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The Hollywood Insider Lana Del Rey

Everyone has a different image in their minds when they hear the name Lana Del Rey. You might be thinking of cherry coke and vintage cars, driving past Venice Beach. You might think of the coquette aesthetic of pink bows and girly dresses. You might even think of her recent hangouts with Taylor Swift at the Grammys and the Super Bowl. With all of these connotations, Lana Del Rey is an unapologetic woman whose art is one not to be messed with.

One thing that Lana Del Rey has made clear in recent years is that she is one to laugh at herself and do things for the heck of it. She was recently spotted working at an Alabama Waffle House and shamelessly posting photos on Instagram of her holding a handgun and a vape. She even wore a dress that she had bought straight off the rack at a shopping mall to the Grammys. Though she doesn’t take herself too seriously, this doesn’t mean that we should dismiss her as an artist.

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Lana Del Rey is no stranger to scrutiny, similarly to every female artist. Her body has recently been a topic of conversation among fans, as comments on weight gain have circled the internet (as if this is something that should even be discussed. Her body is none of our business). Grammy voters have stated that they are unable to take her seriously as an artist, due to an infamous ‘Saturday Night Live’ performance of her hit song “Video Games”. You can tell that she is nervous, as she looks down at the floor as she sings, and sways awkwardly. Through the years, her confidence in live performances has grown. Her performance of the same song on ‘The Late Show with Davis Letterman’ truly redeemed her in 2012. Her raw emotion seeps through the camera, and her soft vocals mix perfectly with her liberties within the melody. She smiles at the end of her performance, with an “I did it!” energy that should be celebrated. Recent performances of the song feature her swinging on a flowered swing, to demonstrate the flowing melodies within the song. Nowadays, performances of the heartbreaking ballad move audiences as they sing along to “it’s you, it’s you, it’s all for you.”

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Lana Del Rey, born Lizzy Grant, grew up in upstate New York. Though she grew up financially comfortable, she still dealt with struggles at home. Dealing with an abusive mother, she struggled with her mental health and destructive behavior in her youth. In her song “Wildflower Wildfire” she sings “My father never stepped in/When his wife would rage at me/So I ended up awkward but sweet/Later than hospitals and still on my feet/Comfortably numb but with lithium came poetry,” as these lyrics not only helped her tell her own story but helped those in similar situations cope with their struggles. She was sent to a boarding school and later attended Fordham University. After releasing music under her birth name and performing throughout New York City with her indie labels, she released her breakthrough album Born to Die in 2012 and the rest is history.

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12 years later, Lana Del Rey’s music not only holds up but is extremely popular. Hits such as “Diet Mt. Dew” and “Radio” are still extremely relevant and listened to, becoming a hit on apps like Instagram and TikTok. She releases music like a machine, as she is currently working on her 10th album, which is said to be a country album. The themes of her music call back to the 1950s and 1960s, abusive relationships, and the psychedelic Americana nostalgia. Her song “Coachella-Woodstock In My Mind” calls back to the two music festivals and her protectiveness of young people in these situations. Many of her lyrics tell of risky behaviors, like affairs and drug use. Though these serious topics seem to be taboo for a woman to be singing about in the alternative pop genre, her audiences love and deeply relate to Lana Del Rey and her experiences.

Her most recent album “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd” tells modern stories of love, sex, and womanhood. Thoughout the album, she experiments with hip-hop elements, utilizing rap in “A&W” and utilizing these beats in “Peppers”. In the song “Peppers” she notably sings of her boyfriend testing positive for COVID-19- lyrics that remind us where we are in time, contrasting with her past of nostalgia in her songs. In the title song, she sings, arguably, one of the most heartbreaking lyrics of her career “love me until I love myself”. This song reaches out to audiences who struggle with self-esteem and accepting who they are. She sings “When’s it gonna be my turn?/Don’t forget me.” As she cries out these lyrics at the end of this ballad, we feel deeply for her and ourselves.

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Other notable lyrics plague her past albums such as “Norman F*cking Rockwell” and “Chemtrails Over The Country Club”. The title songs of these albums are some of her strongest. In “Norman F*cking Rockwell” she sings “Cause you’re just a man / It’s just what you do/ Your head in your hands / As you color me blue”. Though Lana Del Rey usually utilizes metaphors to explain her feelings in her music, she puts it all out there in this song. She comments on the fact that no matter how good we think someone may be and how good they make us feel, at the end of the day, they are still a person and have these selfish tendencies. Throughout the song, she comments on toxic masculinity within men, and how it affects her life and other women. In “Chemtrails Over The Country Club” she sings “You’re in the wind, I’m in the water / Nobody’s son, nobody’s daughter / Watching the chemtrails over the country club / Suburbia, The Brentwood Market / What to do next? Maybe we’ll love it / White picket chemtrails over the country club”, a set of lyrics that have gone viral on TikTok. One of her many themes is exploring the darker sides of the perfect Americana aesthetic. It almost feels like a callback to her past. Though she grew up with a comfortable lifestyle and a happy-looking family, she felt as if she was nobody’s daughter.

With her Coachella headlining performance coming up in a matter of months, Lana Del Rey serves a reminder that just because a woman likes to joke around, we should not dismiss their mind and their hard work. Your body does not define you. A mistake does not define the hard work she has put into her career. Lana Del Rey is a force in the music industry. The longevity of her career and her poetic lyrics demonstrate just how seriously she deserves to be taken in the industry, even if she wants to laugh in her personal life.

Lana Del Rey will be headlining at numerous festivals across America and Europe this year. Her next live performance will be on April 12 and 19 at Coachella, alongside fellow headliners, Tyler, the Creator and Doja Cat.

By Abigail Johnson

Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Cinema, TV and Media. An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, We have the space and time for all your stories, no matter who/what/where you are. Media/Cinema/TV have a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so. Talent, diversity and authenticity matter in Cinema/TV, media and storytelling. In fact, I reckon that we should announce “talent-diversity-authenticity-storytelling-Cinema-Oscars-Academy-Awards” as synonyms of each other. We show respect to talent and stories regardless of their skin color, race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, etc., thus allowing authenticity into this system just by something as simple as accepting and showing respect to the human species’ factual diversity. We become greater just by respecting and appreciating talent in all its shapes, sizes, and forms. Award winners, which includes nominees, must be chosen on the greatness of their talent ALONE.

I am sure I am speaking for a multitude of Cinema lovers all over the world when I speak of the following sentiments that this medium of art has blessed me with. Cinema taught me about our world, at times in English and at times through the beautiful one-inch bar of subtitles. I learned from the stories in the global movies that we are all alike across all borders. Remember that one of the best symbols of many great civilizations and their prosperity has been the art they have left behind. This art can be in the form of paintings, sculptures, architecture, writings, inventions, etc. For our modern society, Cinema happens to be one of them. Cinema is more than just a form of entertainment, it is an integral part of society. I love the world uniting, be it for Cinema, TV, media, art, fashion, sport, etc. Please keep this going full speed.”

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