Lana Del Rey’s highly anticipated single West Coast has dropped after the noir queen’s performance of the song at Coachella last night. Writing this as a fan, you should be prepared for a biased opinion, but I am happy to be be biased in this case. I would have trouble admitting if the singer’s new ballad was a complete and utter failure, yet I was compelled to write this due to sheer appreciation of the edgy yet mildly more mainstream new tune.
The starlet has rocketed herself into superstardom recently, a big feat for a singer who has yet to even have a radio hit. The marketing and timing of West Coast was impeccable, not to mention that the track is not only easier for the non-fan to like, but highly intelligent compared to her previous work. Ultraviolence, the title to her upcoming album is a reference to the iconically eery novel “A Clockwork Orange” written by Anthony Burgess. Not out of character for the pensive princess.
This track is a fierce departure from the dark and moody mumblings of Born To Die, yet manifests LDR’s aura and image just as authentically. Familiar themes are still embedded within the lyrics and breathy vocals of this one, only this time they are accompanied by pleasantly unexpected guitars.
If you follow Lana, you know she finds Nirvana as well as other grunge rock icons inspiring – but in West Coast we finally heard that inspiration. Can we thank Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys for that? It’s definitely a possibility, seeing as he produced the single and most likely swayed the singer from her retro orchestral past into a gritty and transcendent musical future. Del Rey stays true to her melancholic roots while managing to bypass any anti-climactic instrumentals, seemingly giving a middle finger to the negative reviews of her debut album.
The seductively introverted star has proved that you do not have to air hump a foam finger to get attention, nor must you change your image to suit your latest musical venture. Let’s hope that this single is indicative of her coming album, if so it could be powerful enough to mature the industry’s ideation of mainstream.
West Coast is enchanting to the ears and true to the artist’s enigmatic nature. While the song may be the one radio stations finally pick up, it is a brilliant mystery that we desperately want to understand from first beat to the last lyric.
Images from her Coachella performance below: