Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey (species: cantante melancholica) is an American singer, songwriter, and model, whose brand of melancholy has become an anthem of sorts to millions of effeminate men after defeating Beyonce and Marina and the Diamonds for that honor in a fistfight on the grounds of Coachella in 2012. From then onward legions of male fans have tried to knock on her door...just for autographs. Her song "Video Games" spread quickly over the Internet among emotional teenagers and melodramatic gamers.
Del Rey has caused spikes in flower sales in cities that she performs in. During one of her shows, the lawn seats were covered with over 30,000 flowers after a performance, which surely owes to more than just the patrons' restless legs syndrome. She also influenced the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision after releasing This is What Makes Us Gays, a song celebrating gender activism a few years earlier. Justice Anthony Kennedy said he was inspired by the song and gave her a "shout-out" in his majority opinion. Late Justice Potter Stewart emerged from the crypt to write a concurring opinion, stating, "I can't describe it, but I know solid gold when I hear it!"
2012–13: Born to Die and Paradise
Released on January 27, 2012, Del Rey's debut album Born to Die received great support and was hailed as the greatest album of all-time by thousands of fans who hadn't gotten around to listening to anything else yet. The album is full of dark yet marketable lyrics that drown behind layers of reverb and orchestral strings. Scientists studying brains of rabid Lana Del Rey fans have found that when they hear the first few notes of their favorite Lana Del Rey song, their brains light up like that of a cocaine addict making the jump to heroin for the first time. Despite this, the album was not immune to more received mixed reviews; Rolling Stone called it "more fun than lung cancer," while more critical reviews characterized it as "sad in an unintended way" and "worse than Smurfs 2."
Born to Die's popularity comes from its huge hits, such as "Video Games" and the remixed version of "Springtime Sickness." The latter was accused of not being real music due to Lana's purposeful sneezing fit in the chorus. Some of the criticisms included calling the artist "a sniffling whore" and "worse than my ex-wife." The craze led to the Sneeze Challenge, which saw young patrons at Karaoke bars pouring half of a pepper shaker up their noses to achieve the perfect cover of the song. There have been three recorded deaths due to the challenge and two lawsuits against Lana, who was believed to have started the challenge. Lana stated that she has "never practiced any unsafe sneezing techniques" and would go on to reference it in her cover of Darth Vader's "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood."
Because the rabid fans could not wait a full year after Born to Die, the Paradise EP came out in November of the same year, released alongside Del Rey's short film Tropico. The opening scene begins with portrayals of Jesus, Elvis Presley, and Marilyn Monroe, the Lana Del Rey Holy Trinity. In "Gods and Monsters," which was featured in the Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters movie soundtrack, Lana's character gives God a metaphorical middle finger while cash rains upon her in true Lana Del Rey style.
2014–15: Ultraviolence and Honeymoon
2014 saw the release of Ultraviolence, where Lana used a completely different strategy and attempted to be taken seriously among songs such as "Saddest Girl" and "Sucked My Way Up to the Top". In "Cruel World" Lana sings about how you "got your Bible, got your gun", which is a reference to conservative Jesus, whom she met working with on the set of Tropico. In her album, she used a technique of whisper-singing over string instruments to put the listener into a melancholic trance. Victims of her hypnotism frequent Tumblr, wear flower crowns, and cry without provocation.
The album was met with more outrage, as concerned parents worried that the songs "Ultraviolence" and "Guns and Roses" would lead to another viral internet challenge with casualties. A change.org petition to ban Lana Del Rey acquired over 53,000 signatures from disturbed parents and disappointed Born to Die fans. The NRA publicly endorsed Lana Del Rey in August of 2014 stating, "Lana's songs Ultraviolence and Money Power Glory demonstrate the values of our corporation".
The theme of slow, mellow vocals continued on into the singer's fourth album to such an extent that the Department of Transportation of Marina Del Rey, California issued a warning in late 2015 not to drive while listening to Honeymoon, fearing that drivers would doze off. In December of 2015, Lana Del Rey admitted that her song Terrence Loves You is named after her parrot. She told the New York Times that he had a solo at one point in the song, but the producer overdubbed her background harmonies, rendering it inaudible. "I was really upset that nobody would know how hard Terrence worked, so I named the song after him," Lana said. After a lengthy battle with her record label, Interscope released the demo as a bonus track on her CD. Fans snapped the exclusive CD Edition up on Amazon in such numbers that the stock led the Dow Jones for three straight days.
The first single for her fourth album was the title track, "Honeymoon". Critics noted that it was an evolution for the artist, while many fans fell asleep four minutes in. Her fourth album was very popular and made it onto many "Best of the Year" lists on clickbait websites.
Lana Del Rey has been in many relationships, but none have had her as "head over heels" as Lana says. In an interview with Buzzfeed, Lana said, "Yeah, I watched Bee Movie and I wanted to get more in touch with nature, so I went out and found Jesse. I know he's a bee and some people won't accept that, but it's 2016. He's all I ever dreamed about and I only met him a week ago!" Lana told Buzzfeed that she's already writing songs about him and "you'll just have to look for it."