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Sophia Dumaine

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Lana Del Rey's Sound Is Both Vulnerable and Feisty

Posted: 09/16/2011 1:25 pm

In her new single being released on October 17th "Video Games" and its B-side "Blue Jeans", Lana Del Rey, a rising star in the folk, indie-rock scene, sings dreamily of youth, summertime boredom, sex, and nostalgia in a slightly edgy, heartfelt fashion. She suggestively sings: "I'm in his favorite sun dress, watching me get undressed, take that body downtown" at the same time exalting her love for this guy: "Heaven is a place on earth with you." But the relationship proves young and amateurish too when she interjects: "Go play a video game." In the background, a sweeping orchestra accompanies her velvety voice, the harp and string section standing out most prominently. The sinewy sound of the harp in particular adds depth and an extra layer of pearly sentiment to her already sultry and moving voice. The music video she produced to accompany "Video Games" -- she writes all her own songs and produces her own music videos -- is vintage Americana skateboarding chic with a slight Lolita/young femme fatale theme running through it.

Del Rey's gospel sound funneled into a folk medium produces an incredibly beautiful timber that is both vulnerable and feisty, dulcet and hard edged. Her vocal quality has a twinge of huskiness and a lot of ping reminding us of Joan Baez's round, rich, feminine, yet stolid sound. Her tone is extremely powerful and convincing, the notes flowing gracefully. "Video Games" is a totally different sound from her single "Kinda Outta Luck" released earlier this year, which has a slightly less sophisticated, more girl-band sound. Word has it that she is currently working on a full-length album, which, if anything like her new single "Video Games" looks to be highly promising. Popular music blogs are lionizing this talent.

Like Lady Gaga, who was accepted by the Juilliard School in Manhattan at age 11 to train as a classical pianist but instead decided to study on her own and composed her first song at the age of 13, Del Rey got formal training at an early age. She started singing gospel in middle school and began performing in various school choirs in Lake Placid, New York while growing up. Early on she picked up vocal skills and an understanding of musical techniques that transcend genre and add an entire level of depth. Her music is catchy, and like Lady Gaga's, I know will be quite successful.