Breaking news: No rotten tomatoes were hurled at Lana Del Rey after her performance at Mulberry's after-party in London on Sunday. The small audience, which included the likes of Michelle Williams, Pixie Geldof, Elizabeth Olsen, were receptive to Del Rey's four-song set of '80s songs, and even clapped at each song's end.
Positive reception seems like the next stop on this crazy train we call Lana Del Rey. First, she endured the angry tirades from the blogs. Then, little by little, the explanations and the empowered defenses began cropping up. Hating her had gotten stale, and this brings us to the next phase, in which LDR performs well and people actually enjoy her music. And it is kind of nice to see Lizzy Grant hitting solid ground after a long ride on a rickety roller coaster. But that doesn't mean that we have to start liking her.
I can't endorse Lana Del Rey. I'll admit that after the backlash I tried to assemble myself in her camp, if only to put some distance between the malicious responses that rained down following her very public arrival. It's not her supposed inauthenticity or the fact that she comes off as contrived that I don't like (name me a pop artist who doesn't hand-deliver their image to a specific audience); it isn't the SNL performance (not great, though certainly not the worst in history); it isn't even the fact that she looks like she takes her facial cues from teen bride Courtney Stodden. To borrow from a different musician, who I don't dislike even a little bit, "It's a little bit of everything, all rolled into one."
There just isn't much about her persona, personality, or abilities as a musician that I can get behind. Famous or not, if I were seated next to the celebrity Lana Del Rey or the woman Lizzy Grant at, say, a dinner party, and I had to listen to her babble about the angst-ridden philosophy on mortality she had as a teenager, or hear about how she finds inspiration "from like, the era of the 50's or the 60's," I would quietly judge her and excuse myself to the bathroom where I would roll my eyes and scoff in the mirror until I calmed down. I am annoyed by Lana Del Rey, and I think we are all entitled to that judgment.
It's true that the Great Witch Hunt of Lana Del Rey got way, way out of hand, but that doesn't make us indebted to her. It's reasonable to dislike her for interviewing poorly, for being a professional musician who doesn't perform well, and for answering questions nonsensically. Whether or not you want to separate the musician from the person—and whether or not this distinction matters—is up to you. Just don't seat me next to her at a party.