The most inexplicably controversial singer in the pop world, Lana Del Rey, finally got some positive press. By taking pictures, talking with, and smiling at fans, she has proven herself to be a warm-blooded humanoid and finally people are writing something nice.
The last time we visited with Lana, she was being sucked into the vortex of bad buzz generated by a lifeless and poorly-styled appearance on SNL. One so bad, in fact, that it prompted the guest of our debut episode of “My First Big Break,” Brian Williams, to send a personal note to Gawker asking them to give her the business.
Del Rey’s first album ‘Born to Die” debuted at the number two spot this week on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 77,000. And it’s number one in a number of European countries. Meaning she does have fans who want to be able to hear her at their leisure.
At the same time, people are throwing her a whole lot of shade. Asshole Karl Lagerfeld, who seems to have a whole lot to say about other people this week, made a weird comment about her having implants. (Del Rey says she has not had any plastic surgery.) Rumors have spread that she cancelled her tour because of the SNL performance. People have given her a hard time for her relaunch as Lana Del Rey after first releasing an album as Lizzie Grant. And New York magazine created a timeline to the backlash against Del Rey that starts in 1986. A friend of Del Rey laments, “I don’t know why there are so many haters.” Neither do we anonymous source. Neither do we.
We asked a few weeks ago whether Del Rey would benefit from all of the criticism. It looks like the jury is still out. Despite the album sales and the fans, the people who dislike Del Rey are persistent. A well-established figure, like Madonna or Britney Spears, who both have fame beyond belief, can absorb and then disperse this sort of negativity back into the universe without missing a beat. But Del Rey is still a newbie (at least, in her current incarnation) who, as the media notes, has done so little that the level of backlash she’s getting seems to come out of nowhere. It’s hard to solve a reputation problem, or any problem really, when you’re unclear about the source of it.
The New York Times, echoing the same idea that one of my Mediabistro colleagues had a few weeks ago, suggests that she try again with a new persona in a couple of years. If she’s got the stamina and the talent, maybe Del Rey can ride it out.
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