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Lana Del Ray's haunting music was born to live

When Lana Del Rey emerged as one of the breakthrough acts of 2012, with her debut album Born to Die reaching No1 in the US, UK and here, it all seemed a perfectly straightforward affair.

Here was a female artist who'd really connected via an excellent video for the song Video Games, an undeniably affecting song which evoked an eerie, haunted atmosphere and wouldn't have sounded out of place on the soundtrack for Twin Peaks.

RUMOURS

Indeed, Del Rey herself looked like she could have played a doomed heroine in some dystopian Lynchian creepfest, but just as the album was about to be released rumours began to circulate that she was some sort of fake.

The internet – where else? – began to froth away with notions that she wasn't all she appeared to be and had been 'manufactured' by a major record label. Dear God, where have these people been for the past half-century of popular music?

It transpired that the exotically named Lana Del Rey was, in fact, one Elizabeth Grant who'd changed her name, gone to a very posh school and had been helped in some way by the fact that her father had been a hugely successful advertising executive. Big deal.

What Del Rey did was nothing that hasn't been going on since Dino Crocetti and Anthony Benedetto reckoned that they'd get further as Dean Martin and Tony Bennett.

If people were to get upset over artists reinventing themselves then Bob Dylan, David Bowie and Elton John – not to mention several rappers who've rather overegged their 'street' credentials – would never have got off the mark, while half the breakthrough acts in the UK in the past two years have been to fee-paying schools. So what?

An artist's origins, social status or whether they've used connections to get ahead doesn't really matter at the all once the final product is interesting and worthwhile.

On that score, Born to Die does rely somewhat on repeated use of particular tricks but for the first half of the album anyway those tricks do work. And that's all that matters.

Lana Del Rey plays Vicar Street on Sunday and Monday > George Byrne


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