Tuesday 16 Sep 2014

Houston We Have A Problem….

And by “Houston” I mean Lana Del Rey.  After first hearing of Lana Del Rey I became a fan.  Kind of a different sound to her music.  Her voice was sultry and sexy.  Then I saw what she looked like and holy crap was she hot.  She was like Jessica Rabbit.  Her album comes out this month and she’s been picked on basically everyone’s list of breakout stars of 2012.  Sure her songs kind of sound the same, and sometimes they aren’t very strong lyrically but it’s still an overall cool sound and I enjoy listening to her music.  With all the hype surrounding Lana Del Rey and given that’s she’s always great to look at I was excited when I learned she was the musical guest on SNL last week.  I tuned in and after her first performance of her single “Video Games” my immediate thought was “Uh oh this could be trouble”.  Her performance was dull, boring and uninspired.  But still I gave her the benefit of the doubt.  I always thought her other two songs were better than “Video Games” anyway.  So I eagerly waited until she took the stage for the second time.  This time she went into my personal favorite of hers called “Blue Jeans”.  It’s got a great hook “I will love you ’til the end of time.  I would wait a million years”.  I like to pretend she’s singing this song to me sometimes.  Hey I get lonely so cut me some slack OK?  Anyhow her second performance may have been even more lack luster than her first.  Needless to say I was extremely disappointed.  Lana Del Rey has the stage presence of a 10 year old at her first dance recital.  She stood in one spot and barely even looked up.  I know it can be tough on a show like SNL but she didn’t engage the audience at all.  Her voice was, at times, all over the place.  I always thought there were certain people that you just can’t take your eyes off of when you see them live.  They have that certain “it” factor that is mesmerizing.  All Lana Del Rey really has going for her in that department is that she’s extremely good looking.  That’s great for a song or two but at the end of the day you need something more than that.  There are plenty of good looking people in music.  Lana Del Rey needs to work on her live act and fast otherwise her career will be over before it even starts.  Staring at the ground while singing mediocre songs in a mediocre voice isn’t going to cut it for very long.  I sure hope she gets it together because I do enjoy her music.  Until then I’ll just listen to the studio album.  The performance is below what do you think?

UPDATE: Since there was some debate over which performance was actually worse I posted both.

20 Comments

  1. figman says:

    t think you are being far too hard on her…but i also predict her music, regardless of her live performance issues, will not have much of shelf life. Enjoy her now, ‘cuz i am doubtful she will be around long.

    Reply
  2. Coach says:

    I’m confused with your use of the term “hard on”. How can you tell? I’m wearing a long shirt. You should read some of the articles I read about her boy people have been unloading. I think it’s a cool song and she’s kind of hot so I hope she sticks around. You’re probably right though Figman.

    Reply
  3. Lou says:

    Her second performance was not nearly as bad as the first. That being said, I’m being reminded of the music scene in the 5th Element. I didn’t care much for that dress either.

    Reply
  4. JoJo says:

    If she pushes her hair back one more time with her hands, I am going to have to buy a nice little sparkly barrette, place in the mail and send to Lana Del Rey c/o SNL. It is also kind of odd watching her try to hug herself and run her own hand up and down her thigh. Hmm, like she is almost feeling herself up. Awkward. Just awkward.

    Reply
    • Coach says:

      Haha that would be a nice investment. I agree she’s awkward on stage. She needs to vastly improve in that area and fast.

      Reply
  5. Jared says:

    Why does everyone feel like a front person of a band MUST engage the audience? I personally can’t stand it when the lead singer, (or anyone in the band) does silly stage antics, whether its putting their foot up on the monitor to look cool, or the utterly ridiculous “point to the crowd with the c’mere finger.” Does everyone really love it when Bono from U2 rants in the middle of a song about politics? I love the fact that she wasn’t “perfect”. Her vocal nuances that made some cringe were the same that made many perk up and listen/ watch even more closely. She’s the love or hate type, which is the best type of music out there. Who wants another boring pop superstar with auto-tune singing songs that were written by a bunch of “writers” who use the same generic musical formula for every song? Give me more artists like this with weird variety please, and open peoples minds to a world of music that is not all about stage performance, but about the sound, and the way it makes you feel on the inside. Go to concerts to hear amazing music, not for a lesson in politics, and certainly not to get pointed at and actually think that lead singer is pointing at you. And for god’s sake, the woman is gorgeous! All she has to do is stand there and look pretty and that’s all we should need from her stage presence…and the fact that someone with a cool style and unique vocal can make it on SNL gives some hope to the future and popularity of good music.

