Lana Del Rey has sold more than seven million albums and twelve million singles since her single debut 'Video Games' in 2011. She has released four studio albums, a short film and tracks for box office hits such as The Great Gatsby. Also, she has received countless music awards and even her harshest critics (of which there are many) cannot deny her as one of our generation’s greats. Her cinematic style lends itself to ballads so pure in emotion, that it’s hard not to relate, even if you have never stepped foot in a trailer park or had an alcohol problem. This is exactly where Lana Del Rey’s specialty lies – she has the unusual, addictive ability to force people into relating to experiences, which they know nothing of.
Consider some other modern female artists such as Beyoncé or Nicki Minaj, their songs often contain messages of how girls can quite literally, ‘run the world’, without needing to rely on a man. They sing of humble beginnings and have a strong feminist message, which of course is a very positive and respectable position to take. The difference between the likes of Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj, and Lana Del Rey is that the independence the former speak of, although admirable, seems almost obvious to a lot of young women. Something that seems much more rare and difficult to sensitively articulate is the reality that some young women do depend on men, out of choice or otherwise - and this is not shameful or reprehensible. This is exactly where Lana Del Rey’s ideas often stem from, as we see in ‘Off To The Races’ where Del Rey asks her male counterpart to “tell me you own me”, or in ‘Yayo’ where she explains she needs him “like a baby”, clearly, these feelings are undesirable at best, if not unhealthy, but they do allow for a painfully shameless reflection of an emotionally dependant young female character that many modern artists are hesitant to liken themselves to. Lana Del Rey even goes as far as to ask “If I get a little prettier, can I be your baby” in ‘Gods & Monsters’, but goes on to show another side to herself in ‘Pretty When You Cry’ with “I’m stronger than all my men”. This I find interesting because it is almost as if Del Rey is teasing her listeners, she shows how a woman can be raw, emotionally over-involved and insecure but also strong, so strong in fact, they can be stronger than quite literally, “all” men. I do not believe that Lana Del Rey is promoting ‘antifeminist ideas’ as her critics suggest; rather that she is just reflecting an aspect of reality that, for many women, still exists.
Image credits: http://lanadelrey.com/gallery/