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how ‘influence’ works – Lana Del Rey vs Eleni Vitali

how ‘influence’ works – Lana Del Rey vs Eleni Vitali
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Some have claimed that the following is plagiarism. That’s ridiculous. 

I suppose you could argue that there’s surface similarities between the melodies of the two songs but there’s little else to suggest an intentional steal. It’s not like there’s the same instrumentation, or sound, or feel, or phrasing, or performance, or anything really. Oh yes, both singers are female. Sigh. It’s the musical equivalent of me having read a Aldous Huxley book a couple of decades back and, a certain phrase having lodged itself towards the back of my mind, it comes out reinterpreted when most appropriate. More likely, it’s just one website always on the look out for audience figures, being over-zealous.

They are both great songs – but I think the second one tips it, as being unable to interpret the lyrics means you can layer on the melancholy without any jarring intrusions and… here, have a listen.

Lana Del Rey

Eleni Vitali

I’m in two minds about Lana Del Rey.

There’s one part of me that loves songs like ‘Video Games’ because it reminds me of Cults and Julee Cruise (and having only just gotten round to watching Twin Peaks for the first time, right up to the point where it turned into a deeply unfunny pastiche of itself, this is an even finer thing than it was six months ago) and drunken 3am hotel arguments with Chan Marshall. I like the deep sense of melancholy and self-hatred within that song, although I don’t think either stands as a signifier for any generation I’m familiar with, especially as the remainder of her lyrics appear to be about emphasising how privileged she is and I’m not. Lizzy Grant aspires to belong to the world of Saturday Night Live and remakes of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and while this might change … wait. I like this part of Lana Del Rey. I have no problem with reinvention, and indeed wonder what the Internet generation would’ve made of Debbie Harry if she’d appeared while it was in the ascendant. I am bored to Bangs with all the references to cocaine and Bacardi chasers, though. Why the fuck would I want to aspire to something that was in my past?

This music is no fado, either.

And then there’s the other part of me that hates her because she reminds me of Snow Patrol. Must be something in the smoothness and slickness of the production.

I can’t but help think she’s a Less Than Zero for the post-Gaga kids.

Go figure.

Related posts:
The Question of Authenticity and Lana Del Rey
how ‘influence’ works – Washington vs Laura Marling

2 Responses to how ‘influence’ works – Lana Del Rey vs Eleni Vitali

  1. Golightly January 27, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    I’m impressed that you found this other song. How on earth did you come across it? It is so similar I think royalties could be argued. A bit like Come As You Are and that Killing Joke song it so closely resembles.

    At the end of the day I just love Lana Del Rey. The other day it was all I wanted to listen to. I have her song Blue Jeans stuck in my head on repeat. So I wouldn’t write her off as a one hit copy cat plagiariser just yet. I like the production sound a lot. I loath the endless bore of Snow Patrol’s music. I don’t hear any similarity there. Luckily.

    I don’t think ideas or images of being privileged should be mocked or scathed about. Don’t you think it gets boring hearing nothing but songs about working class heros *yawn* it’s no more real than if some member of the royal family started writing about their lives, but it is more explored territory and isn’t that dull after a while? Bring on the variety of human experience I say.

    Or better yet, just keep playing me more and more songs by Lana Del Rey!

  2. ruiz January 28, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    I find that if you listen to the greek song at least twice you can see that Born to Die is without a doubt a copy- even tho it is more modern as to the music but the melody and voice are copies – so it is plagiarism for sure. I do enjoy Born to Die mostly due to the background male voice which says on and off “louder” and music. I guess LDR didnt think there were enough greeks out there and world music lovers to bring it into the open. what a shame on her. and born to die sounds just like a remake of video games to top it off.

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