    Reply
    • Coach says:

      Well when I say engage the audience I don’t necessarily mean do the stereotypical “rock star moves” like you list here. Sometimes people do those things and I agree it comes off as cliche and forced. I also agree with you on the Bono political thing. I went to a U2 show and I had no idea what he was talking about. Made me feel stupid. I think it’s more of an “it” factor that great live performers have. Certain people you just can’t take your eyes off of on stage. Off the top of my head I think of Scott Weiland from STP (in his prime of course not so much now). There was a guy you just couldn’t take your eyes off of. He was a great front man. While I like Lana’s music something just fell flat for me on SNL. For me she didn’t sound all that great but maybe more importantly I didn’t believe what she was singing. It was as if someone grabbed her off the street handed her a mic and was singing Karaoke. On the album I kind of feel the emotion in her voice. She has emotional songs but live she didn’t convey that at least not for me. She even admitted the next day that it wasn’t a great performance and she chalked it up to nerves. I hope she’s right because the songs I’ve heard on her album sound cool (although a little similar) and I do like them. She needs to find a way to do what she does on the album live. Another major thing I do agree on is that she is pretty smoking hot. Oh and if she reads this it’s all a joke I’m not serious at all.

      Reply
      • Jared says:

        I know what you mean… and I do know that the majority of audiences enjoy a little bit of engagement. I wonder if anyone would go to see Bruce Springsteen if he wasn’t such an onstage personality… I guess it all depends on the type of music you make. Take Interpol for example… they were the most boring band to watch, but I saw them live once and it didn’t matter to me cause I like the music and didn’t care what they were doing onstage. On the opposite side of that, I saw Weird Al Yankovic recently, and if there was no stage show, I may have just walked out. So, basically all’s I’m saying is that certain music deserves a certain amount of audience engagement, and I do think that a band, or front person CAN have the “it” factor without being too over the top. I had never heard a Lana Del Rey song before this performance, so I had nothing to compare it to, and yes, I did think she fell a little flat, but I didn’t think it was so bad to cause such controversy. HOWEVER, with everything being said for and against her, in the end if you get asked to play SNL, your shit better be TIGHT!!!!

  6. ignacio says:

    she was fucking terrible!!! i really like her tunes and her voice, she did not deliver on SNL, she had a bad performance and unfort it was on national television.

    Reply
  7. Rob K says:

    In retrospect, “video games,’ was probably not a great choice to perform in that forum. As much as I enjoy the song, even if well-performed it is a bit slow for the uninitiated. But, it was her “big hit,” so you can’t necessarily fault her for trying. I agree, she did a better job on “Blue Jeans,” a song much better suited for SNL anyway, but she was still very awkward and shaky.
    Clearly, she was unprepared for a venue like SNL. And I’m torn – on the one hand, I have to wonder how SNL didn’t know that, despite the growing popularity of her very limited recording(s), she was not ready for a national audience – didn’t they check out her live performance? But on the other hand I applaud SNL for taking a chance on a less established/unproven artist – who, in fairness to them has created quite a stir on the Internet.
    A couple of other observations:
    1. I love that Brian Williams weighed in (even if it wasn’t meant for the record) with a very candid critique that took issue with his own network too. It simply adds to his credibility as a journalist (not to mention I love that he’s apparently an indie music fan).
    2. Juliette Lewis comes off as nothing more than a catty little school girl herself.
    3. Danielle Radcliffe scores points for his chivalry and fair point that as much or more of the criticisms of Lana’s performance on the web seem directed at factors beyond her performance.
    In the end, I like her sound. It’s fresh, sultry and haunting. I hope she recovers from this early stumble in her career.

    Reply
  8. Rob K says:

    oops… *Daniel (sorry)

    Reply
  9. April Steele says:

    Chris–I could not agree more! I liked her sound on the radio… and thought she looked beautiful! I was predisposed to love her…so I too tuned into SNL with high expectations. Her performance was so bad, I can see Kristen Wiig nailing a parody of it.

    If ever an SNL musical guest could have been better off with a lip synching scandal, Lana Del Rey is it! I hear she is also an aspiring model. She could have benefited from an outfit change as well to showcase her indisputable assets. Her performance was a lose/lose.

    Reply
    • Coach says:

      Thanks for the love April. I should inform you though that I am a completely different person than Chris Bro. I’m younger, cooler, and far better looking. Maybe I should put a disclaimer before these things or something. Thanks for reading.

      Reply
  10. Julie says:

    In fact, I am not going to weigh in on LDR’s performance, since everyone said about everything there is to say about her quirky, somewhat creepy performance.

    So here is my question: does anyone else find that vocals on almost ALL SNL performances is drowned out by the instrumentals. I know, you are going to tell me to turn up the volume to “11,” but no matter how I play with the TV audio, I am convinced that they don’t correct the mike levels properly for the TV listening audience. Your thoughts Coach and others, please?

    Reply
    • Coach says:

      Julie you hit on something I’ve thought for a long time and forgot to mention in my piece. SNL does a horrible job with the sound mixes. I remember watching McCartney on there one time and he got screwed. You are absolutely 100% correct. You’d think they’d be able to get decent sound people. Maybe it has something to do with being live but they have sound checks and stuff and on other TV shows the sound is fine e.g. Letterman and Leno. Great point though.

      Reply
  11. Timothy Guay says:

    A round of applause for your blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on…

    Reply
  12. Chris says:

    Thanks and welcome Timothy. Please share with us further thoughts.

    Reply
  13. Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I find It really useful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and aid others like you helped me.

    Reply
  14. Chris says:

    Thank you and welcome. Enjoy it all.

    Reply

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