UNITED STATES—As an American, I’m in a different mindset this week and can use a break from my normal DOOM and GLOOM…
I have this GIRL CRUSH on superstar Lana Del Rey, and I’m sure I am NOT the only one!
Lana’s success is not as simple as you think. Not just some pretty girl that got lucky.
Sure, she has the body, hair, STYLE. But she has something else very important and typically undervalued: a brain.
One so strong that it comes through in all of her songs, whether about sex, love, or even dying.
Lana Del Rey’s brain attracted me to her music in the beginning and apparently the same goes for the guy who first signed her, David Nichtern. In an MTV interview he said she was, “a little bit dark, but very intelligent.”
If you are already a fan of this (most lovely) angry-lyric woman, you may find irony that the guy who signed her also is a Shambhala Buddhist teacher.
Warning: this is not a chronicle of how she evolved. That was hard work of course, like all the other famous musicians.
This is merely a writing that points out a couple of songs with lyrics that speak to the RAGE-SIDE of me. A type of personality trait that I probably share with many of you.
The first song I heard by her may be the only one some of you recognize, from 2013’s “The Great Gatsby.” Lana’s “Young and Beautiful” played during the iconic scene where Leonardo DiCaprio (Gatsby) and Carey Mulligan (Daisy) spend the day together after years of the lost lovers being apart.
I naturally sought more of her.
It was a critical time in my life, coming to terms with pretty severe violence and abuse, and to me, her lyrics were PERFECT. Perfectly Angry. Controversial. Sad. Thought-provoking. It seemed her music could hit every chord of sadness AND anger within me and I am sure many others too.
The next album was Born to Die, released January 2012.
“Born to Die” is the first song and shows why the internet is upset by Lana’s fascination with suicide and death. Many people fight the suicidal ideation that comes with depression, but Lana embraces hers and sings about it. VERY THERAPEUTIC!
The video contains spectacular imagery, such as a pair of tigers sitting next to a throned Lana.
Beautiful church, beautiful girl, beautiful flower halo headpiece. Ending with a beautiful bloody Lana carried by Bradley Soileau, the tattooed love interest that is in several other Lana videos.
Lana re-released the album again in November 2012 as Born to Die: Paradise Edition.
From this edition is “Gods and Monsters” the song some may recognize from Jessica Lange performing it on “American Horror Story.” It conveys a struggle between right vs wrong.
The video features Shaun Ross, the very unique Albino man who is also in Lana’s Tropico short film. The seductiveness, sex, and violence in this video epitomizes the “sex object” research involving men and women involved in gang violence (PDF).
However, 2014’s “Ultraviolence” must be my favorite album.
‘Cruel World‘ is full of all the negative self-loathing that goes hand in hand with the life of addiction and depression.
‘Pretty When You Cry‘ gives a glimpse of submissivity. They say the indie video was a collaboration between Lana and Marilyn Manson, with a rape scene that was called “graphic” and the speculated reason why it was pulled. Imagine a voice up all night crying, and that’s what you hear in this song: somehow as beautiful as it is raw and sad.
In 2015, she released her latest album ‘Honeymoon,’ giving us what is now my favorite most wonderfully relaxing video that I listen to over and over.
‘Freak‘ ends with an extended piano solo and imagery of Lana swimming underwater with the girls from the ‘Music to Watch boys Too‘ video.
The first half of the video features a cult leader being adored by his pretty followers, Lana is one. Songwriter and singer Father John Misty plays the bearded man who stares into YOUR SOUL at one point.
I will leave you with it, this bit of her that is so relaxing and fantastic.
I wish you all a safe and happy week.