While Lana Del Rey may mean a different incarnation to everyone – the eternal sad girl from the “Ultraviolence” era, the smiling flower child from the “Lust For Life” period or the farm-dwelling artist from the time of “Chemtrails Over The Country Club” – she is always really… herself. We take a look at the career and work of one of the most important artists of our time, who constantly surprises us with new sounds and moving lyrics, who sells out tickets to her concerts within minutes, and who, in light of her impressive successes, efficiently sets clear boundaries for her privacy. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Lana Del Rey!

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Voice of a generation

Throughout her career, Lana Del Rey, a 37-year-old singer, songwriter and poet born Elizabeth Grant, has revolved around a hazy, melancholic and constantly seductive Americana aesthetic, peeling back the sunny exterior of the myth of the American Dream, to reveal what’s really behind it. On her album covers, she impersonates a hippie with flowers in her hair standing in front of a dilapidated pickup truck or navigating a yacht, reaching out for help (or, conversely, inviting the listener into her enigmatic world) as the California coastline behind her burns. Even the titles of her albums – “Chemtrails Over The Country Club,” “Norman Fucking Rockwell!” – indicate the artist’s fascination with the idea of ordinary life in times of global cataclysms and socio-political crises.

Del Rey is the voice of a generation that is both misunderstood and misinterpreted by the media. In the past, her words have occasionally been taken out of context, such as the quote “I wish I was dead” from an interview with The Guardian; so now she only gives interviews to trusted journalists or magazines that specialize exclusively in music. The versatile musician and poet is often accused of impersonating a “fake personality” – after all, her nickname is a reference to Lana Turner and a Ford car model called Del Rey. But such comments are sooner made out of malice or simple ignorance. Just ask the opinion of her loyal fans (there are millions of them), who have supported the artist since her debut or are only now joining her fan-base. The fact is that there is no “truer” person in today’s music industry than Lana.

Lana

Reinvention

Her 2012 debut album, Born To Die, made Lana Del Rey a star and defined the musical Tumblr era, when the young singer played with both romantic and dark topos of the American dream. Her “world-building,” as she now calls it, in her early work created a collage of beautiful and unique images, combining hip-hop aesthetics with references to the Kennedy family, Elvis Presley, John Wayne and old Hollywod, contrasted from time to time with shots of real biker gangs. Since then, Del Rey has pushed her musical boundaries considerably, filling her discs with collaborations with stars such as Stevie Nicks and Playboi Carti or creating a cover of Sublime’s cult hit “Doin’ Time,” which turned out to be the song of the summer ranked “Summertime Sadness.” With her musical experiments that redefine her work each time, Lana achieves both critical acclaim and commercial success. She has earned six Grammy nominations and holds the record for the most No. albums. 1 on the Billboard Alternative Albums chart. It seems that every week a new song from her extensive portfolio gains popularity on TikTok. Younger artists often cite her as an inspiration – including Madison Beer, Olivia Rodrigo and Billie Eilish, whom Del Rey calls her friend.

In Lana Del Rey’s artistic multiverse, we see nods to Bob Dylan, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Elton John and the Beatles. With her, all these influences can coexist in one chorus and not seem excessive. One only has to listen to the 2017 track “Tomorrow Never Came,” a phenomenal duet with Sean Ono Lennon, to understand what I mean. Meanwhile, songs such as the 10-minute “Venice Bitch,” the most psychedelic song of her career, or “Norman Fucking Rockwell,” a romantic ballad enriched with ironic criticism of modern men, are musical masterpieces that represent the artist’s best lyrics, but at the same time have almost zero chance of appearing on the radio. “Norman Fucking Rockwell!“, Del Rey’s most critically acclaimed album, is a “moody record,” as the singer herself describes it. There’s no room for mainstreamhits here; you’ll find iconic songs that you can fully indulge in during walks on the beach or long car rides.

Del Rey

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Success according to Del Rey

In an era of streaming, where success often means putting easily digestible singles on relevant Spotify playlists, creating albums that are in-depth, 70-minute experiences is not only inspiring – but also rebellious. It’s an approach that has worked well for Lana Del Rey: her songs, even the long and eccentric ones, easily accumulate tens of millions of listens. In total, her albums have sold more than 4 million copies in the United States alone, and all of her studio albums have debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart. The first of these, “Born to Die,” is one of only three titles released by a woman to spend more than 300 weeks on the Billboard 200 chart (the other two albums are Adele’s “21” and Carole King’s “Tapestry”). Del Rey owes her musical triumph to her distinct aesthetics and unique sound, which keep the interest of young fans who have grown up on her outstanding work. “When we sign a contract with an artist, it is necessary for the presence of a true vision,” – says Interscope label CEO John Janick. “Lana is a prime example of that. Her artistry is inspiring, she has sold millions of albums, and she does everything on her own terms.”

