X Close

Lana Del Rey’s dissident femininity She embodies the dark underground of female experience

“The blank-faced, Xanax-induced composure” (Michael Kovac/WireImage)(Michael Kovac/WireImage)

“The blank-faced, Xanax-induced composure” (Michael Kovac/WireImage)(Michael Kovac/WireImage)


August 11, 2023   6 mins

It’s been quite a fortnight for Lana Del Rey. Last week, she was lauded as a “singer-songwriter laureate” and “the great American poet of the 21st century”. This week, she closed the Lollapalooza festival in the US by being physically dragged offstage.

As befits a woman who has made art out of channelling feminine archetypes, the show’s design was suitably saturated in oestrogenic imagery. The dramatic stage ejection in question was carried out while the star was recumbent on a full-length train, discarded from a wedding dress worn earlier in the set. She crooned out her first and probably still most famous hit song — the narcoleptic “Video Games” — while sitting on a giant swing covered in ribbons and flowers. Another number was sung while getting her hair and make-up fixed up onstage. There was even a scene involving a maypole. As one rapt reviewer put it: “Everything about the singer’s performance carried a delicate feminine touch that made you assured you were in safe motherly arms to feel all the emotions she conjured.”

Elsewhere this week, a much earlier version of Del Rey was also in the news. Images were discovered and gleefully circulated online of a young Lana — or Lizzy Grant, as she was before her professional name change — modelling ponchos for a knitting pattern catalogue. Fresh-faced and pink-cheeked, Lizzy cycles through some of the stock facial expressions of the catalogue model — demure, cute, proto-sultry — while gamely sporting a variety of tassel-heavy monstrosities. Though she doesn’t know it, ahead of her lies a totally distinctive musical path, a lot of kohl and back-combed hair, some astonishing songs full of rapture and disappointment, and several truly horrible takes by music critics. The pathos is palpable.

Knitting seems like a suitable metaphor for an artist’s creative trajectory — for there, too, you have to just keep going without catastrophically unravelling, until everyone can finally see what it is you were making all along. In the early stages of Del Rey’s career, barely anyone could see what the visually literate philosophy graduate with a beautiful voice was constructing.

Her sun-bleached, tearstained, drowsy West Coast sound was dismissed as pretentious pastiche. Her tremulous, dazed voice with its sensually sibilant diction — swooping from breathy to raspy to pure to the occasional throaty growl — was mocked as pitchy and inadequate. It was suggested that her act was wholly contrived by others; that she was artificially enhanced by plastic surgery; that she pretended for publicity purposes to have lived in a trailer park (she had, for a while) and her father was actually a millionaire (he wasn’t).

In his savage review of her first album Born to Die (2012), the New York Times’s reviewer began: “It’s already difficult to remember Lana Del Rey, but let’s try… That moll with the dangerous tastes in men and pastimes and the puffed-out lips and hair?… Yep, it was a pose, cut from existing, densely patterned cloth. Just like all the other poses.” The author concludes with barely suppressed triumphalism: “The only real option is to wash off that face paint, muss up that hair and try again in a few years. There are so many more names out there for the choosing.”

Luckily for us, though, Lana-who-was-once-Lizzy persisted. By the time of her album Ultraviolence (2014), with songs such as “Shades of Cool” and “West Coast”, she had perfected her persona of the somewhat sedated but still-devoted girlfriend, swooning at the recollection of kisses with beautiful boys destined to let her down. Just underneath the blank-faced, Xanax-induced composure lay a wave of archetypal female emotion and lachrymosity, surging towards whichever male with an attachment disorder currently occupied the sacred position of “my baby”.

This version of Lana adored her man, longed for him, looked after him, protected him. She was sweet, she was soft, she was all-forgiving. She got off ecstatically on the idea of herself with him, and the look of them together — his tattooed arms wrapped around her; the trappings of her own delicate femininity reflected back in the glint of his fierce eyes or the polished chrome of his motorcycle. She was even willing to pretend she didn’t care at all, just to keep him close.

To my mind, this version reached peak expression in the lushly orchestrated eponymous track of her album Honeymoon (2015), full of dramatic pauses, elongations, and mysterious, ecstatic incantations (“Dark blue… Dark blue”). By the time she languidly breathes out the climactic lines “There are violets in your eyes/There are guns that blaze around you/There are roses in between my thighs/And a fire that surrounds you”, the whole thing rivals Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet for tragic erotic intensity. Five years later, the singer responded angrily to a critic: “Never had a persona. Never needed one. Never will.” If this really is true, then quite frankly Del Rey must be the most stereotypically heterosexual woman who ever existed.

But this is not the stuff that critics now love her for. In fact, it’s the stuff they mostly still don’t know what to do with. On more recent albums, and particularly since Norman Fucking Rockwell! (2019),  Del Rey has complicated her previous limpet-like, ride-or-die presentation. She now manifests a more conventional and modern ambivalence towards the male sex — at least, sometimes. She has also become more maternal in her styling; less pouty, more seraphically sad and queenly in bearing and glances. And you can practically hear journalists breathing a sigh of relief.

The author of a recent tribute, for instance, talks glowingly about Del Rey’s recent albums and her kinship with Bob Dylan, Sylvia Plath, and Walt Whitman (“eternally constructing and destroying the ‘I’”), but not so much about the previous self-confessed kinship with Marilyn Monroe. Her first four albums are perfunctorily dismissed as showcasing a “much more conventional pop star… whose lyrics traded in self-aware stereotypes — fuck-me-daddy, glacé-cherry, Lolita-cum-Nancy-Sinatra pastiches”. The fantasy that Lolita-cum-Nancy-Sinatra pastiches ever counted as “conventional pop” in the 21st Century — and especially during years where Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Rihanna, and Nicki Minaj were Del Rey’s main chart rivals — speaks to the difficulty, for some, of assimilating the singer’s earlier output into their narratives of world-class artistry.

