Lana Del Rey (born Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, June 21, 1985 in New York City) is an American singer-songwriter and model. Hailed as one of the most influential musicians of her time, her music is noted for its cinematic quality and thematic focus on tragic romance, glamour, and melancholia, often through references to contemporary pop culture and mid-20th century Americana.
Originally recording under a nickname of her real name, Lizzy Grant, to little success, she later created her current Lana Del Rey persona after wanting a name she could "shape the music towards", being inspired by her frequent visits to Miami where she would spend time with Spanish-speaking Cuban friends, as well as the combination of the first name of Lana Turner and the Ford Del Rey sedan. Also, she just liked the way it sounded.
After settling on her new name (although her first album was credited to Lana Del Ray), Lana posted a few songs to YouTube with accompanying DIY music videos made on her Mac. One song in particular, "Video Games", caught the attention of many music blogs and critics alike. To capitalize on the sudden interest in the track, Lana released "Video Games" (with B-side "Blue Jeans") as a single on Stranger Records in October 2011, and it became a Sleeper Hit all across Europe. Not long afterwards, Lana was signed to Interscope Records, and her (major label) debut Born to Die was released worldwide in January 2012. For a relative unknown like Lana, it actually sold pretty well in its first week; she even managed to knock Adele's 21 off the top spot in many countries, including the UK, and eventually went platinum.
Lana is known for using the character of Lana Del Rey as a very constructed persona whom she plays in the public eye and explores through her music. She is also known for paying homage to icons in order to associate herself with their brands of mystique or to set moods, including Marilyn Monroe, Lolita, Elvis Presley and Billie Holiday.
As May Jailer
- Young Like Me (2005) *
- From The End (2005)
- Sirens (2006)
As Lizzy Grant
- Kill Kill (2008)Singles: "Kill Kill"
As Lana Del Ray
- Lana Del Ray (recorded in 2008; released in 2010)
As Lana Del Rey
- Born to Die (2012)Singles: "Video Games", "Born to Die", "Off To The Races", "Carmen", "Blue Jeans", "National Anthem", "Summertime Sadness", "Dark Paradise"
- Paradise (2012)
- Ultraviolence (2014)
- Honeymoon (2015)
- Lust For Life (2017)
- Norman Fucking Rockwell! (2019)
- Chemtrails Over The Country Club (2021)
- Blue Banisters (2021)
The artist formerly known as Lizzy Grant provides examples of:
- Album Closure:
- Lust for Life finishes with "Get Free," about redemption and finally moving on.
- The last track on Norman Fucking Rockwell is the heartwrenching, stripped-down piano ballad "hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have - but I have it".
- Blue Banisters ends with "Sweet Carolina," a tribute and Pep-Talk Song to her sister.
- Album Title Drop: In "Honeymoon", "Ultraviolence", "Born To Die", "Lust For Life", "Chemtrails over the Country Club" and "Blue Banisters" obviously.
- Not the case in "Norman Fucking Rockwell" however, his name appears in "Venice Bitch" instead.
- Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: "C U L8r Alligator". Just the title itself, though.
- Affably Evil: Most, if not all of the men she ever brings up. Their being "affable" might be a case of Unreliable Narrator, though:"K's a friend of mine / I think about him as he does time [...] Double homicide, sent him on to death row / Not to hang around, though"
- The Alcoholic: Lana has, in the past, described alcohol as being her first love. She's been sober since 2003, but much of her early work as a songwriter was informed by her experiences as recovering alcoholic at the time.
- Author Appeal: In her own words:
- Auto Erotica: In "Diet Mountain Dew":"Let's take Jesus off the dashboard / Got enough on his mind"
"Baby stoppin' at 7-Eleven / There in his white Pontiac heaven"
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: "Born To Die", "Blue Jeans" and "Diet Mountain Dew" on Born To Die. Most of her work is centered around this trope, all the same.
- An inversion appears in "Black Bathing Suit", however. She wants someone to share ice cream and watch tv with while the world is collapsing.
- Anti-Love Song: "Lolita", being named after Lolita."I want my cake and I want to eat it too / I want to have fun and be in love with you"
- "Serial Killer" as well.
- "Live or Die".
- Artistic License Biology: The chorus for "Arcadia" compares its roads to "arteries that pump the blood that flows straight to the heart of me". Except arteries transport blood away from the heart to the vital organs.
- Artistic License Linguistics: "Because Of You" doesn't even break the rules for the sake of a rhyme:"Call me before I get stupid / Make me uncrazy like you did"
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Her main character in her video for the Sublime cover "Doin' Time".
- A Wild Rapper Appears!:
- In the second verse of "Delicious", and the bridge of "Roses".
- Subverted in "Every Man Gets His Wish", in that the rapper is Lana herself.
- Ax-Crazy: "Kinda Outta Luck" feels rather unhinged in retrospect, as do a few other songs.
- Badass Boast: "Noir" opens with this line:"Walking is an art / So is my body"
- "Fucked My Way Up To The Top" just loves this trope."Life is awesome, I confess / What I do, I do the best"
- "Fucked My Way Up To The Top" just loves this trope.
- Beautiful Tears: Invoked in "Pretty When I Cry", where a woman reassures herself that she is beautiful in her heartbreak during/after a tumultuous relationship."I wait for you, babe"
"You don't come through, babe"
"You never do, babe"
"That's just what you do"
"Because I'm pretty when I cry"
- Better by a Different Name: Literally, because Lana originally had a contract under her birthname Lizzy Grant, and many fans were skeptical when she later became Lana Del Rey.
- Big Applesauce: Several of Lana's songs make local references to New York City, the city of her birth, but "Greenwich" is notable for being named in tribute to Greenwich Village, where Lana used to live at one point.
- Boastful Rap: "Delicious".
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: "Boarding School" has Lana telling us the following:"If you wanna get high with me / I'm in the back, doing crack, drinking P-P-Pepsi"
- Break Up Song: "Born to Die", "Video Games", "Blue Jeans", "Dark Paradise", and "Summertime Sadness" from Born To Die.
- "Pawn Shop Blues" and "Brite Lites" from Lana Del Ray.
- The Title Track from Blue Banisters
- "Afraid", "Break My Fall", "Butterflies (Part 1)", "Damn You", and "Dum Dum" from her unreleased catalogue.
