Lana Del Rey — West Coast
I was a huge fan of Lana Del Rey’s last album. 2012’s Born To Die represented a fresh and unbridled take on female pop music that really caught a lot of people off guard. The lyrics felt timeless, the production was massive, and the videos were a perfect accompaniment to it all. Seriously, the “Born To Die” video, the “Video Games” video, and the “National Anthem” video were all incredible. Music videos are starting to seem like a lost art, but Lana Del Rey is always on point. As a videographer and music nerd, I have infinite appreciation for that.
The album featured heavy production from a couple of my favorite producers, longtime Cudi collaborators Jeff Bhasker and Emile Haynie. In an era where popular music, especially from female artists, has featured bubblegum production, those guys brought in gigantic baroque pop instrumentals that felt like they belonged in a cathedral or something. As good as Lana was on that album, I could’ve genuinely enjoyed an instrumental version of the whole thing.
That was in January 2012. Since then, we’ve gotten a couple underwhelming EP’s from Lana, and the massive internet buzz surrounding her has seemingly cooled off.
Yesterday Lana came back with the first single from her next album, Ultraviolence. The song is called “West Coast”, which falls in line with its surf rock theme. Sounds great, right? Everything we’ve come to expect from her, but now transplanted to a beach in Malibu. Fantastic!
Not quite. Don’t get me wrong, the song isn’t bad at all. I enjoy it. It’s just that something’s… missing. It didn’t quite hit me like Video Games or Born To Die did. It’s produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. The production is really cool, especially for a Lana Del Rey track, but something just isn’t working.
I’m still hopeful, because I think the whole surf rock aesthetic could work. I’d love to listen to this all summer. But I’d be lying if I said the first single didn’t have me a bit worried. Auerbach is apparently executive producer this time around. I hope we get some kind of contribution from Bhasker or Haynie, because otherwise this next album might not make it.