Friday, August 23, 2019

The Greatest - Lana Del Rey

To the interest of probably next-to-no-one reading this, I have to share the magnificent, new portmanteau video from Lana del Rey. I woke up this morning, had breakfast, sat down at my PC and checked Feedly and this was almost the first thing I saw.

I opened the video fullscreen on YouTube and sat back in awe. There is just so much there to take in. The density and weight of everything Lana's done over this last year is stunning. It sometimes takes me dozens of views and listens to come to even a hesitant conclusion on what I'm seeing and hearing. I'm slowly coming around to the belief that she's the sharpest, smartest lyricist I've ever heard but she also has a visual sensibilty and wholistic approach that other contenders I've admired and even worshipped over the years just can't match.


There's a very perceptive review of the video and one of the two songs it contains on Pitchfork. I don't always find Pitchfork's reviewers either convincing or entertaining but this one's on the money. That song, "The Greatest", seems to me to be both a commentary on our times, something Lana increasingly excels at, and an apocalyptic science fiction vision. It's the second of the pair and it starts at 4.23, although I very strongly recommend watching the full nine minutes, nineteen seconds from the start.

The coda, quoted in both Pitchfork pieces, paints an unforgettable picture of a world going down in flames:

"If this is it, I’m signing off
Miss doing nothing the most of all
Oh, I just missed a fireball
L.A.’s in flames, it’s getting hot
Kanye West is blond and gone
“Life on Mars” ain’t just a song
Oh, the livestream’s almost on"

Lana's old life is lost and gone and ours too. Everyone who can flee has fled but for most there's nowhere to run. Mars is our last, only hope. The screengrab at the top of the post, Lana a living figurehead on the prow of a ship named Wipeout, heading into a bleak and occluded sunset, well, it says it all.

And that final line - "Oh, the livestream's almost on" - hits like a truck. The end of the world will not be televised. It will be livestreamed.

Norman Fucking Rockwell is shaping up to be the best album I've ever heard. I just pre-ordered.

Ain't life (bitter)sweet?

4 comments:

  1. Well that first track wont be getting a lot of commercial airplay!
    Lana is absolutely brilliant. I admire and appreciate her songs but cant just enjoy them as they are so full of melancholy.

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    1. She really is. She's the Queen of Sad. When she started to get famous there was a huge kerfuffle about how "authentic" she was but I think her persona is widely accepted now. How melancholy she is in real life, who knows? I've never thought it really matters - it's creativity not biography.

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  2. The recent series on music has been interesting. So note to that.

    I've been a fan of Lana for a long time as well, though in honesty I try to avoid the videos since they tend to be 80% filler/swerving, and 20% related. The songs though... beaut.

    Have you listened to Fiona Apple? Apparently she's in studio now. Very similar artists... frankly when I first heard LdR I thought it was Fiona.

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    1. No, and I should. I've known her name for a long time but - and this itells you plenty about how I think - I've never followed upon her because she's called Apple! I'll look into it!

      And glad someoone's enjoying the music posts. I'm going to pull back on it when Blaugust ends but I'm going to keep filtering some music posts in because I really enjoy doing them.

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