- Broken Bird: Think of one genuinely positive song with no darkness whatsoever in her whole discography.
- Bury Your Gays: Both female lovers commit suicide in the "Summertime Sadness" music video.
- Call-Back: Lana enjoys reusing lyrics and melodies between songs a lot. Most notable are the quartet of "1949", "Every Man Gets His Wish", "Hawaiian Tropic" and "Daytona Meth" - all four songs borrow elements from each other, but manage to not feel like a succession of demos.
- The song "Old Money" is a remastered, re-written version of a song Lana wrote in 2008, called "Methamphetamines". While the lyrics are largely different, a few lines mirror the original.
- "Young & Beautiful" has the lyric "I've seen the world, done it all, had my cake now", referring back to "I want my cake and I want to eat it too" from "Lolita" - which first appeared in "Girl That Got Away".
- "He used to call me Poison, 'cuz I was Poison Ivy", as heard in "Ultraviolence" - referring back to "Call me Poison Ivy 'cuz I'm far from good" from "Driving In Cars With Boys".
- "Music to Watch Boys To", the line "Nothing good can stay, like love or lemonade" in the bridge, may be a reference to the line "Crying tears of gold, like lemonade" in Ultraviolence's bridge.
- The chorus of "Caught You Boy" appears in the bridge on "Delicious". Similarly, part of the bridge in "Caught You Boy" is reused as the opening line to "Serial Killer".
- The pre-choruses in "Be My Daddy" reappear as the verses in "Ridin'".
- The bridge in the demo version of "Freak" (from the 2015 album Honeymoon) seemingly references another, as yet unleaked song called "Vacation", which is speculated to be from 2006.
- The opening verse for "Blue Banisters" features the line "Jenny handed me a beer. Said, "How the hell did you get there?"" which may be a nod to a similar line in the opening versus for "Video Games" ("Open up a beer and you say, "Get over here and play a video game"")
- Camp: Tropico.
- Cannot Spit It Out: A subtext in "National Anthem".
- Careful with That Axe: Lana enters this zone in the choruses for "Dealer".
- Casting Couch: Recurring theme of early work. "Put Me In A Movie" lays it on thick from the title down.
"You know how to whistle, dont'cha?"
- "Hit & Run" is centered around this trope. "Put Your Lips Together", too - in a much less spritely manner.
- "Fucked My Way Up To The Top", obviously.
- Lana is a self-professed example of this herself - but according to her, none of those liaisons ever led to a deal.
- Celebrity Endorsement: H&M and Jaguar have utilized her music and her looks for promotional purposes.
- Celebrity Resemblance: With Amy Adams.◊
- Censored Title: In the original album trailer for Paradise, "Cola" was referred to as "Pussy" in the track listing.
- The back cover to Ultraviolence lists "Fucked My Way Up To The Top" as "*** My Way Up To The Top", with the full title only appearing in the inside liner notes.
- Norman Fucking Rockwell isn't censored on iTunes or Spotify, but in online press, the media, and on the album cover, the title is censored to "Norman F*** Rockwell". In interviews, it's either called "Norman Effing Rockwell", or shortened to "Norman Rockwell".
- The Chanteuse: Lana's shtick all throughout the Born To Die era.
- Also her role in the "Blue Velvet" video, due to the song being a vintage cover.
- Cluster F-Bomb: "Scarface", wherein Lana drops the F-bomb about 8 times in the chorus alone - not counting the backing vocals. It amounts to something like 20 times over the course of 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
- "Fucked My Way Up To The Top" stands out, due to her cursing often being more low-key, and in it, she seems to revel in the whole concept.
- Coming of Age Story: "Ride" - or more specifically its music video, thanks to Lana's narration throughout.
- "This Is What Makes Us Girls" and "Aviation", too.
- Continuity Nod: Lots and lots, everywhere - Lana's music is endlessly self-referential. Especially interesting is a Call-Back to "Put Me In A Movie", which appears in "High By The Beach". Compare and contrast:"Lights, camera, acción - you know I can't make it on my own"
"Lights, camera, acción - I'll do it on my own / Don't need your money to get me what I want"
"Nothing gold can stay; like love, or lemonade.""And as the summer fades away, nothing gold can stay."
- Another example of this is the line "nothing gold can stay" - it appears in the songs "Music To Watch Boys To" and "Venice Bitch":
"Blessed is this union, crying tears of gold like lemonade."
- Another minor one is the words "gold" and "lemonade" appearing in the same sentence. "Ultraviolence" does this in contrast with "Music To Watch Boys To":
- Cool Shades: None mentioned in "Shades Of Cool", believe it or not - but heartshaped sunglasses appear often elsewhere.
- Cosmic Plaything: "Starry Eyed", "You're Gonna Love Me" and "Tired Of Singing The Blues" all touch on this concept.
- The Cover Changes the Gender: Averted with "Blue Velvet", where Lana kept all the original lyrics, including "she wore blue velvet".
- Also averted with "Chelsea Hotel No. 2" and "Doin' Time". It seems fair to say that Lana makes a principle of this.
- The Cover Changes the Meaning: Her version of "Once Upon a Dream" is definitely not the wistful love song it was first written as.
- "The Other Woman" on Ultraviolence seems a little more sinister than Nina Simone's original, with Lana's vocals coming across as jealous, rather than resigned as on the original track.
- By virtue of the above mentioned aversion of The Cover Changes the Gender, one particular line in "Chelsea Hotel No. 2" takes on a completely different meaning. "You told me again, you preferred handsome men, but for me you'd make an exception"
- Cover Version: Of Bobby Vinton's "Blue Velvet" for Paradise, "Once Upon a Dream" for Maleficent and Nina Simone's "The Other Woman" for Ultraviolence.
- Lana has also published covers of Leonard Cohen's "Chelsea Hotel No. 2" (as mentioned above) and Lee Hazlewood's "Summer Wine" on her personal YouTube channel.
- In 2019 she covered Sublime's "Doin' Time" for a documentary about the band. The song is based on an interpolation of "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess to begin with, and she would later cover "Summertime" itself in 2020.
- Cute and Psycho: "Kinda Outta Luck". Lana plays coy in the video, and her singing is likewise bright and flirty, for a change of pace. It's not until you give the lyrics a second listen that you realize what she's actually talking about...
- Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster!: So very good."It was worth it, paid the price / Life is death when blow is life"
- Dark and Troubled Past: Lana has mentioned having had alcohol problems when she was only 14 years old. She was sent to boarding school, which she loathed even more than her addiction, for it.
- A lot of her songs vaguely reference this and imply certain things that she may have experienced. Whether or not it's based on actual events or is just part of her stage persona isn't certain but it's certainly invoked.
- Also spent the first couple of years during her Born to Die era with an illness that multiple doctors couldn't figure out. She stated that she began just not caring for herself during that time, thus making it more difficult when her fan expressed /so much/ care.
- Dark Reprise: "Flipside" serves as one, thematically, for "Cruel World" on Ultraviolence.
- Darker and Edgier: Ultraviolence is moodier than Born To Die, for sure - but then, so is Born To Die compared to Lana Del Ray.
- Norman Fucking Rockwell is a downplayed example compared to Lust for Life.
- Damsel in Distress: She played with this Trope many times, especially in Songs like "Lucky Ones" and "Off To The Races"
- A Date with Rosie Palms: "Burning Desire" mentions this."I drive fast, radio blast / Have to touch myself to pretend you're there"
- Dating What Daddy Hates: Very much so in "My Momma"."My momma, she would say your hair was too long / But your hair exactly is what I like the best"
- Dedication: Based on their titles: "Dear Elliot", "For K (Part 1)", "For K (Part 2)" and "For You". "Jimmy Gnecco" might also count, even as that's more of an Obsession Song.
- "You're Gonna Love Me" has an outright declaration, on the other hand:"Jim, I'mma dedicate this whole album to you..."
- "You're Gonna Love Me" has an outright declaration, on the other hand:
- Deep South: The setting of "Raise Me Up (Mississippi South)", obviously.
- References are also scattered throughout Chemtrails Over the Country Club and Blue Banisters. "Tulsa Jesus Freak" being the most prominent example with the title named after one of the major cities and referencing the Arkansas River (which is not pronounced the same way as the state).
- Deliberately Monochrome: The album covers for Ultraviolence and Chemtrails Over the Country Club, the music videos for "Blue Jeans", "Mariners Apartment Complex" and most of "West Coast", as well as clips from her own, homemade videos.
- Delinquents: "Boarding School" is about Lana's teenage shenanigans in Connecticut."I'm a fan of the pro-ana nation / I do them drugs to stop the food cravings"
- Department of Redundancy Department: "Delicious":"They're disgusting, I'm delicious / They disgust me, I'm delicious / Let's discuss this, I'm delicious"
- Despair Event Horizon: Born To Die may have been a sad record overall, but "Dark Paradise" crushes any hope for happiness, with the narrator becoming suicidal and questioning if she will even find peace in death. Could also be seen as a case of Sanity Slippage
- Destructive Romance: One of Lana's most common themes - to the point where a love song without destructive tendencies is a rarity coming from her.
- Dissonant Laughter: Of the most unsettling kind, in "Bentley".
- Does Not Like Shoes: Shown with bare feet in the album cover for Blue Banisters
- Doom Magnet: "Hangin' Around" finds Lana painting herself as one of these. "Fine China" spares no expense in further lamenting on the same idea.
- Doomed Protagonist: You'd be a fool to expect anythin' else from Lana, but that all works out in her favor, anyway."I'm pretty when I cry..."
- Dream Team: With The Weeknd, whose lyrical style is similarly bleak. She appears on his albums Beauty Behind the Madness and Starboy, and he returned the favor by appearing on Lust for Life's title track.
- Driven to Suicide: "Summertime Sadness" and "Dark Paradise".
- Drowning My Sorrows: A relapse is implied in "Tired Of Singing The Blues":"A double life, a sordid past, and I am drinking now..."
- Drugs Are Bad: Played With in "Florida Kilos", sorta. Lana seems to think that making cocaine and going to Florida to sell it will do wonders for her love life.
- Electra Complex: Expect to hear the word "daddy" from Lana many, many a time... but not even once in "Daddy Issues".
- Lana's withering attitude towards her mother in "My Momma", "Black Bathing Suit" and "Wildflower Wildfire" reeks of this trope, as well.
- Elopement: Hinted towards in "Yayo":"Put me onto your black motorcycle / Fitted babydoll dress for my "I do" / It'll only take two hours to Nevada / I wear your sparkle, you call me your mama
- "Guns & Roses" on Ultraviolence seems to suggest that things didn't quite work out, though:"We should've left Las Vegas / And then began again"
- "Guns & Roses" on Ultraviolence seems to suggest that things didn't quite work out, though:
- Epic Rocking: Ultraviolence has a lot of this going on, since it draws so much from 60s psychedelic rock. "Cruel World", the album's opening track, is just under 7 minutes long.
- "Venice Bitch" from Norman Fucking Rockwell clocks in at a full 9 minutes and 41 seconds. Nearly half of the track is purely instrumental.
- Even the Girls Want Her: The mysterious young starlet from "Carmen".
- Ethereal Choir: "National Anthem", "Young & Beautiful".
- Fading into the Next Song: Lana Del Ray is gapless in parts.
- She has claimed to love "the greats of every genre", citing Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and Elvis Presley (about whom she even wrote a song!) as inspirations.
- Britney Spears, too - Lana has said that Britney is one of the only female artist she enjoys. "Diet Mountain Dew", "Gods & Monsters", "National Anthem", "Ride" and "Burning Desire" all speak to Britney's experiences and music.
- Jimmy Gnecco was an infatuation of hers at some point, leading to the creation of "Jimmy Gnecco".
- Femme Fatale: A common "role" attributed to Lana, but taken and ran with in "Playing Dangerous", where she sings from the perspective of a woman being held for questioning.
- "Kinda Outta Luck" is also told from the point of view of one.
- Flower Motifs: Flowers tend to feature heavily in Lana's album imagery - running the gamut from the plastic lei garlands worn on the cover art for Kill Kill, all the way to the blue hydrangeas seen in promotional photos for Ultraviolence and her flower crown in Lust for Life.
