Breakout indie singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey has been on my mind for a few months, as one of the most talked-about and polarizing new artists of 2011. I had heard her track "Video Games" before I knew a thing about her, and it caught my ear with vocals that are both sultry and shaky, old and young, cigarette-dirty and breeze-soar-y. Do I like her music? I think so. I think so. I know for sure I am intrigued, and look forward to her album release this year. But even more fascinating to me is the public's reaction to her, over the things I didn't know from just listening to her songs on the radio.

Miss Del Rey, born Elizabeth Grant in 1986, comes from a wealthy family and --- AND!! -- has actual supermodel good looks.

And this is why, past her music, there are guys professing crazy stalker-worthy eternal love for her on the internet, and the same number slamming her for being a manufactured talentless Rich Daddy fake. And it bugs me. A lot. The point of music is music, yes? Yet because she has what she has -- born with it, in fact -- she may never be taken seriously by those who equate beauty with vapidness or money with inevitable corruption. If she looked more like me, the average rock girl shlub in overpriced glasses and dirty Chucks, what would have happened to her music? Would anyone have paid attention, or would she have been more accepted, less criticized? If you look like that, you can't do anything to make yourself look a whole lot worse to appeal to haters unless you go on a prolonged meth binge, so you might as well work it, right? Why aren't women ever allowed to be everything that they are?

It's easy for me in my lofty postion over here on the Age Ladder to pat Lana on the shoulder and say, "Just you never mind any of 'em, girl, just do your thing." But I was once 25 and new, too, and I know those words would fall on deaf ears. She's going to have to struggle though her work and everything else about her being really popular as well as brutally trashed, and through the growing pains of working out live performance. I think she's taken ultimately poor managerial advice in not being part of a band, for the genuine support and collaboration of like-minded musicians can go a long way in calming nerves and building confidence. Mr. Manager knows he has a Hot Solo Artist to market, but if she cannot deal with everything that has happened and everything to come, he won't have an artist to market for long.

Again, on the radio, I heard her sing, this time live. And in the background, during a quiet part, the voice of a female crowd member yelling, with prolonged venom: "Fuck yoooooooooou!"

Lana Del Rey, "Video Games"