Today I’ve chosen a song by my favourite female artist, Lizzy Grant, aka Lana Del Rey. Her full name is Elizabeth Woolridge Grant. This New York based American singer and song writer was born on June 21, 1986. She started off her career singing at bars and clubs in her home place, New York, at the age of 18. Lana was 21 years old when she signed her first recording contract with 5 points record and released her album “Lana Del Rey a.k.a Lizzy Grant in January 2012. She ditched 5 Points Records in April 2012 and signed on to Stranger Records later to release her debut single Video Games. She creates her own music videos and explains how she loves to put together short clips of old Hollywood movies, her singing, and adventures filmed in New York. Her video for Video Games, which she created herself, went viral on YouTube. She sold over 2.8 million copies worldwide when she released her second studio album “Born to Die” in 2012. It became one of the best-selling albums in 2012. Various hits from the album were “Blue Jeans”, “National Anthem”, and “Summertime Sadness”. I love all her songs so I don’t think I could give you my favourites, but a couple are “Million Dollar Man”, “Mermaid Motel”, “Put Me in a Movie”, “Blue Jeans”, “Bel-air”, “Trash(Miss America)”, “Hundred Dollar Bills”, “Kinda Outta Luck”, “Yayo”, and “Lolita”. Her singing/song style, persona, videos, and clothing style is really reminiscing of 1950’s/60’s Hollywood and Americana. She’s been compared to Nancy Sinatra a lot. I first heard Lana in grade eight when I read about her in a blog (BlogSpot).
The blogger wrote that Lana reminded her of a more rugged Nancy Sinatra when it came to her voice and persona. I then immediately listened to all of her 70 plus songs and became obsessed. The song I chose today is called “Ride”. I was very torn when I was deciding a song to choose by Lana but I finally came down to this one because found that I could analyze it easily. I think it’s pretty relatable to almost anyone who’s dealt with conflicts in their life which caused them to reach this pneumatic point of madness where they just can’t take it anymore and wish they could escape their problems. I find it a little different from some of her songs; more “subtle” you could call it. Snippets of it were released September. 25, 2012 through Interscope Records, Polydor Records, and Universal Music. It was written by Lana herself, with the help of Justin Parks who also helped her write Video Games. The video for the song is amazing, although it’s 10 minutes long because of an amazingly written monologue, is worth watching. It was released with the video on October 10th at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica and saw an official release on October 12. (Play Song)
I admire how the song starts with a kind of “sigh” then she gushes out the first lyric. My interpretation of this song is that she plays the role of a social reject who runs away from most of her problems causing her to be on the verge of a meltdown. She is alone and is trying to find her place in this world. The beginning of the song shows she’s been out exploring on her own. In the lyrics “I’ve been out on that open road, you can be my full-time daddy, white and gold”, she shows that she is longing for companionship and doesn’t want to be alone. She doesn’t care what he’s like because she’s desperate for someone to be there for her and act as a security so she feels safe. “Singing Blues has been getting old” is a reference to her song “Pawn Shop Blues” which she’s sung at numerous clubs in New York which must’ve gotten tiring. This shows that Lana is looking for some inner comfort, or find “home” in a person but knows that she might not be able to find that or it will never be enough, so she just continues on a journey ignoring her morals and being very indecisive. The second verse, “Don’t break me down, I’ve been traveling too long, I’ve been trying too hard” explains how she’s at her lowest point and she’s asking to not break her down because she doesn’t think she can handle it anymore (both mentally, and emotionally) considering she’s given up so much for this rebellious lifestyle.
After these verses is the chorus. It talks about her being a drifter and avoiding her problems. I also think she might be ignoring her own thoughts and kind of running away from herself. She might be avoiding her thoughts in the mornings because she is so preoccupied but in the verse “I am alone in the night” tells us she’s alone with nothing but her thoughts which is nerve-wrecking for her. “I drive fast”, I think this is her trying to not stay in one place too long and wanting to get away from it all. This shows she’s constantly afraid of being hurt. She longs for some sort of companionship because she knows she’s alone and may be using this whole “I’m free spirit” motto as a cover up to conceal her vulnerable side. When Lana sings “Been trying hard not to get into trouble” I think she means trying not to turn to alcohol and drugs to fix her problems. “I’ve got a war in my mind” could explain that she’s a wild and crazy person which might cause her to result in doing something self-destructive. This verse also might mean she’s having trouble between choosing what’s right or wrong, or even an identity crisis.
The set of verses after the chorus (“Dying young and I’m…”) I believe she is talking about how she is aware how dangerous and self-destructive this lifestyle is when she talks about dying young, but I think she wouldn’t have it any other way because she calls this life “an art”. “That’s the way my father made his life an art”. I believe this means being able to turn her pain from all the hardships she’s faced and is still facing in life, into a raw-like and beautiful piece of art. Also, when she sings “Leave me high and dry”, I don’t know if it was on purpose, but I thought of the song by Radiohead “High and Dry” which I love. The chorus repeats itself again after these verses.
In the bridge of the song, Lana talks about how she’s tired of this lifestyle and kind of hints at why* she’s doing the things she’s doing. (I’m tired of feeling like I’m freaking crazy, I’m tired of driving till I see stars in my eyes). I think it shows that she was an outcast and feels like a freak for a great amount of time, that she’s exhausted of feeling this way, but then again she might feel it’s pointless to strive for an ordinary life. Maybe she does want to fix things but everything has piled up so much, she doesn’t know where to begin so, she “just rides”. It scares her to know how obsessed she is with freedom and how quickly she wants to get away from things. Running away from all the judgment and issues she had in the past is the only way she can keep herself sane and happy but is not sure if it’s the right and most importantly safest route to go. In conclusion, the song gives a rebellious, free-spirit, “letting-loose” vibe. I think things were very chaotic and it was too much for her to handle so she decides to run away (metaphorically).
She wants to be free, from herself, her mind, and her internal conflicts, by living on the edge. Basically she runs away from her problems but they keep catching up to her no matter how far she makes it. Maybe she knows that there is so much wrong with her life but she doesn’t even know where to begin or how to solve all these conflicts. Pieces of her life suddenly started to fall apart too quickly for her to fix. This is why she “just rides”. She just aimlessly roams the roads searching for peace, freedom, and excitement to get her mind off her problems. I personally loved this song because of the meaning, how cinematic it was, and the specific tired like emotion she had in her voice when she sung this. I think Lana is a very emotional person, or at least she wants to be, but does not like to be vulnerable or pitied for.
..I knew that it takes getting everything you ever wanted and then losing it to know what true freedom is. When the people I used to know found out what I had been doing, how I had been living- they asked me why. But there’s no use in talking to people who have a home, they have no idea what it’s like to seek safety in other people, for home to be wherever you lied you head. I was always an unusual girl…my mother told me I had a chameleon soul. No moral compass pointing north, no fixed personality. ”
“Who are you? Are you in touch with all your darkest fantasies? Have you created a life for yourself where you’re free to experience them? I Have. I Am Crazy. But I Am Free.”