- Blue hydrangeas are also mentioned in some of her earliest pre-fame work, such as on "Axl Rose Husband" and "Elvis", making them especially notable. They are understood to be symbolic of romantic rejection, regrets, and apology.
- Funetik Aksent: Evident in "Wayamaya" - the title of which refers to Waimea, as in Waimea Bay, Hawaii.
- Genre Mashup: Born To Die is made up largely of hip-hop beats with orchestral arrangements in front of them. The result is easiest described as "alternative" or "indie" pop, but has many similarities to trip-hop as well.
- Genre Roulette: Having begun her musical career for real sometime in 2005, Lana has managed to go through a whole lot of genres in search of "her" sound.
- Sirens (2006) is all-acoustic - as are most of the homemade demos she made in the interrim between this album and Lana Del Ray.
- Lana Del Ray (recorded in 2008, released in 2010) is "surf noir" according to Lana herself. Most (if not all) of her unreleased 2009 tracks fall under this "genre", too.
- 2010 saw Lana taking a quick detour into pop music, before she settled for some kind of medium between the "surf noir" of Lana Del Ray and the sadcore of Born To Die in 2011.
- Born To Die and Paradise (both 2012) are both considered sadcore, or rather, "Hollywood sadcore".
- All of her unreleased tracks from 2012 onward are recognized as sadcore too, although her 2013 work is a lot calmer than the orchestral swells that make up large parts of Born To Die and Paradise, and lacks the trip-hop stylings of those offerings.
- Ultraviolence (2014) focuses on instrumentation over vocals, and is louder than her previous work overall, with a lot of wailing guitars and the like.
- Honeymoon (2015) takes a hard turn towards the cinematic end of the musical spectrum, and is by far Lana's most sedate album to date.
- Lust For Life (2017) falls in-between Born To Die and Honeymoon, sonically, with a heavier focus on lyrics than before.
- Norman Fucking Rockwell (2019) has been compared sonically to Lana's earlier work under the pseudonym of May Jailer, and her unreleased tracks - as well as Honeymoon, as the tracks on it are largely acoustic, psychedelic, and stripped back.
- Chemtrails Over The Country Club (2021) incorporates more Folk Music and Americana influences into its production.
- Genre Shift: As detailed above, Lana had to go through a lot of genres before finding her niche and demographic with Born To Die'.
- Good Bad Girl: Subverted in "Kinda Outta Luck". The first 1:20 are spent building a "Good Bad Girl with bad self esteem getting rescued by Prince Charming" kind of narrative... and then... oops.
- Otherwise played straight with most of her work - "St. Tropez" and "Backfire" are good examples.
- "This Is What Makes Us Girls", too.
- Gratuitous French: Featured in "Carmen", and more prominently in "Moi Je Joue":"You know what they say / Voulez vous coucher avec moi? / Can't you see yourself with me, hey?"
- Translation of the verse in "Carmen": "My love, I know that you love me too / You need me / You need me in your life / You can't live without me / And I would die without you / I would kill for you"
- Grief Song: Heavily implied in "Dark Paradise":"I'm scared that you won't be waiting on the other side"
"Your soul is haunting me and telling me / That everything is fine / But I wish I was dead"
- "Kill Kill"
- "TV in Black & White"
- Growing Up Sucks: The moral of "This Is What Makes Us Girls".
- Hipster: Most of the barbs levied towards Lana accuse her of being one, but she wallows in it."And my jazz collection's rare / I can play most anything / I'm a Brooklyn baby"
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Quite a common theme of hers, but especially prevalent in "Hundred Dollar Bill".
- "Carmen" is all about one.
- Horrible Hollywood: A very common theme in her songs and music videos. Lust for Life title track and music video has a direct reference to the suicide of Peg Entwistle on the H of the Hollywood sign.
- Hot Witch: Lana herself: rumours have circulated for years about her dabbling in witchcraft, and she promoted and took part in a mass online spell against Donald Trump to remove him from office.
- If I Can't Have You : A line repeated verbatim in "Jealous Girl".
- I Have Many Names: Hoo, boy. In rough, chronological order (besides Lana Del Rey):
"I can be your summertime / Baby, you can call me May""You my little sparkle jump rope queen / You my little sparkle"
- Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, A.K.A. Lizzy (sometimes Lizzi) Grant
- May Jailer
"They named me Lana Ray Loreen / From when I was a beauty queen"
- Lana Del Ray
- A newspaper clipping dated 2008 also called her Lana Rey Del Mar.
- Apparently, her name was also "Lana Ray Loreen" for a while, although she didn't release any official music under this moniker.
- Incredibly Long Note: Check out this performance of Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box" from 2013.
- Indecipherable Lyrics: "Roll With Me (On The Radio)".
- Intentionally Awkward Title: "Fucked My Way Up To The Top".
- "Norman Fucking Rockwell", both the album and the song. "Fuck It I Love You", also from the same album, may also qualify.
- Intercourse with You: "Burning Desire" is pretty heavily sexual, as is "Gods & Monsters" on her Paradise EP. Born To Die has "Diet Mountain Dew" talking about showing her what fast is.
- Very much the subject of both "Push Me Down" and "Behind Closed Doors", but the prize goes to "Be My Daddy" for frankness:"Sittin' on your lap, singing you my song / Ooh-ooh-ooh / Got a lollipop, I'll give you some / I'll fuck you"
- Kind of a subtext in "Let My Hair Down":"You've got me dancing up the stairs now, man..."
- Very much the subject of both "Push Me Down" and "Behind Closed Doors", but the prize goes to "Be My Daddy" for frankness:
- It's Not You, It's Me: "It's Not You, It's Just Me". Also, "Break My Fall", the quintessential Break-Up Song of Lana's catalogue:"The greatest line in history - baby, it's not you, it's me / What, you think I'm dumb-dumb, babydoll?"
- Lady in Red: Red dresses appear here and there in Lana's music, and are a staple of hers on stage.
- Laugh of Love: In the video for "Love", the featured couples tend to laugh when they're together.
- Lighter and Softer:
- Honeymoon compared to Ultraviolence.
- "Lust for Life" is so far the most hopeful and optimistic record that Lana has released. The first two singles are straight-up love songs, and while the music still has Lana's usual subdued, somber tone, the lyrics are very sweet and hopeful. The cover of the album also shows Lana smiling, as opposed to her ambivalent or outright mournful expressions on other covers. Hell, just compare the title tracks of "Lust for Life" and "Born to Die" for an idea of how different it is.
