Friday, September 6, 2013

Is Lana Del Rey the new Bob Dylan? (And will you still be hungry after reading this post?)

Is Lana Del Rey the new Bob Dylan? It's a question that should be addressed, because there are definite similarities between the two.

Let's start with the names. There is no "Del Rey," just as there is no "Dylan." Ms. Grant and Mr. Zimmerman renamed themselves early in their lives, in preparation for their musical careers.

In addition, there's a current criticism of Del Rey that was also a common criticism of Dylan in the early stages of his career. Both of them are/were heavily criticized for their inability to sing.

There are certainly other parallels between the two, although Lana hasn't had enough time to systematically offend critical portions of her audience yet. Her Newport, her Nashville Skyline, and her Slow Train Coming have yet to occur.

I am forced to admit, however, that my opinion is not universal. There are those who claim that Lana and Bob are very different. See if you can guess who provided the following comments on Lana Del Rey:

Lana can be called a great songwriter, but not a great performer. There’s a big difference. The claims therefore of Del Rey's musical influence, are far greater than the actual influence.

Socially speaking, this occurs because Lana is one of those rare few, what I call, “bandwagon artists.” There’s a difference between actually liking an artist and being a bandwagoner. [Bandwagoners] jump onto and claim reverence to certain artists because so many others do; because it’s trendy to do so; because it’s uncool NOT to like them. Whether you actually like them or not becomes irrelevant.

In this scenario, people “like” what they “learn” to like from others. The social psychological term for this is called social proof. To be [a part] of the in-group, people become motivated to embrace the fanaticism that surrounds other bandwagon fan's claims of transcendent influence and greatness. This phenomenon then snowballs over time rendering the claims of this profound “influence” to be mathematically inflated and logically overrated.

The answer to my question? No one provided those comments on Lana Del Rey. Tom Leu, however, did provide extremely similar comments in an item entitled Is Bob Dylan overrated?

So perhaps those parallels are pretty deep and bear some consideration. (And her version is closer than Axl's.)

Alex Klinger has considered this issue (although I disagree with his claim that "not many people talk about" Dylan's embellished biography). But Klinger does offer a relevant comment on the issue of authenticity that has dogged both artists:

You are turning away from something you naturally really liked because it might not be entirely authentic. Do you know how many awesome mexican restaurants are not entirely authentic? EVERY SINGLE ONE IN AMERICA.
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