Friday, February 23, 2024

Lana Del Rey’s evolution culminates in 2 new singles


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Photo courtesy of Respect My Region

Story by Nathaniel Nichols / Contributing Writer

After a year of anticipation, Lana Del Rey is back and ready to hypnotize with her two new sultry, psychedelic singles, produced by Jack Antonoff, called “Mariners Apartment Complex” and “Venice B****.” “Mariners Apartment” feels very enlightening and happy in comparison to her old hits. Del Rey ponders the philosophy of self-reflection and touches on the idea of consciousness.

“Think about it, the darkness, the deepness, all the things that make me who I am.”

Del Rey’s angelic voice produces a hypnotic trance on the second single, “Venice B****.” It makes one want to drive by the beach along the Pacific Coast Highway in California. Lana evokes a feeling of nostalgia as she reminisces about a tumultuous yet beautiful relationship.

“You’re in the yard. I light the fire, and as the summer fades away, nothing gold can stay.”

“You write. I tour. We make it work. You’re beautiful, and I’m insane.”

“Mariners Apartment Complex” and “Venice B****” will be in Lana’s new album, “Norman F****** Rockwell,” in 2019.

Both of these songs have music videos that have been filmed by Del Rey’s sister, Chuck Grant. These singles have a happier tone that is comparable to her last album, “Lust For Life.” “God Bless America – And All The Beautiful Women In It” is an example of her progressive evolution as an artist. Del Rey pays tribute to the women of America and tackles the current political climate, noting that most politicians don’t have women’s rights at the forefront.

Before Del Rey reached fame, she was known by her real name, Lizzy Grant. She has been through various incarnations before she came to the conclusion of Lana Del Rey. Some of the names Del Rey would go by are May Jailer, Sparkle Jump Rope Queen and Lizzy Grant and the Phenomena. She would sing at bars and clubs in New York, trying to make a living. One exceptional performance of Del Rey’s is at the Williamsburg Live Songwriting Competition in 2006, in which she sang one of her folksy songs called “Pawn Shop Blues.”

“Well, I pawned the earrings that you gave me, gold and made of flowers dangling, and I almost cried as I sold them all.”

At the time, Lana was a struggling artist performing wherever she could in the New York Area. This lyric shows the struggle of a starving artist.

Del Rey is known for her versatility as an artist. Each album has a different sound. On “Born To Die,” Del Rey is often referred to as the “Gangsta Nancy Sinatra” because of the hip-hop influences she has throughout the album. The album has a distinct moody flare that defines Del Rey’s melancholic signature. “Born To Die” is an album that has a highly sophisticated sound filled with hip-hop and visuals that reminds one of a ‘50s Marilyn Monroe film. From the luxurious and playful sound of “National Anthem” to the somber and elegant sound of “Video Games,” Del Rey does not disappoint.

Several months later, after the release of “Born To Die,” Del Rey released her bold EP “Paradise.” This album included a production with strings that had a noir-esque sound that could be featured in a gangster film. A year later, she released a short filmed called “Tropico,” which was partly influenced by Walt Whitman’s “I Sing the Body Electric” poem. Del Rey’s fascination with Walt Whitman and his beat poetry led her to create an apocalyptic story about Adam and Eve.

After a couple of years, Del Rey decided to release the alternative-rock album “Ultraviolence.” Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys provided a new surf-rock sound for Del Rey that differs from the bubblegum trip-hop on “Born To Die.” The album has a bold and dark theme that focuses on loneliness, fame and love compared to the timid nature Del Rey exudes on “Born To Die.” There’s a psychedelic and atmospheric essence that pours out throughout the record; hearing guitar riffs in the background compliments her voice on “West Coast,” which differs from Del Rey’s coy voice on “Born To Die” track “Lolita.” They seem to create a flowing storyline that remains constant throughout the record. This album is incredibly dense and feels much darker, production-wise. The sound reminds one of psychedelia and ’60s rock. “Cruel World” has to be my favorite because it features a hypnotic sound. Del Rey’s storytelling brings awareness to an abusive relationship that she talks about throughout the album.

A year later, Del Rey released another album called “Honeymoon,” which brings back Del Rey’s baroque pop sound from “Born To Die.” Del Rey goes deeper into the exploration of her sadness and sorrow. The album feels very retro and vintage. “Salvatore” stands as a fan favorite from the album; the production is luscious, cinematic and vibrant. Del Rey’s airy vocals transport you to an Italian countryside with a rustic village and sprawling vineyards in the backdrop. Del Rey recites “ciao amore” throughout the song while talking about eating soft ice cream with her lover.

In 2017, Del Rey released her latest album, “Lust For Life.” It’s her most optimistic album to date, and it is the first album that Del Rey decided to collaborate with people on. A distinguishable feature is “Beautiful People, Beautiful Problems,” in which you hear Stevie Nicks’ breathy voice as a feature. Nicks and Del Rey harmonize in perfect synchronicity. One can tell that this album has much more of a happy flare. Del Rey’s signature melancholic touch is still there though. Del Rey tackles the political climate and questions some issues that dig into politics, fame and happiness.

Del Rey’s evolution is ever-changing. “Norman F****** Rockwell” will resonate with “Lust For Life.” The album will be more positive and less moody when it releases in 2019. “Get Free,” which is the last song on “Lust For Life,” hints at making a vow to “take the darkness from the arts.

“Take the dead out of the sea and the darkness from the arts.”

To contact Lifestyles Editor Sydney Wagner, email

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