TABLE OF CONTENTS

The Year in Pop

Lana Del Rey

Still from Lana Del Rey’s 2012 video National Anthem, directed by Anthony Mandler.

IN A MIDDLING YEAR FOR POP MUSIC, the cleverest piece of cultural criticism nevertheless came in the form of a new hit from Lana Del Rey, aka Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, heiress to an Internet domain-name fortune and proprietor of one of the most promising voices of the Obama era. The track “National Anthem” (Born to Die, Interscope), Del Rey’s parapatriotic send-up of American luxury, may not rank as the year’s greatest song, but its eight-minute video, which reimagines the Camelot fairy tale of JFK and Jackie O, invents a new subset of pop: Call it postironic satire—a Swiftian revival that multiplies the objects of its parody with such reckless guile that it seems challenging and new. The satiric vision the video proposes is syncretic: Del Rey stands in for Jackie but also for Marilyn Monroe—and for herself, a contemporary celebrity princess; her costar in the video,

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