Turning to new (old) music

If you haven’t noticed by now, I have a slight obsession with Lana Del Rey. In essence, I can’t get enough of her. While her album wasn’t exactly a critical favorite, I keep listening to it. I have it on in my car, my computer, my phone. Not only do I love her music, but I am fascinated by her sense of style and the creative aspects she incorporates into her music videos, especially the self-produced “found footage” ones that appeared on YouTube almost a year ago.

Lana Del Rey, my one and only.

However, here’s the thing with Lana Del Rey: nothing else in my music catalog would point to me being obsessed with her. (Because, let’s face it, this is probably more than just a slight obsession. She was even my desktop for a while.) I tend to listen to a strange mix of alternative rock and mainstream rap, and then Lady Gaga. Lana breaks what is probably considered “typical” for me.

But I was recently reading an article where Lana was interviewed in the newly designed Spin magazine, and I realized something about Lana and why I love her. Lana fits in perfectly with the vintage style but in a new way. Instead of just wearing vintage, she adapts it. She modernizes it. As she says in the interview in Spin, “I’m a modern woman. I went to college. I write my own songs.”

And therein lies the key: Lana’s music is reminiscent of the sixties, but a close listen reveals how she’s adapted it to 2012. It has a vintage feel tinged with warmth, and that’s all well and good just on its own. But it also incorporates samples and heavy beats, sounds that aren’t noticeable at first yet that make the music accessible for this twenty-first century audience.

Lana isn’t the only one who’s pulled this off, either. Granted, Lana is who I’ve been listening to (“National Anthem” is seriously my jam right now), but there are a number of artists who have figured out that going vintage isn’t just what you wear and playing cover songs.

Adele is a great example of another artist who went to her musical roots and made it mainstream. Adele’s croons also certainly go back to the 1960s, and her style does as well. Look at the updos at any given time! But the music remains upbeat enough, and with enough modernization in the lyrics, that it stays accessible. It doesn’t bore, even though a lot of people might see that it has the potential to do so.

Our generation seems to be yearning for anything vintage it can get its hands on. We have our vintage clothing, whether it’s from Forever 21 or ModCloth or Goodwill. We have our vintage hairstyles, just like Adele, and our vintage makeup. Plus, our smartphones have found ways to go vintage – don’t even get me started on Instagram. Those filters? Automatic vintage in less than five seconds, no kidding. It’s like your pictures were all taken in the sixties – even though they weren’t! So there is certainly a yearning for the vintage in this day and age, and a small group of artists has figured out how to hone in on that specific need.

Not that I’m complaining, of course. Lana’s my girl. Her album is probably going to be the soundtrack to my summer, and it will definitely be the soundtrack to my finals week. Plus, she may or may not be dating Marilyn Manson, so I have that whole saga to follow, too! I’m excited.



Images of Lana Del Rey courtesy blur95.

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