- The record itself has many affectionate and hopeful songs on it, told just from the track titles alone. Examples include "God Bless America - And All the Beautiful Women In It", "When the World was at War, We Kept Dancing", "Change", and "Get Free".
- "Love" and its music video are much gentler than her previous singles. She's also happily smiling in the video, a rarity for her.
- Likes Older Men: In the music videos for "West Coast" and "Shades of Cool", tattoo artist Mark Mahoney co-stars as Lana's love interest. In general, Lana makes her this obvious in her music - see MayDecember Romance below.
- Lipstick Lesbian: Both Lana Del Rey and Jamie King's characters in the "Summertime Sadness" music video.
- Literal Music Video: Much of the video for "Blue Banisters" involves Lana, her sister Chuck and her friends acting out a good portion of the lyrics.
- Lonely at the Top:
- "Best American Record"."You did it all for fame / Tell me how it treats you now / You did it all for fame / How does that taste coming out?"
- "Dear Elliot" is less blatant, dealing instead with Lana's longing for this person rather than calling them out.
- "Best American Record".
- Love Nostalgia Song: "Blue Jeans", "Dark Paradise", and "Summertime Sadness".
- "Young & Beautiful" and "Back To Tha Basics" too, although the latter isn't as bittersweet as the others.
- "My Best Days" and "You & Me", as well.
- "TV in Black & White", which also doubles as a Grief Song.
- Love Is a Drug: Pretty explicitly stated all throughout Lana's discography.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Lucky Ones" has an extremely dark instrumental for one of her happiest love songs lyrically.
- In "Off to the Races", one of her more upbeat songs, she sings "I'm your little harlot, starlet, queen of Coney Island" in a high-pitched girly voice.
- Madness Mantra: In "Raise Me Up (Mississippi South)":"Ray, Ray, Ray - raise me up!"
"Give it to me, give it to me, everything / You know how I like my world on a string"
- Indeed, the song was first titled "Rayse".
- "Catch and Release" has this line, which gets worse in the Nightmare Fuel-doused bridge:
- "Maha Maha" gets pretty intense in the chorus, thanks to one of these. Loha loha, mahi mahi, yoha yoha...
- MayDecember Romance: "Off to the Races". Alluded to, in "Jump". "Dance For Money" is the most upfront about Lana's preferences:"I like them over fifty / I like to play for money"
- Lampshaded in "Cola".
- Melismatic Vocals: Lana uses plenty of flourishes in her voice.
- Notable examples of this are "Off To The Races" and "Million Dollar Man".
- Midword Rhyme: Sirens is particularly full of these, as are the preceding EPs Young Like Me and From The End.
- Miniscule Rocking: A few of her (invariably acapella) concept demos. "Crooked Cop" is the shortest one known of, having a runtime of exactly 50 seconds.
- Money Song: "National Anthem", "Radio" and "Money Power Glory".
"One day I'll drive in a gold Mercedes Benz / Singing opera on Bel Air Road"
- "Hundred Dollar Bill" and "Money Hunny" as well, less facetiously in both cases.
- "Hollywood" combines this with Call-Backs to Paradise and preemptive Badass Boasting:
- The Mourning After:
Loving you forever can't be wrong
- "Summertime Sadness" seems to deal with a lover's death, and the emptiness of such a thing's wake. Much of Lana's music can be interpreted similarly." I think I'll miss you forever / Like the stars miss the sun in the morning sky"
- "Dark Paradise" is all about this.
Even though you're not here, won't move on
All my friends ask me why I stay strong
Tell 'em when you find true love it lives on
- "Summertime Sadness" seems to deal with a lover's death, and the emptiness of such a thing's wake. Much of Lana's music can be interpreted similarly.
- Move Along, Nothing to See Here: Lana wonders if you've ever "seen a dead man lyin' in the road" in "Money Hunny", and invokes the trope within seconds:"Have you ever heard his best friend say you'd better go? / Before you get fined, or else you'll do time..."
- Ms. Fanservice: Plays this up for all it's worth. Take her 2018 Lollapalooza performance, for example. Sitting Sexy on a Piano, Orgasmic moaning, flashing the crowd her panties and more.
- In the video for "Fuck It I Love You", Lana is at one point shown gently twerking on the surfboard whilst flashing the camera a cute smile.
- "Doin' Time"'s video sees Lana paying homage to Attack of the 50-Foot Woman, and she's wearing a thin summer dress that shows a lot of her legs.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Lana's shopping trip in "Blizzard", somewhat hilariously. She found a really cool belt in a lame department store.
- New Sound Album: No two albums (excepting Paradise, which in fairness started out as a repackaging of Born To Die) of Lana's sound too alike. Most stark is the difference between Ultraviolence and her work prior to its release. And then there's Honeymoon compared to Ultraviolence.
- Non-Appearing Title: She has a lot of these, such as "Cruel World" on Ultraviolence.
- Ironically, "Norman Fucking Rockwell" doesn't even appear in its song, despite being the album title.
- Obsession Song: "Born To Die", "National Anthem", "Without You", "Dark Paradise", and the vast majority of the Paradise EP.
- In truth, a lot of her songs have an obsessive edge to them. Born To Die and Paradise are tame when compared to unreleased songs like "You're Gonna Love Me", "C U L8r Alligator" or "Midnite Dancer Girlfriend".
- Ode to Intoxication: Lana has a few, but "Florida Kilos" and "High By The Beach" both get a special mention for not being about alcohol.
- This also might be in a metaphorical sense, but "Fuck It I Love You" mentions Lana "shooting up her veins in neon" and "drinking lime green", though the latter may simply be a Continuity Nod to "Diet Mountain Dew" off Born To Die.
- Ode to Sobriety: "Bad Disease", although it deals more with the struggle of staying sober as a recovering alcoholic."I've got a bad disease / Will no one help me, please / It's got me down on my knees"
- "Serene Queen" could be one as well, given the phrase "clean and serene", which is used in a variety of twelve-step recovery programs to describe a sober lifestyle.
- The Ophelia: Although Lana has never played up any concept of mental illness, her music and image have a lot of "opheliac" tendencies about them.
