Video Games and Diet Mountain Dew never sounded so good

Lana. del. Rey. If you haven’t heard of her yet, I’m surprised. Her real name is Lizzy Grant. These days, her singer/songwriter moniker ‘Lana del Rey’ floods the latest music blogs, websites and publications from Stereogum to MTV’s Buzzworthy Blog.

She calls herself a “Gangster Nancy Sinatra.” Listening to “Kinda Outta Luck,” the comparison makes sense. The beginning of the track sounds like a song right out of the opening credits of a Quentin Tarantino film—Tarantino, who chose to use Nancy Sinatra’s recording of “Bang, Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” as the theme for Kill Bill Vol. 1.

Del Rey’s often languid songs serve as the perfect vehicle for her voice. Her lower register oozes with a sultry warmth, while her higher register is ethereal and despondent. Her deadpan look, long locks and heavy eyeliner call to mind both Old Hollywood and Warhol’s 1960s Factory-era girls. Her videos featuring scratched audio and film, washed out photos of L.A. and clips from old gangster movies and cartoons evoke the past. Her distinct delivery—laidback and effortless—push her straightforward, efficient lyrics and mundane subjects—her biggest hits include “Blue Jeans,” “Diet Mtn Dew” and “Video Games”—into a 21st Century indie genre.

She’s vintage. She’s modern. But can she live up to her potential and buzz? Before she was Lana del Rey she released an album under the name Lana del Ray, and before that, an EP as Lizzy Grant. Yet, the praise only surfaced this year. Maybe the right circumstances needed to transpire and 2011 just happens to be her year. Maybe she’s developed into a better artist. Or maybe, the team behind Lizzy Grant changed the “a” to an “e” and reinvented her into Lana del Rey and it’s just a matter of time before the indie gods turn against her. Regardless, her latest tracks seem promising. The rest we’ll just have to wait and see. Her debut album comes out this October.

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