Previous commentators have also struggled to place Del Rey with respect to her swaggering, bombastic, “empowered” female contemporaries, singing about how exigent they are in bed or how they insist upon paying for all their own diamonds. For some more obtuse critics, this has meant that Del Rey’s work must be “anti-feminist” and “problematic”. In 2020, the artist defensively responded to such complaints, asking that the leniency shown to peers such as Minaj and Beyonce for hits “about being sexy, wearing no clothes, fucking, cheating etc” also be shown to her for songs about “feeling beautiful by being in love even if the relationship is not perfect”.  Predictably, this intervention from the star only created a further opportunity for smug chiding from female journalists about new perceived crimes — now allegedly including cultural appropriation and anti-blackness.

Yet when Del Rey covers her heroine Nina Simone’s desperate song “The Other Woman”, like Simone before her she is tapping into a well of primitive, hopeless longing that transcends skin colour. When, in “Video Games, she tells her lover with girl-child intonation that “You the bestest” and leans in for a “big kiss”, she is channelling the thrilled shiver of a sexy young woman who knows that her short skirt attracts more wolf whistles than anything she might have to say. The singer neither validates these feelings nor criticises them, but simply gives aural expression to what they are like from the inside — enhanced in the video by carefully selected visuals, mostly directed by her and her photographer sister, that draw on a wide repertoire of feminine guises from different times and places.

And the unease of commentators in response is striking. In the sort of world they would apparently prefer, songs by women artists monotonously boasting about sexual prowess, or about grinding in clubs for money, or about cynically using some hapless fool as a sugar daddy are perfectly fine — all good clean feminist fun for seven-year-old girls to use as twerking material in TikTok videos. But songs like Del Rey’s, authentically exploring the trade-offs between the agency and passivity, pleasure and pain lurking just underneath all such superficially “empowered” poses, definitely are not.

Sometimes, journalists try to recuperate Del Rey back into the mainstream feminist fold by representing her positive cultural value as demonstrating to the world the dark side of love, the better to help us “re-focus our agenda on the cultivation of self-love”. Some even like to present her as having been on a redemptive personal journey, making much of her having eventually decided to omit in performance a song lyric originally recycled for her song “Ultraviolence from The Crystals (“He hit me and it felt like a kiss”).

But Del Rey stands in no need of our redemption, for she has not transgressed. She has simply shown us what is the case — the ecstasy and the agony of sex, love, and loss for many women, young and not-so-young — and has transfigured it into art. She has been knitting these things together from the very beginning. We should continue to cherish this truthful messenger from the dark, tear-soaked underground of female experience — not in spite of her uncomfortably neutral presentations of unfashionable femininity, but partly because of them.


Kathleen Stock is an UnHerd columnist and a co-director of The Lesbian Project.
Docstockk

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

166 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
9 months ago

The antipathy toward Lana Del Rey’s music simply for not exuding the right amount of sneering contempt for men goes to show how hateful modern feminism has become.

RM Parker
RM Parker
9 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Agreed.
And anyone using “problematic” in its currently fashionable idiom is likely to receive a prolonged view of my back. It’s gone from being a serviceable adjective to more the weasel word of choice for the passive aggressive contingent.

David Hirst
David Hirst
9 months ago
Reply to  RM Parker

I always read ‘problematic’ as ‘I vaguely disapprove of this thing, but I haven’t the guts to say so explicitly, or the clarity of thought and expression to spell out what’s wrong with it. To make things worse, I enjoy using herd-following words, expressions and modes of thought.’ (such as the four-syllable heartsink I’m bitching about in this comment, futilely)

Peter Dawson
Peter Dawson
9 months ago
Reply to  RM Parker

I think in this context the use of problematical is reprehensible.

David Hirst
David Hirst
9 months ago
Reply to  RM Parker

I always read ‘problematic’ as ‘I vaguely disapprove of this thing, but I haven’t the guts to say so explicitly, or the clarity of thought and expression to spell out what’s wrong with it. To make things worse, I enjoy using herd-following words, expressions and modes of thought.’ (such as the four-syllable heartsink I’m bitching about in this comment, futilely)

Peter Dawson
Peter Dawson
9 months ago
Reply to  RM Parker

I think in this context the use of problematical is reprehensible.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Well OK – but some of the men in her songs genuinely are toxic but “she” loves them nonetheless.

The bigger fault of modern feminism is to see men in general, or “masculinity” as such as toxic.

RM Parker
RM Parker
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

True, default “toxicity” in men seems to be an ideé fixe for some people.

William Shaw
William Shaw
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Being able to quickly identify the feminists certainly helps when deciding who is worth interacting with.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Kathleen Stock is a feminist don’t you like her? Why has feminist become a dirty word? There are plenty who aren’t extreme.

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
William Shaw
William Shaw
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Given that the word feminist has become a toxic label for angry, man-hating harridans I’m surprised anyone would want to claim the title. Maybe they are under the mistaken understanding that feminism stands for fairness and equality of opportunity, things that everybody agrees with and no one is opposed to. In reality, equality and fairness are the veneer that feminism uses to hide behind. To understand what feminism really stands for is not difficult. There are many books on feminism which expose the true nature of the movement. Anyone who cares to can read them for themselves.

