If you didn’t already know, I am extremely obsessed with Lana Del Rey. Her sadcore music is not an easy pill to swallow, and that is exactly the type of music that I enjoy. I live for music that can withhold heartache, and define it so much so that you are placed in the event that started your painstaking journey; I live for music that uplifts your whole soul, as if you are a churchgoer and the lyrics are the words that a pastor preaches. The 27-year-old diva is on my top ten list of the best artists of all time, and I’m not putting that lightly.
Her last EP, Born to Die, had me hooked. Supremely catchy lyrics like, “Diet mountain dew, baby, New York City, never was there ever a girl so pretty” blasted through my tiny Civic during wild summer days, and lachrymose lyrics like, “He holds me in his big arms, drunk and I am seeing stars, this is all I think of” would make my heartstrings clench, as I rooted for the girl that didn’t want to be alone but had to because of her own depression.
Del Rey’s lyrics are picturesque, poetic, and unfortunately, at times, pitiable. Whenever I listen to her music, I imagine myself in the Hudson truck of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, with Dean and Sal, shocking our way through the detached and monochrome suburban landscape of the 1950s— scarves in the air, top down, “the freedom land of the 70s”, the salty, California beach air pungent in my nostrils as my ears are grazed with Lana’s rasps.
Even when she is not singing her own songs, Lana Del Rey still strikes a chord. Originally by Leonard Cohen, her cover of “Chelsea Hotel” is a soft, bucolic landscape within a hard, didactic city life; a melody so soft within a tired, raspy voice that is so beat down that you can not only hear it, but you can feel it by the way your fingers clench and your eyes are sewn shut— hoping that tears don’t come.
Her new EP, Ultraviolet, is just as good, or even better than the last one. The melodic dips and rolls are intertwined with an array of music; for example, in “Brooklyn Baby”, I hear Kendrick Lamar’s “Collard Greens” percussion in the background, Richie Sambora’s guitar plucking from the acoustic version of “Always”, and the melancholic echoes of the singer mirror exhausted cabaret singers at three in the morning.
What’s my favorite song in the album, you ask? “Old Money” is her best slow (I mean, technically, most of her songs don’t go over common time– except the mainstream songs on the radio) song up-to-date. Why? Because of these lines (in no particular order), reader:
“Where have you been? Where did you go?
Those summer nights seem long ago,
And so is the girl you used to call,
The Queen of New York City.”
“Yet still inside I felt alone,
For reasons unknown to me.”
“But if you send for me you know I’ll come,
And if you call for me you know I’ll run.”
Give it a listen, trust me. But then again, you already know I’m biased. 😉