Who is Lana Del Rey? Is she Lizzy Grant, Sparkle Jump Rope Queen, or one of the other pseudonyms that she used while performing in New York city clubs only several years ago? Questions about Lana’s authenticity reached a fever pitch in 2012, with some decrying what they saw as her corporately constructed version of hipsterdom, and even questioning the integrity of her body. With the beautifully lush video for her latest single “Ride,” Lana indirectly addresses speculations about her shifting identity, while offering a visual love letter to America and a barely-veiled description of the lonely transient touring life of a newly minted pop starlet
In the languid monologue that opens the video’s shots of neon“lit urban decay and sun-stroked open highways, Lana describes being “a singer, not a very popular one, who once had dreams of becoming a beautiful poet,” and laments how “there’s no use in talking to people who have a home; they have no idea what it’s like to seek safety in other people, for home to be wherever you lie your head.” Though Lana isn’t really playing herself in the video, the gist of her moody soliloquy is clear: being a pop star who is constantly on the road can be lonely and sad, even as all of your supposed dreams are becoming real. Over the course of the video, she appears as a drifter, biker, killer, and lounge performer; she floats through a vast sprawling American landscape that is as varied as her own identities. A rebellious biker girl on the western freeway, an enigmatic chanteuse onstage, and a lonely transient on the dirty city streets, Lana changes with each new locale. She is all of these people, and in being so, is none of them fully. She is neither Lizzy Grant, nor Lana Del Rey, nor her earliest incarnation as May Jailer, but a nebulous entity who can perform whatever role is desired of her. After all, this is exactly what pop stars do, and it is America and its endless sense of possibilities that lets them do it. E pluribus unum: out of many, one. America is truly one nation, under pop. “I believe in the country America used to be. I believe in the person I want to become,” Lana intones towards the end of the video. Thanks, Lizzy. It all makes sense now.
Lana fans: check out OurStage artist Sheila Star for more sultry pop tunes.
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Having the last name Star bodes well for a music career. Let’s see, there’s Ryan, Mazzie and Ringo to name a few. In time, you may see the name Sheila Star on that list of illustrious musicians. The San Francisco-based singer-songwriter is already active in Bay Area songwriting circles, penning lustrous piano pop that’s seductive and punchy. Keeps Me Alive starts with a somber piano intro before the beat snaps in and transforms the track into a sexy, soaring pop ballad. Star’s breathy vocals bring a feline quality to her songs. In Addiction she coos Every day and every night, yeah it gets me high, adding some headiness to the song’s squelching groove. Bad Dream is pure piano swagger where Star struts around in her bad girl persona: The devil himself he took the good out of me. We think there’s plenty of good to be found, especially if you like your good to break bad sometimes.
The OurStage “Kick Up The Keys” Competition launched headfirst from the gates, ready to out the slickest ivory ticklers the world has ever seen. The tunes were so good, we couldn’t quite contain ourselves. As a result, this month’s theme playlist the largest we’ve ever made. Sixteen tracks fit to shake the nerves and rattle the brains of Jerry Lee Lewis himself are all yours for the taking. We sure you hope you enjoy them as much as we did. Cheers.
1. Amy Kuney “ “Appreciate Your Hands”
2. Bella Ruse “ “Gumption & Guts”
3. Brad Fitch “ “Worst Holiday”
4. Elise Lieberth “ “Bicycle (You Never Forget)”
5. The Getaway “ “The Wolf (Need You Here)”
6. Green To Think – “Prisoner Of War”
7. IV Elmendorf “ “It’s Over”
8. Jenn Cristy “ “You Don’t Know”
9. Jesi Kettering “ “I Fell In Love”
10. Joy Ike “ “Eat It All Up”
11. Julie Slonecki “ “More Than Space”
12. Parachute Musical “ “Back To Life”
13. Sheila Star “ “Keeps Me Alive”
14. Ty Mayfield “ “19 To 2″
15. The Working Hour “ “Stay Here”
16. Andrew Varner “ “Autumn Leaves”