Lana Del Rey rides her backlash all the way to a #2 premiere on the Billboard chart
There’s actually nothing out of the ordinary about the arc of Lana Del Rey’s recent controversial story arc: A budding starlet gets ridiculously over-hyped, she gets promptly torn to shreds when she fails to live up to the impossible standards of blowing everyone’s minds at every turn, and then, once we all start feeling a little guilty about how mercilessly we’ve ridiculed this poor kid for having achieved too much attention too fast, we start to forgive her, and maybe even propel her to a comeback whereby she’s redeemed by treated as “pretty good,” which is what she should have been called all along.
The only thing that really makes Del Rey’s story different from the trajectory of say, Britney Spears, is that most artists cram this arc into a period of years. They have time to ascend to superstar status and really crash hard. Lana Dely Rey seems to have crammed the whole thing into the span of six months, with all three parts—the ascension, the crash, and the redemption playing out before her debut record was even released.
Sure, Lana Del Rey never had time to shave her head and make a terrible TV show with someone like Kevin Federline, but her ascent also never had time to see her playing Super Bowl half time shows. She was just that almost obnoxiously attractive girl your hip friends and little cousins were all about, who somehow became the annoying brat that even Brian Williams was ripping on.
In spite of all the negative attention—or maybe because of it, everybody loves a good comeback story—Billboard announced today that “Born To Die” has debuted at number two on the Billboard Top 200 chart, right behind Adele’s “21.” (“Born to Die” sold 76,000 to Adele’s 121,000.) And speaking to her resonance with the blog world (and your younger cousins) her digital sales actually outstripped Adele’s, 56,800 to 31,600.
There’s something poetically appropriate about Del Rey neighboring Adele in the top sales spots. Here we have two women whose musical careers have played out to the accompaniment of loud criticism about their bodies—Lana Dey Rey is too typically pretty to be accepted without being accused of plastic surgery, and Adele, as Karl Lagerfeld so classily pointed out recently is “a little too fat” for his taste.
It can’t be easy to be famous in the way these two women are—but it also can’t suck to be rich and successful. Hopefully that’s some consolation and both of them will just take the money as we, the skinny-hating, fat-hating public, keep buying their records.