Ali Morris
Ali Morris
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

I don’t think it’s up to you as a man to tell feminists what feminism should be about. Why do you say we are trying to hide behind equality and fairness? What do you think we are trying to do? Your attitude sort of proves the point really. Men still telling women how to behave and think.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Ali Morris

Really well said Ali.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Really well said Ali.

Not really. Just trotting out something they’ve heard (herd) others say.

Anyone has a perfect right to debate on any subject whatever, regardless of skin colour, gender etc.

Besides feminism impacts on men as well as women, so men have an interest in the matter.

Now before you reply with a hackneyed feminist phrase, bear in mind that feminists are weighing in heavily on the trans debate. Why? Because they, and women, have an interest in the matter. It affects them just as feminism affects men.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Really well said Ali.

Not really. Just trotting out something they’ve heard (herd) others say.

Anyone has a perfect right to debate on any subject whatever, regardless of skin colour, gender etc.

Besides feminism impacts on men as well as women, so men have an interest in the matter.

Now before you reply with a hackneyed feminist phrase, bear in mind that feminists are weighing in heavily on the trans debate. Why? Because they, and women, have an interest in the matter. It affects them just as feminism affects men.

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
9 months ago
Reply to  Ali Morris

Tough

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
9 months ago
Reply to  Ali Morris

Feminism is a religion that informs the total configuration of society; and any human being has an obligation to address, comment, evaluate.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Ali Morris

Really well said Ali.

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
9 months ago
Reply to  Ali Morris

Tough

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
9 months ago
Reply to  Ali Morris

Feminism is a religion that informs the total configuration of society; and any human being has an obligation to address, comment, evaluate.

elaine chambers
elaine chambers
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Excuse me! Who gave feminism such a label? Ah you did.

Ali Morris
Ali Morris
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

I don’t think it’s up to you as a man to tell feminists what feminism should be about. Why do you say we are trying to hide behind equality and fairness? What do you think we are trying to do? Your attitude sort of proves the point really. Men still telling women how to behave and think.

elaine chambers
elaine chambers
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Excuse me! Who gave feminism such a label? Ah you did.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Everybody likes her – because her mind is open, she evaluates evidence honestly and uses reason clearly and openly. There’s very little rhetoric in her writing and she is able to look at a subject from more than one side. She writes in good faith.

Even if you don’t agree with her she is worth reading, and provides a genuine test for your own beliefs. I’m sorry, but in all that she is very unfeminist.

Last edited 9 months ago by David Morley
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

It’s so annoying when people say “sorry” before they express a point of view. What would you have us call our ourselves since “feminist” has become a dirty word?

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Maybe don’t. Just engage with the facts, the arguments and what other people say without a label. As soon as you adopt a label you start to become tribal and answer as you think a feminist should. We’re hampered enough in our thinking without laming ourselves with labels.

What sets KS apart is that she is truer to the spirit of philosophy than the spirit of feminism. That’s what makes her worth reading, and gets her respect across the board (a few fanatics excepted).

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Maybe don’t. Just engage with the facts, the arguments and what other people say without a label. As soon as you adopt a label you start to become tribal and answer as you think a feminist should. We’re hampered enough in our thinking without laming ourselves with labels.

What sets KS apart is that she is truer to the spirit of philosophy than the spirit of feminism. That’s what makes her worth reading, and gets her respect across the board (a few fanatics excepted).

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

It’s so annoying when people say “sorry” before they express a point of view. What would you have us call our ourselves since “feminist” has become a dirty word?

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Like is not the relevant word. Disagreement. It’s not the ‘extremism’ of feminism…..Feminism is the problem, mainly because it’s an extension of the billiard ball, individualist anthropological vision of humanity that informs all traditions of liberalism and socialism. Kathleen’s treatment by academia has been terrible. Her response has been brave and laudable. I wish her every success. But like Helen Joyce and others (Kelly JK excepted) she has not been willing to admit the extent to which the current lunacy is the logical extension of feminism. Rousseau, Engels, Kollontai, De Beauvoir, Firestone….Butler…..and now ‘critical gender theory’ – are all of a piece. She can’t reject trans politics without rejecting feminism at the same time….The reassertion of biology and of a vision of human beings as being forever ‘dependent rational animals’ is communitarian and traditionalist – and must be. It requires a complementary understanding of the sexes; sex linked to child bearing/rearing and the cultural reproduction of society; intergenerational families…..And it requires the Cartesian/Kerouac image of humans as perpetually mobile, transacting and ‘free’ – like some perpetual 1970s rock and roll road movie (‘Almost Famous’) – perpetual teenagers – to be rejected in favour of mutual obligation, mutual care, mutual identification and ….ultimately (I’m afraid) …..devotion to a transcendent God. Feminism comes from atheist materialism….and that has always been the problem

William Shaw
William Shaw
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Given that the word feminist has become a toxic label for angry, man-hating harridans I’m surprised anyone would want to claim the title. Maybe they are under the mistaken understanding that feminism stands for fairness and equality of opportunity, things that everybody agrees with and no one is opposed to. In reality, equality and fairness are the veneer that feminism uses to hide behind. To understand what feminism really stands for is not difficult. There are many books on feminism which expose the true nature of the movement. Anyone who cares to can read them for themselves.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Everybody likes her – because her mind is open, she evaluates evidence honestly and uses reason clearly and openly. There’s very little rhetoric in her writing and she is able to look at a subject from more than one side. She writes in good faith.

