They all sell out. Lana Del Rey’s just got there at full throttle

This is what happens when the passion for money and fame supercedes the passion for music.


The road to music stardom is littered with savage traps. At any moment, the toast of the charts might be stymied by The Difficult Second Album or sunk by The Politician’s Endorsement. The most savage of all traps, though, the torpedo to all credibility, is The Sell-Out.

This is what happens when a musician, usually of an indie bent, betrays his or her “roots” and gets into bed with big business. Witness Lana Del Rey, the sultry singer who emerged last summer, seemingly straight from a 1950s B-movie, with a lo-fi, fuzzy video on the internet. This week she was photographed draped glossily across the bonnet of a sports car she had been paid to promote at the Paris Motor Show.

She caressed the scarlet bodywork with nails painted to match. And then she performed her new song, also the soundtrack to the commercial, with the chorus, “I drive fast, wind in my hair/I push you to the limits/’Cause I just don’t care” for assembled VIPs. How crass, how uncool, how dare she? In fact, Del Rey’s move from underground sensation to extrovert sell-out is not quite as simple as that. When she first appeared she was fêted as an undiscovered siren making music in her hipster attic. As the YouTube hits racked up, the truth emerged. Had she been another manufactured industry poppet all along? By that time, she had already hoodwinked millions into liking her music so it didn’t matter.

And that’s the point. It doesn’t seem to matter. No one has stopped dancing to “Lust for Life” because Iggy Pop peddles life insurance in his dotage. The Smiths still evoke delicious melancholy more than images of John Lewis Christmas jumpers. Bob Dylan, who shills everything from Starbucks to Victoria’s Secret, remains the most sacred of musical cows.

The music endures even if the musicians lose their sheen. Most stars set out on the road to Sell-Out the moment they sign their record deal, which is, after all, getting into bed with big business to sell their songs. Del Rey has just made the journey a little faster, a little more unashamedly, than most.

* Have you read it yet? You must have bought it? Or at the very least put it on your Amazon list? It’s been a quiet little launch campaign but JK Rowling’s new novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy, was finally published this week. And as it crept coyly onto the shelves it brought with it an all-too familiar pang of anxiety. It’s 50 Shades of Grey all over again. Here is another bumper (512 pages!) book, I don’t particularly want to read but now feel compelled to read in order to have an opinion on it.

I made the mistake with 50 Shades of not reading it. The ensuing wall-to-wall chatter was like being penned in the corner chair at a book club I never meant to go into the first place, with no way of reaching the door. There is, it turns out, nothing more boring than hearing other people talk about a book you haven’t read yourself. All the hullabaloo is great news for the publishing industry, of course, but it was far more pleasurable when one could simply choose to read a book because it sounded good, rather than because it was big news.

But this is the new era: the must-read has been replaced by the must-I read? and it’s high time I started on my Rowling homework. Twitter: @alicevjones

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Assistant

£17900 - £20300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An enthusiastic Marketing Assis...

Recruitment Genius: Chef / Managers

£24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This contract caterer is proud ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Health & Safety Consultant

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic and exciting opport...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, arrives with his son Prince George at the Lindo Wing to visit his wife and newborn daughter at St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington, west London, Britain, 02 May 2015  

Prince George's £18,000 birthday gift speaks volumes about Britain's widening wealth inequality

Olivia Acland
Nicky Clarke has criticised the Duchess of Cambridge for having grey hair  

Letting one’s hair turn grey would be the most subversive Royal act

Rosie Millard
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'