It’s the breathless, and less-than-substantial, analysis of what makes her music great that alienates me. The equally breathless but also pitiless criticism now being heaped on her comes from the same place, and should be equally alienating. Hype is the megaphone for our basest tendencies. We can’t just “like” something. It needs to be the most meaningful experience ever. Likewise, we can’t dislike something. It must be destroyed.
To say we’re not in it for the long haul with these artists is an understatement; they are disposable, commercial commodities for our enjoyment, and the moment the smallest human error besmirches their perfect hype we feel entirely justified moving on to the next singer-songwriter with a copy of Final Cut Pro and GarageBand. In a way they did it to themselves. In another, more accurate way, we’re happy to do it to them.
Maybe this is a reverse-Snarking Lot, an attempt at real empathy. Maybe yet another article about how hype sucks is redundant. But the only person who is never accountable in the hype equation is the listener, the consumer, the person who can say “This is all for me, to do with as I will.” With social media, the reaction to Del Rey’s performance has grown from curiosity to schadenfreude. I don’t like Lana Del Rey’s music very much. But today, for Lana Del Rey the person rather than Lana Del Rey the product, I feel pretty bad.