- Her appearance in some of her music videos have heavily given off this vibe - "Love", in particular, has Lana dressed in an elegant lacy white dress with daisies adorned in her long, wavy hair, akin to Faith Seed in Far Cry 5. In "Freak", she wears a long-sleeved white crop top with a beaded headband, and in "High By The Beach", she is decked up in a long white sun-dress with a pale blue kimono.
- "Doin' Time" has Lana dressed in a silky short pale blue summer dress.
- Outlaw Couple: In "Florida Kilos", "Back To Tha Basics" and "Off To The Races"."My old man is a thief, and I'm gonna stay and pray with him till the end..."
- Overly Long Title: "hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have - but i have it".
- Painful Rhyme: "White Dress" squeezes the line "Down at the Men in Music Business Conference" into just seven beats. An Intended Audience Reaction - a "Men in Music Business Conference" does not sound particularly inviting."I only mention it 'cause it was such a scene / And I felt seen"
- Pep-Talk Song: "For You" and "Wait" on From The End. "Sweet Carolina" from Blue Banisters
- Power of Friendship: "This Is What Makes Us Girls" and "Blue Banisters", as well as the cover for Chemtrails Over the Country Club.
- Precision F-Strike: A couple.
"In the land of gods and monsters, I was an angel / Looking to get fucked hard"
- "Gods & Monsters":
"I keep running 'round the same town / Knocking you down / I'm fucked"
- "Tired of Singing the Blues":
"I pray your life is sweet / You fucker / Damn you"
- "Damn You":
"Now my life is sweet like cinnamon / Like a fuckin' dream I'm livin' in"
"Mimicking me is a fucking bore to me."
- "Fucked My Way Up To The Top":
"You're dancing circles around me / You're fucking crazy!"
- "Cruel World":
"You could be a bad motherfucker, but that don't make you a man"
- "High by the Beach":
"It's like heaven taking the place of something evil / And letting it burn off from the rush, yeah - fuck!"
"It's fucking hot, hot / Winter in the city / Something 'bout this weather's made these kids go crazy"
"Fear fun, fear love; fresh outta fucks forever"
- "Venice Bitch":
"I've been tearing around in my fucking nightgown / 24/7 Sylvia Plath"
- "hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have - but i have it"
"And if I wasn't so fucked up, I think I'd fuck you all the time"
- "Fuck it I love you"
""Crypto forever," scrеams your stupid boyfriend / Fuck you, Kevin"
- "Sweet Carolina"
It was kind of an exclamation mark: so this is the American dream, right now, this is where were at Norman fucking Rockwell. Were going to go to Mars, and Trump is president, all right.
- The album Norman Fucking Rockwell! counts for one in itself. Interestingly, Lana confirmed the reasoning behind this being the result of Lana daydreaming about the artist Norman Rockwell during the production of the record, and imagining what he would think of present-day America:
- Pretty in Mink: She's worn some fur wraps and coats in various photoshoots and magazines."In my white mink, pink cigarettes from the store / We're making robberies from Tijuana to the shore"
- Rearrange the Song: The live version of "National Anthem" combines elements of one of the unreleased demos with the final album version.
- Recycled Lyrics: Happens a lot, but for the most part with a little variation to mix things up.
- Recurring Character: "K", "Jimmy" and "Bill" are mentioned in quite a few of her songs. However, it's unclear whether they're fictitious or actual people Lana once knew. Same goes for "Betty Lou" and "Ray", the latter of whom shares his name with a character in Poolside, the short film Lana starred in back in 2010.
- "Jimmy" is likely none other than Jimmy Gnecco, frontman of the rock band Ours, given that Lana has a song named after him.
- Revealing Cover-Up: Once, in a 2010 interview, Lana mentioned a certain Mr. Campbell - who apparently introduced her to Nirvana. After fans inferred that Mr. Campbell was the subject of Lana's various Teacher/Student Romance songs, he turned into Mrs. Campbell when brought up in another interview, a year later. Quoth "Prom Song (Gone Wrong)":"You played me Biggie Smalls / And then my first Nirvana song"
- Rock Star Song: She mostly mocks this trope in "Carmen", "Lolita", "Gods & Monsters", "Ride", "Radio" and "White Dress".
- Red Baron: Lana refers to herself as the "queen" of various things, in various songs. It becomes something of a Running Gag at length.
"They call me 'Firecracker'..."
- "Go Go Dancer" and "Midnite Dancer Girlfriend" share this line:
- Re-release the Song: Happened to "Yayo", which is on Lana Del Ray as well as Paradise.
- Rhyming with Itself: "Yayo" rhymes "now" with "now".
- The chorus of "Video Games" rhymes "you" with "you" and "do" with "do". Three times each.
- Road Trip Romance: "On Our Way" and "1949". Lana sings about her cheating partner embarking on one of these with a new catch in "In The Sun", as well.
- To a lesser degree in "Driving In Cars With Boys", despite the title.
- Romanticized Abuse: This line from "Beautiful Player", which doubles as a Shout-Out to the 1962 song "He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)" by The Crystals:"Hit me and it felt like a kiss / You know it hurts so good when you do me like this"
"I can hear sirens, sirens / He hit me and it felt like a kiss / I can hear violins, violins / Give me all of that ultraviolence"
- "Ultraviolence" reuses this line, and goes even further:
"Hit me my darling tonight / I don't know why but I like it"
- "Diet Mountain Dew" has this line in one of its demo recordings:
"Spotlight, bad baby - you've got a flair / For the violentest kind of love anywhere out there"
- "Bel Air" plays with this, painting the subject of Lana's attention as somewhat meek to start, but then:
- Rule of Symbolism: Of the religious kind, in "Fordham Road":"The stone Mary in the garden / She let me know she watching"
- Runaway Fiancé: "Fine China" is about one, and is easily one of Lana's most heartrending songs for that alone."I wore diamonds for the birth of your baby, for the birth of your son / On the same day my husband-to-be said he wouldn't come"
- Sampling: Goes on a lot. Notable examples include:
- Scatting: Lana is fond of doing this live, with mixed results.
- Done to great effect, however, in "Wait For Life", and to a lesser extent in "Honeymoon".
- Self-Backing Vocalist: Lana harmonizes with herself in near-enough all of her homemade demos.
