Over the past decade, Lana Del Rey has meticulously crafted and crafted her own pop universe – a universe equal parts raw reality and sheer escape. âI am writing my own story. And no one can say it except me “, she said tweeted with a video clip for the title song of blue ramps, coming in 2021.
Most of the World was introduced to Del Rey with the independently released âVideo Gamesâ in 2011 and then âBlue Jeans,â both of which were accompanied by rambling, self-fulfilling videos that seemed to half celebrate and half satirize the iconography. American. In these early videos, Del Rey portrays herself as a vampire from another era, obsessed with love and the American dream, themes that have dominated her work for the past 10 years.
The images Del Rey created are inextricably linked to his music; in many ways she is above all a visual artist. “He’s the most involved artist I’ve ever worked with,” Kinga Burza, director of Del Rey’s 2015 “Music to Watch Boys To” video, told Billboard.
We reviewed his video and selected 10 of his best videos.
10. “Music to watch the boys”
Music video for second single from Del Rey’s 2015 album Honeymoon is as lush and tranquil as the song itself. The clip cuts fluidly between crisp black-and-white photos of Del Rey surrounded by spinning gramophones – barely glancing at the shirtless boys playing basketball nearby – and blue-tinted visions of the artist and his friends floating angelically in the water. It’s narratively simpler than most of the singer’s visuals, but it’s this unexpected simplicity that makes “Music to Watch Boys To” so mesmerizing.
Directed by Del Rey, the nearly 11-minute video for “Freak,” a promotional single from Honeymoon, moves at a deliberately narcotic pace. Singer-songwriter Father John Misty plays a Jim Morrison-style figure who presides over a hippie cabal while Del Rey portrays his wife alternately dejected and in love. When she gently drops a tablet of acid onto Misty’s tongue, he’s instantly surrounded by a harem of adorable, flax-haired women (there’s more than a whiff of the Manson family everywhere). Placed on Claude Debussy’s âClair de Luneâ, the second half of the video is a long underwater scene, almost identical to that of âMusic to Watch Boys Toâ, evoking a watercolor that comes to life.
The dreamy and sunny video of “Love”, the first single of 2017 Desire for life, follows a group of suburban teens, including one dressed as Rose McGowan’s character from the cult ’90s film The Doom Generation, as they assemble in a planetarium, where they are transported into space and marvel at a solar eclipse while bathing in the celestial waters. Director Rich Lee’s video – not to mention Lana’s singing performance – perfectly captures the wonder of teenage love.
7. “Luxury of life”
Hollywood is a recurring theme in the music and visuals of Del Rey, and the video for âLust for Life,â a duet with fellow pop visionary colleague The Weeknd, takes place almost entirely atop Tinseltown’s most iconic symbol. Del Rey plays the singer in love with a group of girls who climb the Hollywood Sign to meet her lover, who may or may not be there. She looks longingly over the side of the giant letters – which director Clark Jackson created in his garage with papier-mÃ¢chÃ© and wire mesh – and takes the plunge, landing alongside The Weeknd in a field of poppies (a symbol of remembrance). Whether his death was literal or symbolic, the point remains: like the Dream Factory promises, life and love are but illusions.
6. “Chemtrails on the country club”
The Wizard of Oz meets An American werewolf in London in this peculiar and utterly captivating video for Del Rey’s title track Chemtrails on the Country Club, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. A feverish dream in which the titular vapor trails conjure up tornadoes, shifting aspect ratios and, apparently, a hunger for fresh lemons from the local farm’s stand, the video develops on fire, a hallucinatory spell evoked in his visual for 2014’s “West Coast”. At the end, Del Rey takes off his shimmering mesh face mask and prowls the forest (hunting birds, diamonds and, presumably , men to devour) before crawling to his bed. Carnivorous conspiracy theories have never been so glamorous and decadent.
“Ride”, from the years 2012 paradise EP, marked a change in musical style and visual aesthetics for Del Rey. Unlike the trip-hop infused pop and noir-inspired visuals of Born to die, “Ride” telegraphed the more roots direction the artist would take for his follow-up, Ultraviolence. Directed by Anthony Mandler, who also directed Del Rey’s Tropic short film, “Ride” is a vision of the Americana imbued with totems of masculinity. Del Rey plays a black haired singer, “not very popular”, who joins a gang of nomadic bikers and becomes their lover. The video is a melancholy portrayal of what “America was like,” the kind of idealistic imagery that has raised criticisms of the artist over the years. But “Ride” is by turns sad, disturbing and beautiful.
4. “Video games”
It was no coincidence that it was the song and the video that introduced “Lana Del Rey” to the world. In the hazy, vintage images of Los Angeles that Del Rey personally collected, âVideo Gamesâ is an uplifting tale of Hollywood’s exploitation of young women, a theme that runs through the artist’s entire work. If the song itself is about how far a girl will go for love, the video makes you wonder what she would do for the fame.
3. “Make time”
The video for Del Rey’s perfect cover of Sublime’s “Doin ‘Time”, which reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Rock & Alternative Airplay charts in 2019, is a playful tribute to both his southern adopted home. from California and the 1958 B movie. 50 foot woman attack. Directed by Rich Lee, this film-in-a-mini-film is excitingly transformed into a feminist statement when a giant version of Del Rey comes out of a movie screen in an attempt to get revenge on a youngster’s two-time boyfriend. female (also played by Del Rey). It’s indicative of the singer’s commitment to bridging the gap between nostalgia for the past and acknowledging his, well, his flaws.
2. “High near the beach”
The video for âHigh by the Beach,â directed by Jake Nava, plays out like a deceptively quiet opening scene from an action thriller. Del Rey wanders barefoot in an empty Malibu rental, clad in a nightgown and bathrobe, avoiding the prying eyes of a black helicopter flying overhead. When the helicopter is out of sight, she slides down to the rocky beach below and retrieves a hidden guitar case, pulls out a grenade launcher, and detonates the helicopter from the sky. The burnt pages of a supermarket tabloid float in the air, revealing the voyeuristic intruder is a reporter looking for a scoop – and Del Rey as the next Bond girl contender.
1. “National anthem”
The film video for “National Anthem”, a remarkable song from the aptly titled Born to die, reimagines John F. Kennedy as a cigar-blowing playboy (played by A $ AP Rocky) and Del Rey as a Jackie O / Marilyn Monroe hybrid for the 21st century. In the video – which is shot in a grainy Super-8 style – she watches in horror as her doomed romance and the American Dream come to an expected but devastating conclusion nonetheless. Fitting into Camelot’s tragic backstory was a bold move, but we’d expect nothing less from the Queen of Pop Nostalgia.