Even if you don’t agree with her she is worth reading, and provides a genuine test for your own beliefs. I’m sorry, but in all that she is very unfeminist.

Last edited 9 months ago by David Morley
Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Like is not the relevant word. Disagreement. It’s not the ‘extremism’ of feminism…..Feminism is the problem, mainly because it’s an extension of the billiard ball, individualist anthropological vision of humanity that informs all traditions of liberalism and socialism. Kathleen’s treatment by academia has been terrible. Her response has been brave and laudable. I wish her every success. But like Helen Joyce and others (Kelly JK excepted) she has not been willing to admit the extent to which the current lunacy is the logical extension of feminism. Rousseau, Engels, Kollontai, De Beauvoir, Firestone….Butler…..and now ‘critical gender theory’ – are all of a piece. She can’t reject trans politics without rejecting feminism at the same time….The reassertion of biology and of a vision of human beings as being forever ‘dependent rational animals’ is communitarian and traditionalist – and must be. It requires a complementary understanding of the sexes; sex linked to child bearing/rearing and the cultural reproduction of society; intergenerational families…..And it requires the Cartesian/Kerouac image of humans as perpetually mobile, transacting and ‘free’ – like some perpetual 1970s rock and roll road movie (‘Almost Famous’) – perpetual teenagers – to be rejected in favour of mutual obligation, mutual care, mutual identification and ….ultimately (I’m afraid) …..devotion to a transcendent God. Feminism comes from atheist materialism….and that has always been the problem

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Kathleen Stock is a feminist don’t you like her? Why has feminist become a dirty word? There are plenty who aren’t extreme.

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
elaine chambers
elaine chambers
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

And you would know David, would you not, exactly what the fault is with modern feminism, being a man. [snork]

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago

Elaine – if you have nothing to say, then say nothing. You’re just trotting out hackneyed retorts that add nothing to the debate and just make you seem silly.

Last edited 9 months ago by David Morley
David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago

Elaine – if you have nothing to say, then say nothing. You’re just trotting out hackneyed retorts that add nothing to the debate and just make you seem silly.

Last edited 9 months ago by David Morley
RM Parker
RM Parker
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

True, default “toxicity” in men seems to be an ideé fixe for some people.

William Shaw
William Shaw
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Being able to quickly identify the feminists certainly helps when deciding who is worth interacting with.

elaine chambers
elaine chambers
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

And you would know David, would you not, exactly what the fault is with modern feminism, being a man. [snork]

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Antipathy by whom?

RM Parker
RM Parker
9 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Agreed.
And anyone using “problematic” in its currently fashionable idiom is likely to receive a prolonged view of my back. It’s gone from being a serviceable adjective to more the weasel word of choice for the passive aggressive contingent.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Well OK – but some of the men in her songs genuinely are toxic but “she” loves them nonetheless.

The bigger fault of modern feminism is to see men in general, or “masculinity” as such as toxic.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Antipathy by whom?

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
9 months ago

The antipathy toward Lana Del Rey’s music simply for not exuding the right amount of sneering contempt for men goes to show how hateful modern feminism has become.

Graeme Archer
Graeme Archer
9 months ago

Professor Stock’s writing is so good that even when I couldn’t care less about the subject matter – pop music – I stay to the end and enjoy the ride. I’ve not enjoyed reading cultural essays this much since Camille Paglia’s heyday.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
9 months ago
Reply to  Graeme Archer

Spot on. She writes beautifully and I, like you, have little interest in this particular subject, Kathleen Stock regularly turns out essays that I find fascinating. I usually agree with her arguments but even when I don’t I reckon that it’s probably me that’s wrong.
Most of all, she seems to be a wonderful example of a feminist. If you mess her about she’ll have your b@lls (metaphorically) but always comes across as liking and caring for men (as well as women).

Victoria xx
Victoria xx
9 months ago

I love reading Kathleen’s work. I also love Lana Del Ray. Kathleen expresses what I know about LDR but cannot put into words.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago

Exactly. I hadn’t heard of Lana del Rey (I keep thinking it’s the beach town Marina Del Rey) but I knew Kathleen would make it interesting. She could write about baked beans and I’d be captivated.

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
Victoria xx
Victoria xx
9 months ago

I love reading Kathleen’s work. I also love Lana Del Ray. Kathleen expresses what I know about LDR but cannot put into words.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago

Exactly. I hadn’t heard of Lana del Rey (I keep thinking it’s the beach town Marina Del Rey) but I knew Kathleen would make it interesting. She could write about baked beans and I’d be captivated.

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
David George
David George
9 months ago
Reply to  Graeme Archer

Yes Graeme, she’s a treasure. Her and Mary Harrington, brilliant.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
9 months ago
Reply to  Graeme Archer

Spot on. She writes beautifully and I, like you, have little interest in this particular subject, Kathleen Stock regularly turns out essays that I find fascinating. I usually agree with her arguments but even when I don’t I reckon that it’s probably me that’s wrong.
Most of all, she seems to be a wonderful example of a feminist. If you mess her about she’ll have your b@lls (metaphorically) but always comes across as liking and caring for men (as well as women).

David George
David George
9 months ago
Reply to  Graeme Archer

Yes Graeme, she’s a treasure. Her and Mary Harrington, brilliant.

