Point of fact: I am a hipster and a poseur. Initially, I was skeptical. True, I wear tight pants, ride a fixed-gear bicycle and listen to a lot of "underground music," but there's a reason for that: I wear tight pants because they highlight my ripped butt cheeks, which resemble piles of beefsteaks due to all the bicycle-riding I do on my fixie, which I, of course, ride because I like to work on bikes, even though I don't understand brakes or gears. And I listen to underground music because it's my job. Nevertheless, these things I do are things that hipsters are known to do, and the internets have thus declared it so.
So, okay, I'm a hipster. Except the thing, the internets further assert, is that no hipster would ever admit to being a hipster, so to admit to being a hipster makes me something much worse: a poseur hipster, which is the height of poseurdom, because hipsters — whose uniform pursuit of authenticity is conformist and therefore phony — are already poseurs. So I'm pretty much, like, a double-secret poseur.
At any rate, given how hard it is to be either a hipster or not a hipster, I've lately been sympathizing with Lana Del Rey, who's been an object of scorn for being a possible hipster/poseur for several months now. A couple of years ago, the story goes, she was Lizzie Grant, a blond indie artist with a video on YouTube ("Kill Kill") that nobody watched. Then she dyed her hair, possibly got collagen injections and became Lana Del Rey, an indie artist with two videos on YouTube ("Video Games" and "Blue Jeans") that a shitload of people watched. Then she did some shows in Brooklyn, and hipsters liked her until they found out that she used to be Lizzie Grant — and also that her father is a record exec.
Lana Del Rey
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
The accusation: She "reinvented" herself to get some hipster cred, and maybe that's true. But if Lana Del Rey is a hipster-poseur, the evidence will show that at least she's basically always been one. The videos, before and after the name change, all traffic in the same hushed Rhodes-heavy balladry and share the same vintage-stock-footage aesthetic. (Honestly, of the three, "Kill Kill" is probably the most interesting.) But they're all pretty solid. Even her much-derided recent Saturday Night Live performance — the aftermath of which prompted everyone from Brian Williams to Juliette Lewis to proclaim she sucked, and everyone from Harry Potter to, weirdly, Juliette Lewis to come to her defense — was not that bad. A little shaky, but not bad.
Then again, whether the music is any good is hardly relevant. Nor is the hair dye or the name change. The question here is whether Lana Del Rey has an unfair hype advantage because she's rich — and the answer would be "definitely," except that, in a fittingly ironic twist, the haters have done the hype-work for her with their very hating.
So maybe it's good to be a hipster-poseur. But just in case it's not, I'll be drenching myself in AXE and putting on double polos for the frat party I'm hitting later. But just in case it is, I'll be doing it ironically.