The answer is: it'll do in a pinch.
Lana Del Rey, the musical persona of Lizzy Grant, lives in an uncanny valley between the extremes of pop star and real girl. She looks something like both, but really is neither. This is why she enchants people, this is why she pisses people off (often simultaneously—her ardent detractors can argue against her artistic value but would be hypocrites to deny her ability to fascinate). She rubs right up against notions of authenticity with a singer-songwriter guise that can feel confessional—her terrific new album Ultraviolence is full of revelations of things generally not said in public. She explores what it is to be a proud mistress, an opportunist out for "money, power, and glory," a hack who, as a song title puts it, "Fucked My Way Up to the Top." (Duncan Cooper's rather astute profile of Del Rey in Fader links that song to a relationship Del Rey had with a record exec, even though Del Rey has claimed that it's about a hater.)
It was rumored that Lana Del Rey was paid almost $3 million to perform a three-song set at the Palace of Versailles on Friday at a pre-wedding party for Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. However, she shot down that figure recently to a TMZ pap. She says she was paid nothing to sing at the event because, "I would never let a friend pay me to sing at a wedding."
You know what you're getting with Lana Del Rey at this point—post-Mad Men golden age revivalism, blank sadness—but the singer does still have the ability to surprise. Take, for instance, her new single "West Coast," which randomly quotes the New Radicals.
Lana Del Rey released her latest video on her Twitter account last night with the caption "new video," and it turns out the description signaled a pared down aesthetic for the chanteuse. After a series of music videos marked by their retro melodrama (or tigers or A$AP Rocky or aged bikers), Lana del Rey might be moving towards the simple.
Christina Aguilera and Lana Del Rey both released collections of new music this week. Neither artist is a great diva in the neo-classic, pop sense of the word, but both have potential. To evaluate their diva status, I will shamelessly crib a comparative schism that Tyra Banks has routinely used on America's Next Top Model: each of them has what the other does not.
By the time Lana del Rey released her album Born to Die in January, the discourse around her had swirled hard enough that critics merely had to push back for an angle. Many of the reviews served as backlash to the backlash regarding her persona, her inadequacy as a performer, and her deeply frivolous lyrics. Some of the best (/-paid) thinkers about pop music responded to her antagonist, the Internet, to say that it didn't matter if she changed her name from Lizzy Grant and obscured the real her with "gangster Nancy Sinatra" posturing. The biggest sham in question wasn't del Rey but the entire notion of "authenticity."
It appears that 50-year-old Guns n' Roses frontman Axl Rose and 25-year-old Lana Del Rey are hanging out together at the same time in the same place. Ipso facto, they are dating. The pair were seen leaving mysterious L.A. laboratory Chateau Marmont before disappearing into the night to discuss all the ways in which drastically different parenting methods have impacted the Baby Boomers versus the Millennials. Or maybe vintage tees.
German publication B.Z. has shed some light on the apocalyptic coming together of the Manilow*, Manson, Del Rey trio, pictured together at the Echo Music Awards in Germany: Marilyn Manson and Lana Del Rey are dating. B.Z. is supposedly in possession of photographic evidence that the once-rumored Wonder Years star and forever-rumored self-fellating rocker is having hotel sleepovers with Lana Del Rey.