Graeme Archer
Graeme Archer
9 months ago

Professor Stock’s writing is so good that even when I couldn’t care less about the subject matter – pop music – I stay to the end and enjoy the ride. I’ve not enjoyed reading cultural essays this much since Camille Paglia’s heyday.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
9 months ago

Images were discovered and gleefully circulated online of a young Lana — or Lizzy Grant, as she was before her professional name change — modelling ponchos for a knitting pattern catalogue.
Anyone using one of said knitting patterns will end up with a serviceable and very real poncho, while the online world is a resolutely unreal blasted and howling wilderness populated only by dogs and ghosts. Kudos to Miss Del Rey for providing us with something real and useful, in addition to her music.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
9 months ago

Images were discovered and gleefully circulated online of a young Lana — or Lizzy Grant, as she was before her professional name change — modelling ponchos for a knitting pattern catalogue.
Anyone using one of said knitting patterns will end up with a serviceable and very real poncho, while the online world is a resolutely unreal blasted and howling wilderness populated only by dogs and ghosts. Kudos to Miss Del Rey for providing us with something real and useful, in addition to her music.

AC Harper
AC Harper
9 months ago

The Machine boosts the Machine narrative and criticises other narratives (or tries to squeeze them into the approved shoebox).
So Lana Del Rey is criticised for not following the Music Machine narrative – because journalists don’t know how to cope with someone outside the narrative.
You can probably remember others outside the approved narrative. Trump, Farrage, the Polish government, Giorgia Meloni, Liz Truss. It doesn’t always end in tears but they had a much harder task overcoming the Machine narrative.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
9 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

I’ll add another: “Sound of Freedom”. I saw it yesterday and the media hacks calling it various versions of “a right-wing Qanon wet dream” clearly didn’t see it. The soulless ghouls who run the narrative outlets were told to sneer at it, and so they obeyed.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
9 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

I’ll add another: “Sound of Freedom”. I saw it yesterday and the media hacks calling it various versions of “a right-wing Qanon wet dream” clearly didn’t see it. The soulless ghouls who run the narrative outlets were told to sneer at it, and so they obeyed.

AC Harper
AC Harper
9 months ago

The Machine boosts the Machine narrative and criticises other narratives (or tries to squeeze them into the approved shoebox).
So Lana Del Rey is criticised for not following the Music Machine narrative – because journalists don’t know how to cope with someone outside the narrative.
You can probably remember others outside the approved narrative. Trump, Farrage, the Polish government, Giorgia Meloni, Liz Truss. It doesn’t always end in tears but they had a much harder task overcoming the Machine narrative.

polidori redux
polidori redux
9 months ago

“Lana Del Rey’s dissident femininity. She embodies the dark underground of female experience.”
Well, there you go. Whatever sells records. I fear that Kathleen has invested too much in a pop singer. I understand: When I was a teenager, I thought that Bob Dylan had something to tell me. He didn’t. He just strung empty phrases together and allowed me to contrive meaning from that which was meaningless.

Last edited 9 months ago by polidori redux
Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Well, I hope your rabbits die. Bob Dylan has been contriving odd insights into the human condition since his late teens, and still does; and he continues to find unexpected melodies, rhythms and phrasings with astonishing creativity. In his 80s. Ok don’t go to his live shows now, but it’s a mistake to call his music meaningless, and I’m happy to see you outside about this.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
9 months ago

Completely agree. I thought “Murder most Foul” showed he still had something interesting to give us.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago

Well said.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
9 months ago

Completely agree. I thought “Murder most Foul” showed he still had something interesting to give us.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago

Well said.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the silver spoon
The hand-made blade, the child’s balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand, you know too soon
There is no sense in trying

polidori redux
polidori redux
9 months ago

I am familiar with the lines. They don’t mean anything. The penny dropped when I reached the grand age of twenty-one.

JOHN KANEFSKY
JOHN KANEFSKY
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

No need to be supercilious. You are not the arbitor of taste or meaning. So while they may not mean anything to you, but they do to others.
“Although the masters make the rules for the wise men and the fools, I’ve got nothing, Ma, to live up to.”

polidori redux
polidori redux
9 months ago
Reply to  JOHN KANEFSKY

It has nothing to do with taste.

JOHN KANEFSKY
JOHN KANEFSKY
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Says the man who writes (patronisingly, but presumably in all seriousness) “I fear that Kathleen has invested too much in a pop singer.”
Taste: the ability to discern what is of good quality or of a high aesthetic standard.

polidori redux
polidori redux
9 months ago
Reply to  JOHN KANEFSKY

Why are you getting so uptight? The job of a mainstream pop singer is put out a string or records that will sell. Aesthetic standards don’t come into it. If you find the songs fun then fine, but don’t pretend that there is anything more to them than that.
PS: If you really want poetic beauty: tragedy mixed with humour and what it means to be a woman in a man’s world, then buy a copy of June Tabor’s collection of border ballads: The Echo of Hooves. How such stuff came out of such a wild time and place is almost beyond comprehension, but it did.

Last edited 9 months ago by polidori redux
William Miller
William Miller
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Actually feel the hostility in your posts. Kettle and black.

polidori redux
polidori redux
9 months ago
Reply to  William Miller

There is no hostility in my posts.

William Miller
William Miller
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Uh huh.

polidori redux
polidori redux
9 months ago
Reply to  William Miller

Stop regarding disagreement as hostility.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

And you stop regarding disagreement as being “uptight”.

William Miller
William Miller
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Yeah, no. Your use of language shows you to be angry…calm ‘er down there fella, and to quote you, “stop!”

Last edited 9 months ago by William Miller
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

And you stop regarding disagreement as being “uptight”.

