Lana Del Rey: Anti-Feminist?

While discussing her upcoming album Ultraviolence, Lana Del Rey tells The New York Times that she does not feel relevant enough to discuss feminism

A recurring criticism was that her songs about being swept away by love were anti-feminist in their passivity; she contends that she was writing about private, immediate feelings, not setting out doctrine. “For me, a true feminist is someone who is a woman who does exactly what she wants,” she said. “If my choice is to, I don’t know, be with a lot of men, or if I enjoy a really physical relationship, I don’t think that’s necessarily being anti-feminist. For me the argument of feminism never really should have come into the picture. Because I don’t know too much about the history of feminism, and so I’m not really a relevant person to bring into the conversation. Everything I was writing was so autobiographical, it could really only be a personal analysis.”

She has also been denounced for video clips that culminate in her death: by drowning, by falling, by choking. The video for “Born To Die” ends with her in a boyfriend’s arms, inert and covered in blood. She agrees that her videos have often been “exploring ways to die,” she said, adding: “I love the idea that it’ll all be over. It’s just a relief, really. I’m scared to die, but I want to die.” The title song of “Ultraviolence” ventures into precarious territory. In an arrangement that melds Baroque dirge and wah-wah guitar, the singer describes herself as “filled with poison but blessed with beauty and rage,” and goes on to quote a fraught 1962 song from the Crystals, “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss).”

The lyrics also mention a “cult leader,” and Ms. Del Rey said the song looked back to a time soon after she moved to New York City, when she considered following a guru who “believed in breaking you down to build you back up again.” “It sounds kind of weird,” she added, “but that is what it’s about, and having romantic feelings entwined with the idea of being led and letting go and surrendering. That’s always a concept to me, like I’m wavering between independence and falling into lifestyles and being led.”

There’s an underlying pattern to the songs throughout “Ultraviolence”; Ms. Del Rey’s voice appears alone and often fragile in the verses, then is swarmed by instruments and multiple backup vocals. “Each tune fully represents the ebbs and flows, the periods of normality mixed with this uncontrolled chaos that comes in through circumstances in my life,” she said. “It’s your story. If you’re the one writing it, you want to tell your story right.”

Full article at source: The New York Times