Thank god for ABC’s JJJ radio, a government-funded music network that is primarily targeted at a younger demographic that plays some mainstream music but mostly spins records from bands than the commercial FM radio stations would never consider adding to their playlist.
It is because of JJJ’s willingness to play music by up-and-coming talents that haven’t hit the radar of anyone but the truly music-obsessed that I stumble across many of the artists that fill my iPod.
One such artist at the moment is Lana Del Ray who possesses an earthy voice that speaks of late nights in smoky bars and a life lived in a harder place than many of us encounter (her beautiful face speaks of nothing of the kind of course). Her voice though is not some blunt instrument capable only of the most rudimentary of emotional expression; no, it’s a thing of subtle beauty, clutching pain and resignation close to a heart breaking from the sadness of dashed expectations.
The song that is currently on radio, Videogames, evinces this emotive sparseness. It is raw, beautiful, and heart-achingly sad. It speaks of a woman who knows that the world is made for two, but lives in a version of it so flawed, you can hear her spirit-crushing disappointment bleeding through the speakers.
She describes a life filled with emotional and physical abuse, graphic and yet also hinted at in lyrics so expertly written they take your breath away. They articulate a world so bereft of the ideals of true love, bound by hopeless resignation to a cruel reality that will never measure up to the wistful longing of the woman at the centre of it.
But all this dark pain is counter balanced by music, including the most delicate of harp playing, so pretty, and sublimely beautiful (that belies the harsh subject matter) that you are drawn into the story again and again. You can help it. It is so seductively compelling that turning away is not an option. Yes you know you are hearing a life disintegrate into a thousand bloodied glass splinters but it is so heartfelt, lyrically and musically, that you can’t stop playing it over and over.
This song is so overwhelmingly gorgeous, and yet so powerfully raw and honest, that you need to listen to it if you value music of truth and real artistry.
I cannot wait to see what this talented woman does next. I expect it will be nothing short of one of the most powerful, rich albums of 2012