Many of you may know the name Lana Del Rey from her recent remixed success, Summertime Sadness, which, well, although I can appreciate a good remix (you know, one that brings something new to the song and doesn’t just layer in an overdone heavy bass club beat or synths up the singer’s voice on a loop), unfortunately this wasn’t one of them. So, on the off-chance this is the only song of hers you’ve heard, allow me a moment to point you in another Lana direction:
I first heard her song, Radio, earlier this year and immediately fell in love. She has one of those strikingly deep, powerful voices that makes you hold your breath at first, then try to belt alongside her. The musical style reminded me of the late 50’s, early 60’s, where the singer was the star of the show. There’s also something oddly familiar about the sound, which evokes a strong sense of nostalgia. And the lyrics are relatable enough to make you think that maybe those memories are really yours. I oddly felt this when listening to Video Games, another Lana delight.
However, Ride, released late last year, is possibly my favorite. The verses, although quieter, still hold the deep cinematic quality carried throughout the song. Though her voice softens, it commands attention to the lyrics, which unravel a story of “heartbreak.” I say “heartbreak” because I don’t mean it in the romantic sense necessarily, but rather I mean the type of heartbreak caused by simply living, being lost, wanting something more – things that most of us are familiar with, either from our teenage angst phase, the post-graduation “what am I doing with my life?” worries, or yes, even that breakup you weren’t quite ready for and couldn’t quite figure out how to bounce back from. [If you’re interested in diving deeper into this song’s particular “heartbreak” story, there is an extended version of the song, which actually starts with a very poetic, though potentially, dramatic (if you’re not into that sort of thing) narration that leads into the song, then wraps up again with some final thoughts].
The quieter verses build up to the chorus, where Lana lets loose that cannon of a voice. She succinctly, yet artfully expresses the inner torment caused by her life’s heartbreak story and her solution to “just ride” to get away from it all. The last part of the song pushes past the regular rise into something… grander, more powerful. This part starts with my favorite line in the song, where she exclaims, “I’m tired of feeling like I’m f**king crazy,” and continues, triggering a sense of catharsis.
The relatable lyrics, cinematic background instrumentals, that voice, and the cathartic release of inner turmoil all make this one of those songs you easily decide to add into the soundtrack of your life, at least it was an easy decision for me. Which, pro tip: Ride plays nicely during late night drives, as the kick off to a spontaneous road trip, or when you need to blow off steam, but happen to be behind the wheel.
In short, this is what I think of when I hear Lana Del Rey, and hopefully what you will too! Also, if you’re not that techno-y rendition of Summertime Sadness currently playing on repeat on the radio, I’m including the original version in the videos below. Speaking of which, ready for a flood of videos? Here we go! Enjoy, you crazy kids.