Top 10 Times When Lana Del Rey Bared Her Heart in a Song

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Julia Adams

Julia Adams

Last updated:  2020-12-07 09:55:33

There's no enigmatic and melancholic persona in the music industry today like Lana Del Rey is. Born Elisabeth Woolridge Grant in New York in 1985, she was brought up in a stable, wealthy family. Dealing with many personal demons, she has come a long way to become what she is today - an indie pop-rock Queen. Lana brings out contradictory emotions, as some find her one of a kind artist, while others think that she's just a spoiled rich daddy's girl. You can say what you want, but her music really resonated with the listeners on a deep level and inspires others. Today we'll pick our top ten times when "The Queen of Sadness" bared her all to us.

10. "Video Games" from "Born to Die"

Official music video for "Video Games" from "Born to Die" album

"Video Games" was the first single of Lana's widely popular and critically acclaimed debut album "Born to Die." The melancholic track refers to two broken relationships from the singer's past. Lana stated that the song has a double meaning - it speaks about her letting go of her professional ambitions and settling down into a simple life and relationship.

As she makes a smart wordplay, we can tell that Lana is talking about two separate men by using two pronouns - his and yours. Fun fact about this song: she uploaded it on her YouTube channel, where it grew so popular that it eventually helped her get a record deal.

9. "Cruel World" from "Ultraviolence"

Official audio for "Cruel World" from "Ultraviolence" album

Admitting that it's her personal favorite, "Cruel World" is the opening song from Lana's dark "Ultraviolence." The track can be described as a psychedelic slow-burner that invites you into the singer's mind. Lana said that the idea for the tune came up when she was walking down the beach, trying to clear her thoughts.

Representing her life that is both chaotic and peaceful, the song portrays a story about a girl who leaves her drug-addict boyfriend. Many women can relate to having this one problematic guy in their lives, struggling to make the relationship work, but knowing that they should end it eventually.

8. "Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me to Have - but I Have It" from "Norman Fucking Rockwell!"

Official audio for "Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me to Have - but I Have It" from "Norman Fucking Rockwell!" album

This was Lana's third single from her sixth studio album, combining her soft vocals with a piano. The song references famous American poet Sylvia Plath, who is a lifelong inspiration to the singer. Actually, the track's working title was named after a novelist before being dismissed later.

During almost all of her promo interviews before releasing this song, Lana noted that it was a very personal project for her, as she didn't want to discuss it with the media. Understandably so, as she sings about her family, depression, romance issues, alcoholism, and troubled relationship with fame.

7. "Born to Die" from "Born to Die"

Official music video for "Born to Die" from "Born to Die" album

"Born to Die" is an opening song from the studio album of the same name where the singer echoes being in love in her "wild" days. Of course, Lana is the sole credited writer on this masterpiece loved by many. No one like her could ever describe an emotionally abusive relationship and make it almost appealing to the listeners.

"I was so confused as a little child" are the words that hit home with many people, showcasing Lana's vulnerable side. Cinematic and dramatic music perfectly describes the young, irrational, and destructive love.

6. "Gods and Monsters" from "Paradise"

Official audio for "Gods and Monsters" from "Paradise" album

The sixth track from Lana's EP "Paradise" is about her longing for a change in the music industry. An ode to all morally lost people in Hollywood, it really is a song that provokes sympathy and compassion while listening. The singer refers to herself as an angel, an innocent being thrown in this garden of evil to pursue fame.

While understanding that she's slowly losing herself in that world, Lana can't escape, as she became addicted to the lifestyle. Referencing Jim Morrison throughout the record, who died allegedly because of drug-related issues, we can't help but question these absurdly high standards and underlying problems in a celebrity world.

5. "Dark Paradise" from "Born to Die"

Official audio for "Dark Paradise" from "Born to Die" album

Here we have another classic from Lana Del Rey's debut album that has an '80s melody. While her vocals are soft, the lyrics are depressing and pessimistic, giving us a haunting vibe. Dark paradise represents the world in her dreams, where her lover, who died, is still haunting her.

Reminding herself that the best part of her life (the one with him) has passed, Lana doesn't want to wake up to a reality and is left sad and gloomy. Feeling guilty for not saying a proper goodbye, she refuses a friend's advice to move on with her life. If you're mourning the loss of a loved one, this track can make you feel understood.

4. "Sad Girl" from "Ultraviolence"

Official audio for "Sad Girl" from "Ultraviolence" album

When your fan base calls you the "OG sad girl," then you definitely need to have a song by that name. Her inspiration for writing this piece was to remind herself that she can still feel down sometimes. Primarily about doing things you shouldn't do, the track talks about a girl who gets involved with a married man and ends up being his second choice. 

While addressing the listeners throughout the song, calling them out for their conventionality, and expressing how she's happy with her choice, things quickly turn around. Eventually, she admits that being "bonny on the side" isn't what she expected, although she's still infatuated with him.

3. "Carmen" from "Born to Die"

Official music video for "Carmen" from "Born to Die" album

"Carmen" is one of the most personal projects in Lana's discography, as it speaks about a topic she's well familiar with - substance abuse. Lana's parents sent her to boarding school when she was a teenager, as she suffered from alcoholism. It really is her story, portrayed in the song by the 17-year-old prostitute who is a cocaine addict.

Some interpretations say that Carmen could be the other name for cocaine, and if true, it is very intelligently written. Calling a drug by that name, people can find their own issues in Carmen - mental health problems or an eating disorder, and as a result, identify with the song.

2. "Ride" from EP "Paradise"

Official music video for "Ride" from EP "Paradise"

Critically acclaimed "Ride" is a '60s style pop ballad with orchestral instruments and haunting lyrics. Accompanied by the equally masterful music video, you really get the feel of a tragic woman who can't escape her patterns. While trying to do better and failing at it, she withdraws into her inner world and feels deeply lonely.

All of us can relate to the never-ending internal struggle between the good and bad, with our natural urges prevailing. Another sorrowful thing Lana shares with us is that she keeps looking for security in other people to escape an overwhelming feeling of doom.

1. "Ultraviolence" from "Ultraviolence"

Official music video for "Ultraviolence" from "Ultraviolence" album

In a promotional single for her third LP, "Ultraviolence," the songstress shares with us probably her most vulnerable and disturbing experience. Lana confirmed that the song talks about her days in a cult and their leader who surrounded himself with young girls and believed in breaking people first to build them up again. Luckily, she left on time.

It's believed now that she's talking about Atlantic Group, a part of Alcoholics Anonymous, run by a man named Jim. Violence and emotional abuse are heavily implied, as Lana sings about him hitting her feeling like a kiss, almost begging him not to stop. Diving into the lyrics will make you feel furious that someone can use weak and unstable people and convince them that he's their savior.

Lana Del Rey is not just an artist; she's a whole vibe, such that you have to invest time to understand and appreciate her. One of the few who doesn't sound like an industry hyperproduction project, she serves raw (and sometimes troubling) emotions on a plate for us.

What's your opinion on our top ten most emotional and personal Lana songs? Share your take in the comments.

Photo credits: Gabrielle3522, CC BY-SA 4.0


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