Posters decked certain corners of LA. They depicted the crazy cinematic movie-poster fantasia of Lana Del Rey, retro but nudging toward a far-off future. Floating cars. Populated with heroes and villains. What could it mean?
A new Lana Del Rey single is upon us. Rejoice!
Twelve Thoughts on Lana Del Rey’s “Love,” after listening to it approx. 675 times this weekend
Lana does not begin with her trademark 60s throwback wall of sound orchestration until the first ring of its chorus. Before then, she sings over a chasm of neurotically minimal thuds, not unlike Metro Boomin’s work in the beginning of 21 Savage’s “No Heart.”
Like “No Heart,” elements of Lana’s latest single can be superficially read as contemptuous of her audience. In the first breath in “Love,” Lana labels the listener “kids with your vintage music” while 21 Savage pantomimes the voice of a fan who, he mocks, “has been with [me] since day one.” He then threatens to pistol whip the fan and commit other acts of violence. Both 21 Savage and Lana cultivate and manipulate vastly exaggerated versions of the genre they reside. Whether or not 21 Savage is ‘real’ and Lana is ‘fake’ doesn’t interest me in the least.
Throughout “Love,” slight clicking sound can occasionally be heard, a sound effect often used in music to signify the hammer of a gun clicking. In Lana’s hands, I think of Uma Thurman’s bright yellow jumpsuit in Kill Bill. Guns are also a larger symbol of popular American culture and Lana is “obsessed with ironic representations of American nostalgia.” The music video for “High on the Beach.”
The subtle change in register between the first verse and the pre-chorus is the entirely of the range Lana has chosen to use, post-Born to Die.
If “High on the Beach” was “a lullaby I want to ride a dick to,” than “Love” is gnostic chant from the far future I want to put on my Janelle Monáe-styled body suit to. Before riding aforementioned dick.
William James, poet, philosopher, and brother of the novelist, is famous for saying “There is no repetition, only persistence.” A criticism of Lana’s songwriting leveled by haters in the popular establishment, like Laura Booth of the NY Daily News, is that she is “so short on narrative detail.” In mind, the critic has a singer like prolific and Novel Prize-winning word vomiter Bob Dylan who says a lot of different words and various copyists who also say lots of different words. Lana, on the other hand, speaks in the syntax of the King James Bible where, as we know, phrases will be repeated, often seven times.
Lana sings “I’m young and in love” six times.
Lana is an expert ironist. Per the iron-clad rule of numbers, at the age of thirty, Lana is no longer young. She is also not in love.
In the latest episode of Girls, Marine (Allison Williams) absconds to Poughkeepsie in order to commence an affair with Desi (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), her ex-husband. They are the show’s most compelling couple because their love is impermeable, because both characters are vastly disliked by even the show’s fans and it is beyond the capacity of most people to understand how people they don’t like can find love. In that episode Desi completely loses it and becomes a threatening presence and the whole thing is shot like a horror movie. Sample lyric: “It’s enough just to make you feel crazy, crazy, crazy.”
Lana has said, on Instagram after leaks forced her to release the song early, that the song was written for her fans. They have interpreted this to mean “the youth of our generation (and even herself) still maintain a sense of wonder and empowerment in the face of adversity.” Sample lyric: “To go nowhere in particular/back to work or the coffee shop/doesn’t matter cause it’s enough.”
Lana is an expert ironist. “Don’t worry baby” is, ultimately, a malicious statement.
Lana is an expert ironist. It is not enough to be young and in love.