- In-studio, "National Anthem" is a good example of her making a choir of her own voice behind her. Also, on The Other Wiki, she is the only credited vocalist on Born To Die.
- Self-Deprecation: "Sad Girl" from Ultraviolence.
"I fucked my way up to the top / This is my show"
- "Fucked My Way Up To The Top" mixes this and Badass Boasting:
"Sometimes I rap too / I'm a white girl / But the world is my oyster / I'm a little pearl, yup"
- For a change of pace, Lana raps in "Playground". Quoth the last verse:
- According to Word Of God, "This Is What Makes Us Girls" - a song about a young woman falling in and out of the wrong side of the track - is autobiographical.
- "Carmen" ought to count as autobiographical too, considering this gut-wrenching Call-Forward in "All Smiles":"All dressed up with nowhere to go / That's the story of the girl you know - me..."
- confirmed with Lana Del Rey citing it as one of her most autobiographical songs.
- Self-Empowerment Anthem: "For You" has shades of this trope, somewhat unexpectedly given Lana's usual range of subject matters.
- Self-Titled Album: Her first album, titled Lana Del Ray (she had come up with the Lana Del Ray moniker around the time of the album's conception).
- Sequel Song: "For K" is split in two, as is "Butterflies".
- "For K (Part 1)" may not even have leaked yet, but it is commonly considered to be one of the songs on Sirens, which first leaked without labels.
- Serial Killer: "Kinda Outta Luck" is about one. "Serial Killer" isn't.
- Sexy Surfacing Shot: She emerges from a pool soaking wet with light shining behind her in the music video for "Shades of Cool".
- Shout-Out: A whole bunch of 'em to Lolita, not even including her numerous references to heartshaped sunglasses:
"Light of my life, fire of my loins."
- The song "Lolita".
- As heard in the pre-chorus of "Off to the Races":
"C'mon, you know you like little girls / You can be my daddy"
- "Put Me in a Movie" echoes the relationship between Lolita and Quilty, after she runs away from Humbert.
"Flame-colored paradise for you, darling / But death doesn't come with a warning""Paradise is a hell-colored flame sky / Is it nice to feel free and wild?"
- "1949" is laced with 1950s nostalgia, and is a tale of Road Trip Romance, as stated above. It also has Lana calling her lover "daddy" more than in all of her other songs combined.
- There's an a capella demo for "Carmen" titled "Little Carmen", just like Dolores' favorite record in the book.
- A quote from Humbert in Lolita reads "[...] I still dwelled deep in my elected paradise - a paradise whose skies were the color of hell-flames - but still a paradise." Both the songs "Velvet Crowbar" and "Angels Forever, Forever Angels" refer to this:
"I'm your vulgar darling in the swimming pool / Glimmering, you say that you're nobody's fool""I like your ultraviolent swing / I like it when you treat me mean"
- Lana adopts one of Humbert's pet names for Dolores in "Moi Je Joue", and has had variants of this lyric as her Twitter bio:
- "Summer of Sam".
- "Carmen" and "Kinda Outta Luck" both seem to reference A Streetcar Named Desire, talking about "the kindness of strangers" - which is a paraphrase of a quote, and a major theme of the play.
- The music video for "Young & Beautiful" features an orchestra that is shot exactly like the one in Fantasia, right down to the silhouettes, the shadows, and the colored lighting.
- It could be considered a Call-Back to the (cartoon) orchestra featured in Lana's homemade video for "Video Games", too.
- The original video for one of the demo versions of "Lolita" also features scenes from Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon. One has to wonder how much she might know about Sailor Moon...
- Shrouded in Myth: Not much is known about Lana's life pre-fame, and the content in her songs results in tons of speculation from fans.
- It almost becomes a point of controversy since Lana claims many of her songs are about her own life and many have no way of debunking or verifying these claims.
- Sigh of Love: She does this a few times when around her primary love interest in the video for "West Coast".
- Silly Love Songs: "Lucky Ones," "Love," and "Lust for Life."
- Singer Name Drop: "This Is What Makes Us Girls", through singing another "character's" dialogue."Lana, how I hate those guys!"
"Lana Del Rey, how you get that way?"
- Also in '"Every Man Gets His Wish":
"He said: Lana-Ray, will you serve me lemonade?"
- And again in "Trash Magic":
"I'm Lana Del Rey from the U.S. of A.."
- "Criminals Run The World":
"Do you miss hearing me sing; calling me Lana?"
"I remember we came in May, and we changed our names to Lana and Ray."
- "Wayamaya" hints at the origin of her Pen Name in a similar fashion to "Trash Magic":
"She said: Lana-Ray, you gotta do what I say / My man's sending his buddy Ray over your way."
- "I Learned How to Make Love from the Movies":
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: "Roses". "BBM Baby" is also evocative of this type of relationship.
- Smarter Than You Look: She invented the Lana Del Rey (then spelled Lana Del Ray) persona by herself back in 2008, and writes both the words and the melodies for most (if not all) of her material.
- Smoking Is Glamorous: Often invoked as part of her "Old Hollywood starlet" image."I hope you remember me like this / Smoking cigarettes in my sundress"
- Something Blues: "Pawn Shop Blues" on Lana Del Ray.
- Spell My Name with an S: It's spelled Lana Del Ray when referring to her debut album, and Lana Del Rey otherwise.
- She discarded the "a" in favor of an "e" sometime after the release of Lana Del Ray in 2010. That album was promoted with the correct spelling for a while, but the older variation stuck all the same.
- Stepford Smiler: "Carmen", "All Smiles".
"I'm not who you think I am / Smiling but I ain't happy"
- In "Tired Of Singing The Blues":
"So many people think that you have it together / But they don't see you crying in the shower, but I can make you better"
- Lana sings about her lover being one of these in "Birds of a Feather":
- Studio Chatter: Between the chorus and the second verse of "West Coast":"Mic check - one two, one two... get it, girl!"
- Subdued Section: "Diet Mountain Dew" - being one of the most upbeat songs on Born To Die - has one, with the beat dropping out for a few measures and the singing being softer.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: The music video for "Doin' Time" where an oversized Del Rey steps out of a drive-in movie she's in to help take revenge on a guy cheating on his date with another woman. The woman she was defending was honoured by the revenge - but she still runs away from the scene considering a giant woman has just killed two people. But to cover her tracks, Del Rey climbs back inside the film-screen.