William Miller
William Miller
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Yeah, no. Your use of language shows you to be angry…calm ‘er down there fella, and to quote you, “stop!”

Last edited 9 months ago by William Miller
polidori redux
polidori redux
9 months ago
Reply to  William Miller

Stop regarding disagreement as hostility.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Oh please!

William Miller
William Miller
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Uh huh.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Oh please!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  William Miller

Exactly, Polidori is projecting onto your words which is exactly what one does with cryptic musical lyrics.

polidori redux
polidori redux
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

There is a difference between cryptic and meaningless.

polidori redux
polidori redux
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

There is a difference between cryptic and meaningless.

polidori redux
polidori redux
9 months ago
Reply to  William Miller

There is no hostility in my posts.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  William Miller

Exactly, Polidori is projecting onto your words which is exactly what one does with cryptic musical lyrics.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Well there you go that’s your taste! Because you like her doesn’t mean Dylan is bad.

polidori redux
polidori redux
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Calm down!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Criticizing me doesn’t invalidate what I’m saying..

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Criticizing me doesn’t invalidate what I’m saying..

polidori redux
polidori redux
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Calm down!

William Miller
William Miller
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Actually feel the hostility in your posts. Kettle and black.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Well there you go that’s your taste! Because you like her doesn’t mean Dylan is bad.

polidori redux
polidori redux
9 months ago
Reply to  JOHN KANEFSKY

Why are you getting so uptight? The job of a mainstream pop singer is put out a string or records that will sell. Aesthetic standards don’t come into it. If you find the songs fun then fine, but don’t pretend that there is anything more to them than that.
PS: If you really want poetic beauty: tragedy mixed with humour and what it means to be a woman in a man’s world, then buy a copy of June Tabor’s collection of border ballads: The Echo of Hooves. How such stuff came out of such a wild time and place is almost beyond comprehension, but it did.

Last edited 9 months ago by polidori redux
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Yes, it does. Everything does.

JOHN KANEFSKY
JOHN KANEFSKY
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Says the man who writes (patronisingly, but presumably in all seriousness) “I fear that Kathleen has invested too much in a pop singer.”
Taste: the ability to discern what is of good quality or of a high aesthetic standard.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Yes, it does. Everything does.

polidori redux
polidori redux
9 months ago
Reply to  JOHN KANEFSKY

It has nothing to do with taste.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I’s rather meanspirited of you. I have to accept that lines of lyrics and poetry rarely mean much to me, I don’t understand them, but they often sound great and that’s enough.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I agree that Dylan’s lyrics are ambiguous, which doesn’t mean the Lana Del Ray’s lyrics are. I can’t say that I’m very aware of her output but of the songs I have heard, I like. This contrasts with Taylor swift whose output is boring to my ears. There’s an otherness to Lana’s music. Lyrics – don’t care.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

What does any poem ‘mean’
It’s not reducible or literally descriptive.
Get back to your accounts and spreadsheets then.

polidori redux
polidori redux
9 months ago

My degree was in philosophy, not accountancy.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Well good for you. Can you be a bit more philisophical, then.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Well good for you. Can you be a bit more philisophical, then.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago

Hmmmm – there are certainly poems which don’t give themselves all at once. There are others which have an aura of profundity about them though their meaning is elusive (eg the Rilke line “beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror”).

But that leaves the possibility, much exploited in more pretentious pop music, of near meaningless lyrics, the non-existent profundity of which we are yet drawn to try and unravel.

Semolina Pilchards anyone?

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

It’s Alright Ma is not entirely open-ended, (I.e. meaningless). Its a broad satire of America’s burgeoning materialistic, individualistic consumer society at the time. Some of the lines are fairly clear, some are more allusive and interesting. It’s been quoted by Presidents, so it must have some rewards.

I Am the Walrus is more in the English tradition of Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll, than being simply ‘pretentious’.
It doesn’t require a degree in philosophy to understand it, but it does require a sense of humour

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago

I wouldn’t class It’s alright ma as meaningless anyway.

But I think we look for a level of profundity in some pop songs which they frankly do not contain, and their authors are actually not capable of.

But see my other posts. I enjoy good pop music – but it has become way too dominant in our culture to the exclusion of art forms which are much more capable of deep thought or expression. What, after all, can you say in three minutes.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

All art forms have become more commercial, particularly music.

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Or perhaps those which are less easily commercialised have fallen out of the cultural picture.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Exactly.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Exactly.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Or perhaps those which are less easily commercialised have fallen out of the cultural picture.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

All art forms have become more commercial, particularly music.

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago

I wouldn’t class It’s alright ma as meaningless anyway.

But I think we look for a level of profundity in some pop songs which they frankly do not contain, and their authors are actually not capable of.

But see my other posts. I enjoy good pop music – but it has become way too dominant in our culture to the exclusion of art forms which are much more capable of deep thought or expression. What, after all, can you say in three minutes.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

It’s Alright Ma is not entirely open-ended, (I.e. meaningless). Its a broad satire of America’s burgeoning materialistic, individualistic consumer society at the time. Some of the lines are fairly clear, some are more allusive and interesting. It’s been quoted by Presidents, so it must have some rewards.

I Am the Walrus is more in the English tradition of Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll, than being simply ‘pretentious’.
It doesn’t require a degree in philosophy to understand it, but it does require a sense of humour

Stacy Kennedy
Stacy Kennedy
9 months ago

Poetry may not be “reducible or literally descriptive,” but it should be meaningful. Stringing evocative lines together Willy nilly, isn’t enough.

