undercurrent building on the internet. My blog entry was getting a steady stream of search engine hits.

A bunch of Nick’s friends were at the house with a laptop hooked up to the 65 inch screen in Club Lee so I had them scoot to YouTube, watch and listen. They hated it. It was way too slow and lugubrious for their youthful taste.

Over the last month, several of them have told me that Lana Del Rey was going to be on Saturday Night Live. The funny thing is, they deny telling me they didn’t like the song.

So for the last few months I’ve watched while Lana Del Rey blew up. She became big in Europe, then signed a record deal with Interscope, and now she has passed the hurdles, was on SNL last night, and will be on the cover of every major music rag/mag as one of the hottest things for 2012.

What I have been enjoying the most has been the (inevitable?) backlash against her apparent inevitable success (I think she is the first artist to appear on SNL without even having a record out). I can understand someone not liking her music (it’s odd and she’s not a very good singer) but that is not even mentioned. It seems the reason that the blogs can’t stand her is:

A – her real name is not Lana Del Rey, and

B – her father is very wealthy, and

C – her looks – she looks good but her lips are too big (injections?)

I’m sorry, but none of these things means much to me. I don’t care about her “street cred” or anything like that. I don’t even care about her looks. Lana Del Rey is obviously a creation of somebody, maybe Elizabeth Grant, maybe a team of highly-paid publicists… probably both.

What in popular music is not something totally artificial? If she is a little more plastic, a little more out-front with the image, a bit more calculated… so what. I like the songs. They are different. That’s enough for me.

So?

The question is… how did she do on SNL? The answer is terrible. She doesn’t look like she is used to performing in front of a live audience and her two songs were strange and awkward. Actually I knew she would be bad.  Her act is not one that is suited to the SNL format – she is not active and out there enough. Even the Huffington Post thought she bombed.

Of course, if you look through the negative reviews… they keep referring to the same people. I like stuff that is different. I like stuff that isn’t so polished. I like someone that acts as if she just realized she is on live TV in front of millions of people singing songs that they are simply not prepared for. I like something that isn’t Autotuned to death. I like to see someone that is out there knowing that the long knives are all out.

Did you watch it and think she sucked? Good for you.

Video Games was her first song and I still really like it, but it doesn’t come across live like it does on the video. I thought the second song, Blue Jeans went a little better, I thought – it has more life than the monotone mood of Video Games and gave her a bit more to do.

So am I disappointed? Hell no. I thought it was enjoyable… if it wasn’t what everyone expected… so much the better. It was different, and that counts for a lot, in my book.

I remember the first time I saw Saturday Night Live. It was October 25, 1975, the third show, with host Rob Reiner. The new show wasn’t getting any promotion and really, nobody knew anything about it. This was my sophomore year at Kansas University. Back then, a large group of us would get together on Saturday nights, pile onto a friend’s waterbed and watch Monty Python on a tiny black and white television (none of us had any money to go out or do anything more interesting). There were two episodes back to back on two different PBS stations (from Topeka and Kansas City). After Python was done, someone started flipping channels to find something else to watch and I remember yelling, “Hey there’s Joe Cocker… lets watch this,” so we did.

It didn’t take long to realize that this wasn’t Joe Cocker… it was Belushi doing Joe Cocker, and before long he was thrashing around on the floor in an epileptic fit. It was fantastic. So, from then on, we would all pile onto the waterbed and watch Monty Python and Saturday Night Live.

Everyone is familiar with the ups and downs of the show over the decades. I have slowly lost interest… last night was the first time I’ve watched SNL in at least three years.

Even if Lana Del Rey’s performance wasn’t the most polished and dynamic I’ve ever seen, she was better than that weird British teenager that was the host.

WordPress Blogs on her performance:

Takedown of the Day

Lana Del Rey’s SNL Performance Painful To Watch

In defense of Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey on Jools Holland (where she did really well live)

Sunday Ramblings

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Lana Del Rey Comes To ‘Saturday Night Live’ And Leaves Controversies Behind

A Few Artists to Watch For

Let’s Talk About Last Night’s SNL

Musical Ladies of 2012

3 Female Buzzbands I Don’t “Get”

For the Love of the Genre

Fabulous Cover: Lana del Rey, Intervention Russia

Quote of the day, 1/15

Eight Female Singers Who Caught My Imagination In 2011