Lana Del Rey, the siren known more for her Saturday Night Live gaffe than her talent, has probably been looking for a way to distinguish herself to the point where people stop referring to her as "the siren known more for her Saturday Night Live gaffe than her talent." To that effect, she is releasing a video of questionable taste for a song with limited charm off her first album, Born to Die.
It seems like a smart move. What better way to let go of the past than to release a new single from your well-produced first album? Especially when you've got unreleased thought-provoking songs like "This Is What Makes Us Girls" and the peculiar "Off to the Races" which goes back and forth between her low contralto range to an almost child-like whisper of a voice. That vocal transition jars the listener into questioning exactly which Lana Del Rey is the real one: The deep, harrowing adult or the unoffending, ingénue still learning her way. More than likely, she is both, but the songs on her album pinpoint with direct accuracy how dark the American Dream can be. Although that theme has been beaten to death, for her, it works. If the lyrics are a bit tired, the music and vocals are beautiful enough to keep people listening.
That being said, while the video she's releasing for her song "National Anthem" may not be the worst song on the album (it is), it certainly isn't the best (it is the worst).
Of all the songs on Born to Die, this one abuses the difference in its lyrics between sexy-money and sexuality-social status. The entire song switches back and forth between those former motifs as though they're the only things in the world that relate to each other. "I'm your national anthem/God, you're so handsome/Take me to the Hamptons, Bugatti Veyron/He loves to romance them, Reckless abandon/Holding me for ransom, Upper echelon." It's like that through the whole song. One stanza about love (or the poor man's version because g-d help us all if this is actually love) and the next about money. Over and over and over. Talk about trite.
At the 2:50 mark.
Not only that, but the music video is set to star her as Jackie O. and, wait for it, A$AP Rocky as JFK. And no, that's not a punchline in an SNL skit (yet). The first-impression absurdity of this music video concept isn't helped any by the fact that the hip-hop rising star announced in an interview in Berlin, Germany, that, "'Anthem's' video is some 2015 shit. People gonna get it in, like, three years."
Well that's great. Let's take an artist who's already as divisive as they come and put her in a video as one of the most iconic women in American history, then cast a man whose stage name has a dollar sign in it (I blame Ke$ha) as an even bigger icon -- who died in 1963, yet, no one will understand for three more years. All of that, and it accompanies a poorly written song?
Here's hoping this release has the effect Lana Del Rey wants it to... Whatever that may be.