Lana Del Rey

The new me

Previously known as the priestess of sad pop, she now smiles on album covers and posts on her “secret” profile on Instagram (@honeymoon is a private account she sometimes opens for her fans) photos of her sister’s baby, Chuck, a selfie with her brother Charlie, or promotes her father Rob’s newly-released piano album, titled “The Children’s Song”. “Lost At Sea. One can feel the seismic shift in Lana’s musical journey: from the mood of the eternal sad girl On the album “Ultraviolence” (musical testimonials femme fatale on the brink of depression), through the bittersweet “Honeymoon” (a nostalgic honeymoon with possible rays of light on the horizon), to the moving and hopeful “Lust For Life,” which involved such Del Rey industry friends as rapper A$APa Rocky‘ego. In the sunny era of “Lust For Life,” it even seemed that the singer was ready to play with the pop genre, but on her own terms. Zad of the title track, she worked with super-producer Max Martin, a The Weeknd‘a she cast in the role of musical lover. For Del Rey, the relationship with the producers is inexorably important: among the creators of the brilliant album “Norman Fucking Rockwell!” is a Jack Antonoff, a four-time Grammy-winning producer who has become a favorite collaborator on synth-pop hits from stars such as Lorde and Taylor Swift. Speaking of Swift, the ethereal, dreamy song “Snow On The Beach” from her latest album “Midnights” is created in collaboration specifically with Lana. Such a combination is a veritable musical paradise!

Lana

Introspection

More recently, Lana’s musical narrative leads back home, to memories of her childhood spent in Lake Placid, NY, as well as reflections on her relationship with her family and the life paths she has taken. These themes underlie her ninth album, “Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd.” Del Rey says she hesitantly began unpacking this intimate subject matter on her previous album, “Blue Banisters” – but now she’s ready to dig deeper. “I felt very uncomfortable at first,” he says. – she says of the more personal material. “But once I started writing, I felt completely relieved.” In the new album, he lets the listener look into his life, but not only; he ponders important questions and contemplates issues such as starting a family and a home, and building his future. The songs relate to each other, revisiting previous thoughts and feelings, making the listener feel as if they were inside the artist’s head.

In particular, the CD confronts the questions and doubts that face women in their thirties – the burning anxieties that society haunts women with until they find the answers. The single “A&W” is an example of just such an inner dilemma. “Margaret,” one of the most beautiful and moving songs on the album, focuses on Jack Antonoff and his girlfriend, actress Margaret Qualley. Lana tells the story of their romance. While “Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd” largely fails to answer any of the big questions and leaves them to the listener’s reflection, “Margaret” offers something of a solution. “When you know, you know,” sings Del Rey. He gently adds, almost in a whisper: “But if you don’t know, don’t give up, because you never know what a new day will bring.”

While venturing into new lyrical territory, Lana is also exploring into new sonic fields. Her ninth album combines the soulful, classic, timeless sounds of distant times with the melodies and vocal techniques of a Hollywood starlet (it’s not hard to imagine Audrey Hepburn singing the choruses in the song “Sweet”) with trap beats, rocking bass and spoken-word tracks such as the heartbreaking “Kintsugi.” The album’s closing song “Taco Truck x VB” is an intriguing twist. After a tranquil opening section, the song transitions into dizzying instrumentation that unexpectedly morphs into a previously unreleased version of the 2018 single “Venice Bitch” – darker, rougher and even better than the version we know from “Norman Fucking Rockwell!”. It’s a fitting end to an album that draws from past, present and future, both musically and from the life of its creator. It’s also a reminder that “Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd” may raise serious existential questions, but is also full of experimentation and fun. It definitely reinforces Del Rey’s status as one of the most intriguing songwriters in contemporary music, and perhaps even history. This confirms the fervor of the singer’s fans, who went wild when their favorite announced a world tour after a hiatus of more than three years.

Lana Del Rey’s work amazes and shocks, seduces and stimulates reflection. She is a true GentleWoman who is not afraid to break industry patterns, We are curious to see what the next step of the American artist in her colorful career will be!

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