Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Lana Del Rey drops two sadcore trap singles, edging fans

Benjamin Garcia

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To the background of causal fans angered by the uncertainty of Lust For Life’s release date — and more loyal fans pledging allegiance to the Americana songstress, saying they are willing to wait for as long as it takes for singer Lana Del Rey to finally win enough recognition to earn herself a Grammy (being nominated twice) : Lana Del Rey has released the singles Groupie Love (ft. A$AP Rocky) and Summer Bummer (ft. A$AP Rocky and Playboi Carti); and has communicated to the original lipsters (Lana Del Rey’s biggest fans) the attitude of the record and the extent of genres used in the mix of what will be Del Rey’s most eclectic and electric aesthetic yet.

Rapper and fan favorite A$AP Rocky, who played John F. Kennedy in the National Anthem music video, is featured on both of the tracks released by Universal Music Group International on July 12.

It seems as though though Rocky plays the same character of a dynamic and beautiful man who corrupts and electrifies the speaker — the speaker communicates this experience as being timeless and elevating to the level of legend and fantasy.

The first verse indeed sets a scene as captivating as the object of desire that the speaker is obsessed with: “You’re in the bar playing guitar./ I’m trying not to let the crowd next to me./ It’s so hard sometimes with the star/ When you have to share him with everybody.// You’re in the club, living it up./ I’m trying not to let the crowd notice me./ It’s so sweet, swingin’ to the beat/ When I know that you’re doing it all for me.”

The lyrics are mostly free of the witchy aesthetic outlined in the Lust For Life album trailer, besides the lines possibly relating to casting spells in the second verse: “Taking our dreams, turning them to things/ It’s like magic, babe, isn’t life wonderful?”

In the bridge rapped by A$AP Rocky, we are reminded of how much we love the leading man’s vocabulary — especially when he makes a bunch of nasty slant rhymes with the word “irate –” which is a perfect word choice as the male speaker described the female speaker as having the power to summon or conjure the dark side of himself, who is characterized by rage.

This might illustrate the symbolism behind Lana Del Rey’s adoption of a more outwardly magical aesthetic.

Del Rey is describing a newly found creative power that can be harnessed in order to use her will to get what she wants — be it a man’s love, success, the downfall of the Trump regime.

It is an expression of pure sexuality and sacred femininity — and an attitude of a nurturing, guiding and providing character.

Everything she does is larger than life because she has learned how to be a goddess — which is a logical development in the plot of the narrative created throughout Del Rey’s work.

Yes she is manipulating men with her womanhood, but for the greater good.

Notice that the speaker makes her man love her, but she doesn’t steal him away from the public eye — she shares him because she knows that being a rock star makes the male speaker happy.

The track employs a hypnotic, swaying melody in C Major with a mid 60’s kind of chord progression.

There is a notable amount of reverberation and a sensible slap-back on Del Rey’s vocals. In the chorus, a string section swells and is otherwise present in the track. A$AP’s vocals are crisp (as is usually required to understand the words in rap music). After the ninth measure of the track (which is in three-quarter time, making it optimal to slow dance or have sex to), the passive trap beats start to hit — with a barely there kick, simple high hats and a snap that follows the melody. An electric guitar lurks in the distance.

Summer Bummer is similar in sound — replacing the ever-present strings with an ever-present piano, and a lurking electric guitar with a lurking rapper Playboi Carti and the passive vocals with something icky-sticky, sexy, sassy and mischievous. All this makes for a cleaner sound than Groupie Love.

This song for the Summer is the best of the singles off of Lust For Life — with lush and concise lyrics — and a very sure theme and lyrical composition.

In Groupie Love, the speaker is somewhat disappointed that though she gets what she wanted ( the rock star of her dreams), has to share him with the world (and possibly another woman) — whereas in Summer Bummer all the speakers included on the track are cheating on their significant others with each other.

It is unclear if Rocky and Carti represent the same, singular love interest figure in Groupie Love, National Anthem and Ridin’ — or if the two male speakers are two of the female speaker’s lovers who compete for each other — of if the three speakers are all having a threesome (which is really a pleasant mental image).

The vocal style of Del Rey in this song calls to mind a self-styled persona the singer invented years ago of a “gangsta Nancy Sinatra –” as Del Rey sounds like an old Hollywood starlet, a Jessica Rabbit, a femme fatale.

Lyrically the song is almost definitive of Del Rey’s style as seen throughout the song: “Can’t get you out of my veins./ You can’t escape my affection./ Wrap you up in my daisy chains./ Be my undercover lover…/ White lights and black beaches/ And blood red sangrias./ We traveled for weeks, just to escape your demons./ But you’ve got your reasons/ In making me crazy.”

A$AP starting his verse with “her sophistication makes you wanna quit the bitch you datin’” is perfect.

Perhaps some of us were glad to see that Lust For Life will not be as uppity as we were led to believe because of the general lack of melancholia in the three earlier releases, Coachella (Woodstock In My Mind) Love and Lust for Life.

Though not completely wallowing in a state of despair — Del Rey experiments with a tone of malcontent, a mixture of completeness and disappointment, with both of the Alternative Rock and Hip Hop fusion songs.

The fan-base’s attitude towards this complicated expression of love, lust, gratitude and yearning illustrates an interesting facet of the point of fascination surrounding Del Rey’s work.

For many, it is not about the sexuality, aesthetic or even sound — it’s the singer’s ethereal and lush writing style that attracts sad girls and gays like moths to a flame.

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Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.
Lana Del Rey drops two sadcore trap singles, edging fans