Lana Del Rey’s unique singing style

Lana Del Rey onstage at the Bowery Ballroom in New York, Dec. 5, 2011. (Photo: NYTimes)
When it comes to writing and recording new songs, few pop stars are as dynamic as Lana Del Rey. Her latest album, Chemtrails Over the Country Club, was released just three months ago, but the lady has already announced a new one, Blue Banisters, expected out next July. It will be her 8th studio album. Two albums in a year make quite a performance.اضافة اعلان

With her special voice and a non-nonsense approach to songwriting and singing, Del Rey has succeeded in making a difference on the music scene, reaping countless awards and accolades, and in maintaining the momentum since her debut in 2010. How does she manage to innovate and please?

Is it still possible to compose music that sounds totally new, music like nothing done or heard before? Some scholars think seriously that it is not possible anymore, that by now every combination of the 12 half-tones that make a music scale (the Western scales at least) have been already explored and used in all imaginable ways, all styles considered.

So how do you make new music?

If what you have in mind is pure instrumental music, the challenge is huge, practically insurmountable. If you are thinking pop songs take heart, there is always a way, a workaround. Because songs, by definition, involve words and a human voice, it is relatively easy to add novelty with these two elements.

Lana Del Rey seems to have mastered the trick. The 35-year-old American singer is one of the most popular of the young generation and her songs have been at the top of the charts for the last 10 years. The music per se, alone, may not be outstanding, though it is always very pleasant, somehow in the mainstream pop repertoire, but her voice and the lyrics are what make the global result outstanding.

Del Rey has her own special way to say the words. They come out sweetly, softly, intentionally loosely, not sharply, not clearly. She does not care about prefect enunciation; again, it is intentional and what gives her singing a unique style, a distinctive romantic flavor, one that you can instantly, easily recognize. It has a strong appeal.

The wanted looseness is carefully studied, and it smartly hides the technical ability behind it. Lana Del Rey has an extended vocal range, and she can sing with a soft-jazz swinging tone or with a more solid pop accent. Her low notes are carefully crafted and carry genuine emotion. In the end it is hard to resist the charm, you are just too happy to keep listening.

Let Me Love You Like a Woman and Chemtrails Over the Country Club are two of the best songs on the album. The lyrics, another trick that the artist knows to put to good use, have been qualified as being “baroque” by critics. Indeed, Del Rey likes to sing about the pop culture of the 1950s and the 1960s, in a kind of retro style. It is more than simple reminiscing — besides she was not born in this time — but about the sweet melancholy and the beauty of things that have passed but to which we can still relate somehow.

It is hard to talk about Lana Del Rey without mentioning the third element that sets her apart from the crowd of young singers: the soft, slightly old-fashioned glamour of the songs’ videos. They are a significant addition to the appeal of her voice.

Listening to the album is a real pleasure, even if at times, if you play the 11 songs in a row, the music may sound monotonous, a bit repetitive. The beauty of Lana Del Rey’s voice is undeniable, the music is nice and soothing, the words make sense, are almost traditional, and they often talk about current social issues and lifestyle — one more way for the singer to innovate. The interpretation is genuine, free of the artifacts and the aggressiveness that are sometime associated with the existing acts on the pop scene. Let us see and hear what the album expected in July will also bring.

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