Too often–I don’t say always, but too often–Dylan’s lyrics strikes me as an literary version of postmodern academese: it sounds impressive, but there’s no there there.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Stacy Kennedy

Oddly my mind was drawn to the post modern generator, an algorithm which generates post modern essays. One is drawn into them, and tries to decipher their meaning – even though they really have none, or have it by chance.

Last edited 9 months ago by David Morley
David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Stacy Kennedy

Oddly my mind was drawn to the post modern generator, an algorithm which generates post modern essays. One is drawn into them, and tries to decipher their meaning – even though they really have none, or have it by chance.

Last edited 9 months ago by David Morley
polidori redux
polidori redux
9 months ago

My degree was in philosophy, not accountancy.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago

Hmmmm – there are certainly poems which don’t give themselves all at once. There are others which have an aura of profundity about them though their meaning is elusive (eg the Rilke line “beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror”).

But that leaves the possibility, much exploited in more pretentious pop music, of near meaningless lyrics, the non-existent profundity of which we are yet drawn to try and unravel.

Semolina Pilchards anyone?

Stacy Kennedy
Stacy Kennedy
9 months ago

Poetry may not be “reducible or literally descriptive,” but it should be meaningful. Stringing evocative lines together Willy nilly, isn’t enough.

Too often–I don’t say always, but too often–Dylan’s lyrics strikes me as an literary version of postmodern academese: it sounds impressive, but there’s no there there.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I’m afraid I have to agree. I remember driving with friends in my twenties, listening to Dylan and thinking – a lot of this is just meaningless verbiage.

However, Tambourine Man, in contrast, is a great song.

William Miller
William Miller
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Listen to Jerry Garcia’s version of Tangled Up in Blue. Changed how I listened to Dylan.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxEsBAPleRY

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  William Miller

It’s a brilliant interpretation, makes it a whole other song. Both versions have merit.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  William Miller

It’s a brilliant interpretation, makes it a whole other song. Both versions have merit.

William Miller
William Miller
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Listen to Jerry Garcia’s version of Tangled Up in Blue. Changed how I listened to Dylan.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxEsBAPleRY

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

They mean whatever you want to project onto them that’s the whole point of art. The same with Leonard Cohen’s lyrics.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

If they don’t constrain the meaning that can be read into them, then they are literally meaningless.

And that is certainly not the whole point of art, not even of modern art.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Good point, but with modern art if it’s too obscure for the average person and has to be explained isn’t it meaningless?

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Not really – lots of things are too difficult for the average person to understand. Philosophy, quantum physics, as well as some art. It doesn’t follow that they are meaningless though.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Not really – lots of things are too difficult for the average person to understand. Philosophy, quantum physics, as well as some art. It doesn’t follow that they are meaningless though.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Good point, but with modern art if it’s too obscure for the average person and has to be explained isn’t it meaningless?

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

If they don’t constrain the meaning that can be read into them, then they are literally meaningless.

And that is certainly not the whole point of art, not even of modern art.

andy cramp
andy cramp
8 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Meaning? Why does it have to ‘mean’ something?

Last edited 8 months ago by andy cramp
JOHN KANEFSKY
JOHN KANEFSKY
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

No need to be supercilious. You are not the arbitor of taste or meaning. So while they may not mean anything to you, but they do to others.
“Although the masters make the rules for the wise men and the fools, I’ve got nothing, Ma, to live up to.”

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I’s rather meanspirited of you. I have to accept that lines of lyrics and poetry rarely mean much to me, I don’t understand them, but they often sound great and that’s enough.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I agree that Dylan’s lyrics are ambiguous, which doesn’t mean the Lana Del Ray’s lyrics are. I can’t say that I’m very aware of her output but of the songs I have heard, I like. This contrasts with Taylor swift whose output is boring to my ears. There’s an otherness to Lana’s music. Lyrics – don’t care.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

What does any poem ‘mean’
It’s not reducible or literally descriptive.
Get back to your accounts and spreadsheets then.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I’m afraid I have to agree. I remember driving with friends in my twenties, listening to Dylan and thinking – a lot of this is just meaningless verbiage.

However, Tambourine Man, in contrast, is a great song.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

They mean whatever you want to project onto them that’s the whole point of art. The same with Leonard Cohen’s lyrics.

andy cramp
andy cramp
8 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Meaning? Why does it have to ‘mean’ something?

Last edited 8 months ago by andy cramp
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago

Sad eyed Lady of the lowlands to name but one. Polidori is on shaky ground.

JOHN KANEFSKY
JOHN KANEFSKY
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

And Kenny Buttrey’s drumming on “Sad Eyed Lady” is close to perfection.

Last edited 9 months ago by JOHN KANEFSKY
JOHN KANEFSKY
JOHN KANEFSKY
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

And Kenny Buttrey’s drumming on “Sad Eyed Lady” is close to perfection.

Last edited 9 months ago by JOHN KANEFSKY
james goater
james goater
9 months ago

“It’s only people’s games that you’ve got to dodge”

polidori redux
polidori redux
9 months ago

I am familiar with the lines. They don’t mean anything. The penny dropped when I reached the grand age of twenty-one.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago

Sad eyed Lady of the lowlands to name but one. Polidori is on shaky ground.

james goater
james goater
9 months ago

“It’s only people’s games that you’ve got to dodge”

William Miller
William Miller
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I’m sorry, and you are….?

