After the American Idol appearances, countless magazine covers, and gigantic H&M billboards, it seems ridiculous that anyone ever had an argument about the indie cred of Lana Del Rey, or whether indie cred even mattered. Despite her Pitchfork-fueled rocket launch into the public eye, it's clear now that she's a much more natural fit in the gigantic mainstream overworld of pop music than some "authentic" singer-songwriter reimagined as a gangster Nancy Sinatra. We argued for so long about who she was and what was important, and the answer in hindsight was: none of it. The LDR machine would continue its upward inertia, regardless of the consensus of our thinkpieces, and become one of today's institutions in pop music. She is, pretty much, as close as we're going to get to Warren Ellis' horror vision of a pop icon virus in SUPERIDOL.
"Chelsea Hotel No. 2" is my favorite Leonard Cohen song. "Hallelujah" is a long thing to immerse yourself in, and as sacred as it can be, the intimacy of this secret ballad to a deceased love is more powerful to my tastes. When I heard Lana Del Rey dropped a cover on YouTube, my initial reaction was to cringe, but then I tried to suppress that reaction because I know that's just music snob bullshit.