The Radical Empathy of Lana Del Rey

Quinn Roberts at the LARB:

In Rolling Stone, Greil Marcus called “Venice Bitch” the greatest California beach record of all time. To Marcus, the nine-minute rock ballad was languid and delicate, its production reminiscent of Randy Newman, the Beach Boys, the heyday of ’60s psychedelia. “It opens like a love letter,” he wrote, “prosaic, direct […] then a little more than two minutes in it begins to swirl, and you could be listening to an affair that began years ago or has yet to start.”

According to the press, Lana Del Rey is changing — she’s grown-up, mature. She’s over the flower-crown stuff. For me, somebody whose affair with Lana began years ago, the recent praise comes as a great surprise. It seems like it was only yesterday that Pitchfork was comparing Born to Die to “a faked orgasm […] a collection of torch songs with no fire.” The critical notion of a “before and after” Lana is ultimately unrealistic. It fails to account for the tonal and thematic consistency of her oeuvre, which she has been fortifying since 2012.

more here.