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Lana Del Rey – Video Games EP

Who or what is Lana Del Rey ? Does this sultry and coquettish singer represent the resurgence of old style Hollywood allure, a sort of Lauren Bacall for the Twitter generation ready-made to soundtrack David Lynch films?

Alternatively, is this just pure Valleys Of The Dolls pastiche, all cosmetically enhanced plastic lips and big wigs with the hint of some scheming pop Svengali in the background, representing little more in musical terms than ‘Barbie Duffy’.

We know that before Lana Del Rey had the make over there was just plain old Lizzy Grant of Lake Placid, New York. We also know that ‘Video Games’ and its ubiquitous video full of Eisenhower-era American imagery has been viewed by millions and has generated so much noise on the internet that it has been almost deafening. Everyone has an opinion on Ms Del Rey and the record executives at Stranger Records must think Christmas has come early.

But what about the music on this extended EP? Well, the one non-‘Video Games’ song on this EP, namely ‘Blue Jeans’, is frankly little more than Chris Issak-lite and based so obviously on the ‘Wicked Games’ template that it’s almost a cover. We then have 3 versions of ‘Video Games’.

You could of course not stop there and access one of the many other remixes across the internet employing a variety of style and, in the case of ‘Club Clique For The Bad Girls’, a disco dance mix. The nine minute plus Mr Fingers mix on this EP is in the same orbit, and while it might sound great watching the sun crashing into the Mediterranean from the blissed-out isle of Ibiza it goes on far too long.

Equally, the Omid 16B remix is one of those where the producer has not quite managed to integrate the vocals into a heavy dub style mix and is completely disposable. Thus, we are left with the main course, the original ‘Video Games’, and sadly for Lana Del Rey she will never record a song again that matches this in terms of impact or melody.

By the time her album comes out we will be either be bored senseless of her or she will be so mainstream that shoppers will drop her into the supermarket basket by the bucket load. And yet ‘Video games’ represents the best mainstream ballad recorded in 2011 and sits in that rare line of songs that absolutely arrive at the right time and define the Zeitgeist.

In the same way that Sinead O’Connor ‘s cover of Prince ‘s ‘Nothing Compares To U’ exploded on release with a tearful video to match, so does Lana Dey Rey’s ‘Video Games’ touch a cultural nerve with its pouty glamour and seemingly perfect fit for recession hit times. In the last analysis and in the best traditions of pop music it is completely disposable and time-limited, but also utterly brilliant all the same.

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