There’s a ton of informed bitchiness about Lana Del Rey over at The New Inquiry. A certain… misapprehension of the phenomena. Or possibly they’re trolling and I’m feeling gullible, I can’t tell. It’s the New Inquiry!
But if I may shed a little light.
There are two levels of reality portrayed in the video. In one, “dead Lana” exists in her paradise as a queen, dodgy CGI tigers and all. In the other, she’s the Blonde In The Car, living out her ordinary material life, driven slightly off her rocker by the knowledge of her own mortality. She spins out version after version of Blonde In The Car: Lolita, the Other Woman in various forms, a series of roles she can play with ease because they are not real to her. It’s a dress up box of identities, a one person parade of potential beings.
And this is the secret of Lana Del Rey’s work: she is living as a person who is consciously certain of their own death.
You see this again in Ride – falling through space, insanely high risk behavior, living life as if it is a game with no stakes, no outcomes: nothing is real, and nothing matters.
“Who belonged to no one, who belonged to everyone… an obsession for freedom that terrified me to the point that I couldn’t even talk about, that pushed me to a nomadic point of madness…” there are hints that she actually did this, in some form, in the real world. Maybe.
She’s portraying the female Tyler Durden.
The young gnostic at war with the world.
Once you understand that nothing is real, that you will die, that everything is permissible, much comes. You can do anything, but not everything. You can get into, and out of, scrapes that would lose other people their skins. Having nothing becomes total freedom, and that nothing can include truth, identity, certainty, faith – even wisdom and knowledge can go, as the soul tries to bottom out the void.
That’s what’s happening in Lanaland. By the sound of the biography, she woke up hard, blew out, fell through space for a few years, and finally figured out how to dump the energy and the vision into the world, becoming a little more, and a little less than human in the process.
These things are not mysterious. You can get there from Jung, for example, but if you want the primer for our times, it’s Alan Moore’s Promethea.
There in the centre is Lizzie Grant, with her shattering gnostic insight throwing off sparks of identity as burning songs, entire people, lives, perspectives synthesized from the mythic fabric of America, given light by one young woman’s enlightenment.
Dreaming into the world of surfaces, she is, perhaps quite consciously, Babalon. All things to all people, utterly self-possessed, and here for herself: not you.