Lana Del Rey Course Launched at New York University’s Clive Davis Institute


As with Taylor Swift earlier this year, New York University’s Clive Davis Institute introduced a course on Lana Del Rey this fall. The two-point “Topics in Recorded Music: Lana Del Rey” course, taught by journalist and author Kathy Iandoli, runs from October 20 through December. 8.

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According to a NYU representative, the course will explore Del Rey’s contributions to 21st century pop stardom, her relationship to feminism, her musical influences and artists she’s influenced, and her connection to social justice movements like #BlackLlivesMatter. , #MeToo and #TimesUp . Del Rey was honored with the Decade Award on Variety‘s Hitmakers event in December.

The course description reads: Over the course of eight critically acclaimed albums, the six-time Grammy-nominated artist has introduced a sad, melancholy, and baroque version of dream pop that in turn helped change and reinvent the sound (and mood) of mainstream music after the 2010s. . . Through her gripping imagery and her thematic focus on mental health and stories of toxic, damaged love, Del Rey provided a new platform for artists of all genders to create “anti-pop” works of substance that could live in a mainstream one day categorized as bubblegum.

Speaking to Variety, Iandoli says, “In so many ways I feel like Lana Del Rey is both a blueprint and a cautionary tale, a complicated pop star who resonates so much with her fans not because of how she makes them feel about her, but rather how she makes them feel about themselves.She has changed the parameters of baroque pop and now more specifically ‘sad girl pop’ through her music, expanding the subject matter which is sometimes controversial and challenging.There are so many pieces in this mosaic that we have now come to know as Lana Del Rey, and this course explores every dimension of it.”

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Chaired by veteran music writer and musician Jason King, the Davis Institute has taught classes by Questlove, “Dilla Time” author Dan Charnas, Q-Tip, legendary producer engineer Bob Power, and many others.

About the Del Rey course, King tells Variety, “When we offer artistically themed courses at the Clive Davis Institute, we always ask ourselves: How does this artist’s work help students address larger and more complex cultural, social or political issues? Lana Del Rey reflects so many changes in contemporary culture, especially as the role of contemporary women in pop music is ever-changing.Studying Lana Del Rey means thinking more critically about the growing popularity of so-called anti-pop.It means finding ways to account for the increased interest in mental health and problems with psychological harm, and to evaluate changes in the 21st way we think about identity, especially in terms of race, gender, nation and class. Lana is especially relevant and controversial when it comes to changing ideas about intersectional feminism over the past decade.

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“The goal of our artist-themed classes at the Clive Davis Institute is to encourage students to think more deeply and critically about the icons they admire and to develop a historical and contextual understanding of those artists,” he continues. “Students are expected to approach the study of Lana Del Rey with the same critical lens that they use to approach the study of Led Zeppelin or John Coltrane or Bob Marley or Stevie Wonder or Joni Mitchell in other Writing/History/Emergent Media Studies courses we have. offer . There is a growing body of academic research and scholarly papers on Lana Del Rey trying to assess her cultural significance and impact, and students reading and reflecting on some of the work in the classroom.”

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