- Sweet Tooth: Her favorite food is chocolate cake and she is famous for her love of soft drinks and regularly references them in her songs, most notably "Diet Mountain Dew".
- Title Track: Her main album releases each have one.
- Take That!: "So Legit", being a decidedly unsubtle "The Reason You Suck" Speech towards Lady Gaga:"Stefani, you suck."
- An immature unnamed ex-boyfriend trying to be a poet got this treatment in "Norman Fucking Rockwell". Fan speculation has named James Franco as the likely target.
- There's also "Fucked My Way Up To The Top", which is obviously aimed at someone, though Lana has never said exactly who. One popular theory is that it's about Lorde, who has had no qualms about criticizing Lana whilst also citing her as an inspiration.
- Take That, Audience!: In a recent interview: "I just don't want them to hear it. I'm very selfish; I make everything for me... It's just for me. I don't want them to hear it or think about it; it's none of their business."
- Take That, Critics!: "Radio" can be interpreted this way, as can more than a few of the songs on Ultraviolence ("I'm a dragon, you're a whore" from ""Fucked My Way Up To The Top" is one example). "Black Bathing Suit" pokes a few barbs at those criticing her earlier performances and her social media activities."Your interest really made stacks out of it for me"
- Talks like a Simile: A lot in "JFK".
- Also in "Hot Hot Hot", if more subtly.
- Teacher/Student Romance: The focus of the songs "Baby Blue Love", "Boarding School", "Marilyn Monroe", "Ridin'", "Take Me To Paris", and "Prom Song (Gone Wrong)". Alluded to in "Lolita".
- Team Mom: Has somewhat taken on this role for her fans - demonstrated the most readily in her latest album Lust For Life, which she wrote for them. The album repeatedly expresses Lana's admiration of youth facing the world's troubles head-on, and that she stands with them every step of the way.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: The backing vocals on "Cherry" make humorous use of this trope to round out each chorus.
- Three Chords and the Truth: Sirens is made up of 15 acoustic songs, all written using the same four chords.
- A lot of Lana's earlier tracks (or at least those made in the interrim between Sirens and Lana Del Ray) are stripped-back in comparison to those found on Born To Die and Paradise.
- Three Minutes of Writhing: The oversized Lana Del Rey does this in the video for "Doin' Time", before she steps out of her drive-in movie to attack a guy cheating on his date.
- Took a Level in Cheerfulness: Comparing "Born To Die" (2012) and "Lust For Life" (2017), it's hard to believe they were written by the same singer. The album titles say it all how Lana's outlook on life has become sunnier over time. And just to drive the point home, she's smiling on the album cover.
- The album cover for Norman Fucking Rockwell has Lana, for the first time, not the only person on the cover. She's also reaching out to the listener as though to pull them on board the boat, and her expression is dreamy and wistful. Shame about the bushfire disaster unfolding in the background...
- The standard cover for Chemtrails Over the Country Club features an ecstatic Lana hanging out with her friends.
- An alternative cover for Blue Banisters sees her grin return while hanging out with her dogs.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Spaghetti and chocolate cake, according to an interview with Vogue Australia.
- All kinds of soda, for that matter. This might seem inferred from song titles like "Cola" or "Diet Mountain Dew", but she mentions a lot of different sodas in a lot of other songs.
- Trashy Trailer Home: She's a big fan of this trope both in lyrics and visuals, likely inspired by her own time living in a New Jersey trailer park, during the making of Lana Del Ray.
"Back to Malibu, in our trailer park for two / We're like Sid and Nancy loving the fight""Baby, we could go back to the basics / Trailer park love, wearin' them Asics and gold""Dance at night back in Alabama / Christmas lights on my teal green trailer"
- She is shown singing about a sleazy-sounding waitress job in a trailer park in the video for "White Dress", seemingly a Call-Back to the bridge of "Every Man Gets His Wish".
- "Yayo" has her begging a possibly abusive partner to "take me right now / From this dark trailer park."
- As heard in "Backfire", "Back To Tha Basics" and "Pin Up Galore":
- Tyop on the Cover: A fair few of her homemade demos' original file names. "Neon Palmmm", "Coca Colla", "So Legittt"...
- Unusual Euphemism: "Fly body, dope in the face." Also, "we're gonna ride the gold rollercoaster."
- "White Mustang" could very well be referring to a horse rather than a car (although the car was named after the horse breed)...
- "You say you'll tap it like a hi-hat..."
- "My baby used to dance underneath my architecture."
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: You'd think so, what with Sirens focusing on love (and loss) in a much Lighter and Softer way than Born To Die.
- That being said, tracks like "My Momma" are proof that May Jailer already had shades of the Darker and Edgier Lana Del Rey in her.
- The Vamp: Far too often to list.
- Verbal Tic: "Bar-t-t-tender"
- Vocal Tag Team: With her (ex-)boyfriend Barrie-James O'Neill in their cover of Lee Hazlewood's "Summer Wine".
- Also with Nikki Lane in "Breaking Up Slowly" and Miles Kane in "Dealer".
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Lana's love interest in the videos for "Born to Die" and "Blue Jeans".
- We Used to Be Friends: With Lady Gaga, if "So Legit" is any indication.
- Wham Line: "My pussy tastes like Pepsi-Cola."
- When She Smiles: Lana suddenly smiling at the end of the music video "Lust For Life".
- Word Salad Lyrics / Phrase Salad Lyrics: "Come When You Call Me A.M.E.R.I.C.A.".
"If heaven thinks that everything is everything..."
- "Methamphetamines". Good grief.
- "Dayglo Reflection":
- Working Title: "My Song 57".
- World of Symbolism: Tropico pretty much runs on this, being "a tale of redemption" - i.e. a retelling of the beginning of Genesis according to Lana.
- Wrong Side of the Tracks: "Cola" references LA's skid row.
"Thirty blocks to Fordham Road / That's a bad neighborhood / Crackhouse on the corner / I know I shouldn't do what it is I could"
- Lana paints us a picture of Fordham Road in "Fordham Road":
- Yandere: "She's Not Me".
- "Jealous Girl".