There are two ladies of roughly the same age who came from New York and landed it big on the music scene. One was Lady Gaga, and it was fairly obvious that her NYC bravado had made its way on to the stage with her. She is renowned for costumes, theatrics, political calls to action, and so on. It’s like downtown Manhattan came to whatever town you were seeing her in, which is why some pay such big bucks to see the show in real life. This side of a Broadway play, Gaga is the most theatric act in town. Hell, that may even be an understatement, but we’ll see how her next tour goes. (Obviously, we’re not talking about this tour right here.)
And then there Lana Del Rey, a sultry princess of dark pop who had come from the same part of Brooklyn as Gaga had. In fact, she even shared a common manager at the time (Bob Leone.) There is rumor that Lana’s old sound, under her real name Lizzy Grant, was more bright, her voice usually ranging in the higher notes, and the sound more accessible. While no one at Crimson Media has had the chance to these old tracks, we are to understand they were quite different from the direction her music ended up taking. It was different from Lizzy Grant, or Lady Gaga, or really a large swath of the pop catalogue. Lana basked in a different element: realness.
Lana doesn’t have a huge production, a team of dancers, and she doesn’t fight a giant monster on stage. No, Lana has something else entirely. She is all about mood. The styling of her new work is most assuredly a more brooding experience, but her voice mixed with that classic styling of old and new results in something that you can’t just create with millions of dollars. You have to live it every second of your life to deliver it like this. That’s why Lana is a voice we need in today’s pop world more than ever.
Before we get to new video, and the much needed vibe it instills in today’s music world, a bit of history about our self-proclaimed “Sad Girl”:
Lana’s debut album, “Born to Die,” was released in 2012. It’s a very different experience from the original concept described earlier: it’s entirely guided by the soft tenor timbre of her voice. Backed with a vibro guitar (film noire style) and hip-hop sounding beats and samples, her vocal stylings are vintage and classic cool. It’s like opening up an old issue of Playboy, minus the gratuitous nudity. It takes you back to the endless summers of American suburbia from the 1950s, and encapsulates the thrill of a teenaged girl sneaking out all night to smoke cigarettes with her boyfriend. It’s the perfect voice to tell this dark love story turned into a 50 minute series of heartbreaking anthems.
Depending on which version you bought, you can either end the album on an incredibly sad note with “This is What Makes Us Girls” (about losing everything, even your friends, for love) or on a slightly happier note with the much more upbeat “Lucky Ones” (which you might as well play at your own wedding. It’s that romantic.) Lana apparently wasn’t even finished with the arch of the story, because she also came out with a B side to this record entitled “Paradise.” This set of tracks was much more mature, and even darker than what she had written. She effortless name dropped pop-culture icons from American history as she weaved a dark descent into the dreams of Las Angeles. The best tracks in the entire record (“Gods and Monsters” being up there) were also turned into a short movie starring Lana herself, which is absolutely one of the most mind-blowing short film achievements done by a musical artist. If you haven’t seen it yet, what are you waiting for? CLICK HERE! (Editor’s Note: What you are about to witness is very trippy. And probably not appropriate for children.)
Lana followed up with two more albums of even earthier substance: “Ultraviolent,” a lulling set of tracks about abusive relationships, Lolita fantasies, and even hydroponic weed (yes, she drops that exact line.) It was a bold and yet tame follow-up, precisely because it wasn’t trying to out-flash the previous catalogue. Lana didn’t seem to mind creating her own sound, living in her own world on the west coast. And better yet, the fans didn’t seem to mind. She was able to release “Honeymoon” shortly after, which was just as earthy as Ultraviolent and the last album that she would record before a bit of radio silence.
Finally, she’s come back from her creative process to offer not only a new track, but a new music video as well. Though some of the samples she was infamous for using in her background tracks have returned, the instrumentals are surprisingly simple. She only needs one McCartney style bass in the background to pluck over the drum beat and samples, and the rest of the sound space is occupied by her transcendent voice. And it’s all presented with a new splash cover for the track that looks like an old romance novel, or a 1940’s type flick where a kid promises the girl he’d lasso her the moon.
Her message seems simple: there’s a lot to learn in the simple pleasures of the young and in love. Even in the seemingly mundane, such as the clothes we wear to the coffee shop or the boring job we work to pay the bills, it’s that starry-eyed optimism that anything is possible with the people you love, like gifts given to us from something greater in the stars. Hey, Lana hasn’t shied away from aliens before! (Another reminder, if you haven’t watched her movie ‘Tropico’ you need to.)
Watch her new music video below, and let us know if you agree that Lana is the queen of real that the pop world needs to stay grounded: