Why should I care about Lana Del Rey?
After listening to her records, you should be able to catch onto the fact that Lana Del Rey is one of the best songwriters of our time, and a force for good. You might even call her a poet, first and foremost, because her words read more like an entry from one of her inspirations, Sylvia Plath, than they do a pop song. (Scroll through her Instagram, and you'll find plenty of typewritten stanzas.) It's a style that put a point of reference on what's been dubbed "sad girl" culture, or a kind of inexplicable melancholy, full of feminine intricacies that many young women experience, more than any other major artist before. She doesn't intend to glorify this pain, but rather her songs have become a sincere vehicle of understanding for many.
It's also this very style, both lyrically and sonically, that has been the greatest touchstone for younger artists like Lorde and Billie Eilish, who rose to fame after her. Eilish, for example, cites LDR as one of her inspirations, and you can certainly hear it in her death-fascinated and antisocially inclined brand of pop.
Lana's undoubtedly already a cultural icon -- having reclaimed flower crowns and taken the heart-shaped shades off Lolita's face to make them her own -- but she's destined to become one of the greatest icons future generations will continue to be perplexed by, or maybe beloved wholesale. On the Paradise EP song "Body Electric" she sings, "Elvis is my daddy, Marilyn's my mother, Jesus is my bestest friend" -- and it feels inevitable that someday one of her ingenues is likely going to be singing a tribute track for her, plugging her name into a lyric where a mid-century star would've been.