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Reluctantly I’ll enter this debate:

I think we have put way more weight on the pop song as a medium than it is capable of carrying. It’s a simple medium with relatively limited scope for development. I would say that Leonard Cohen has pushed it lyrically as far as it can go without sinking into pretentiousness or meaninglessness.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth listening to, it is, but don’t expect too much in the way of profundity (as opposed to mock profundity). The great shame of modern life is not that there is pop music – it’s that it has become so completely dominant as the medium people actually take notice of.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Well what do you mean by ‘profound’?
Is Erlkonig by Schubert profound?
It’s just a song about an elf King.
Certain of the more verbal songwriters can carry deeper poetic and lyrical traditions into their songs, and that’s fine. Cohen, you mentioned. Robert Burns was a songwriter, so it’s nothing new

polidori redux
polidori redux
9 months ago

Well, of course, it has been argued that Schubert was strictly middle-brow.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago

With any song we can ask – is there more to this than meets the eye? We are asking whether there is more depth to it than meets the eye. For example, we might wonder if “It ain’t me babe” is about America rather than simply about a girlfriend.

What I’m saying is that an illusion of depth can be created through lyrics that on the surface appear meaningless or just odd. Whether this is done consciously by the writer is unclear (Bowie used cut ups to create this effect) – what is clear, however is that fans go to great lengths to decipher them, or bask in a kind of reflected glory because they “get it” while others don’t. There is a kind of snobbism about it.

polidori redux
polidori redux
9 months ago

Well, of course, it has been argued that Schubert was strictly middle-brow.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago

With any song we can ask – is there more to this than meets the eye? We are asking whether there is more depth to it than meets the eye. For example, we might wonder if “It ain’t me babe” is about America rather than simply about a girlfriend.

What I’m saying is that an illusion of depth can be created through lyrics that on the surface appear meaningless or just odd. Whether this is done consciously by the writer is unclear (Bowie used cut ups to create this effect) – what is clear, however is that fans go to great lengths to decipher them, or bask in a kind of reflected glory because they “get it” while others don’t. There is a kind of snobbism about it.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

So true. Leonard Cohen said of his lyrics and poetry that since they were cryptic people were able to project onto them whatever they wanted to. I found that to be particulary true for me with The Stranger song. It became personal.

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

It’s true that if lyrics are too literal, too obvious in interpretation then they lose their appeal. But there really does have to be something there to interpret. Leonard Cohens songs are open to interpretation, but not infinitely.

Some, like Suzanne obviously, excel through their creation of a mood or atmosphere. And LC had a feeling for words which is genuinely rare in pop music.

Exhibit 1 – the last two lines in the following:

And he took you up in his aeroplane
Which he flew without any hands
And you cruised above the ribbons of rain
That drove the crowd from the stands

Last edited 9 months ago by David Morley
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

I meant to say that LC said of his earlier songs that they were empty and people could project onto them.I wouldn’t say that’s true of all of them and his cd The Future is certainly prescient. It’s hard to say if I have a fav but I find Jonathan singing ‘If it be your will” to be other worldly and tear inducing and of course ‘Hallelulah’ will be Leonard’s legacy if nothing else is.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

I meant to say that LC said of his earlier songs that they were empty and people could project onto them.I wouldn’t say that’s true of all of them and his cd The Future is certainly prescient. It’s hard to say if I have a fav but I find Jonathan singing ‘If it be your will” to be other worldly and tear inducing and of course ‘Hallelulah’ will be Leonard’s legacy if nothing else is.

David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

It’s true that if lyrics are too literal, too obvious in interpretation then they lose their appeal. But there really does have to be something there to interpret. Leonard Cohens songs are open to interpretation, but not infinitely.

Some, like Suzanne obviously, excel through their creation of a mood or atmosphere. And LC had a feeling for words which is genuinely rare in pop music.

Exhibit 1 – the last two lines in the following:

And he took you up in his aeroplane
Which he flew without any hands
And you cruised above the ribbons of rain
That drove the crowd from the stands

Last edited 9 months ago by David Morley
Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Well what do you mean by ‘profound’?
Is Erlkonig by Schubert profound?
It’s just a song about an elf King.
Certain of the more verbal songwriters can carry deeper poetic and lyrical traditions into their songs, and that’s fine. Cohen, you mentioned. Robert Burns was a songwriter, so it’s nothing new

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

So true. Leonard Cohen said of his lyrics and poetry that since they were cryptic people were able to project onto them whatever they wanted to. I found that to be particulary true for me with The Stranger song. It became personal.

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
Mark M Breza
Mark M Breza
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

The answer is blowing in the wind ?
Or maybe down on Highway 51 !
Bob already told you, it ain’t him babe.

Last edited 9 months ago by Mark M Breza
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Mark M Breza

Oh gosh one could go on forever! Such beautiful music. And what about Judy Collins and Joan Baez. I had the pleasue of interviewing Judy, she’s one of my favs who’s managed to keep singing thanks to vocal cord surgery. So many singers don’t know when to stop and become an embarressment.

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
9 months ago
Reply to  Mark M Breza

Oh gosh one could go on forever! Such beautiful music. And what about Judy Collins and Joan Baez. I had the pleasue of interviewing Judy, she’s one of my favs who’s managed to keep singing thanks to vocal cord surgery. So many singers don’t know when to stop and become an embarressment.

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Knight
Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
9 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Great artists channel something transcendental and for a while (actually quite a while) Dylan did. If you’ve lost the ability to connect with that, then you’re in a dark place imho.

polidori redux
polidori redux
9 months ago

No dark places, just because I don’t “connect” with Dylan.