Unauthorised item in the bagging area

Thursday 21 December 2023

I'm At The Ramada

Sometimes Lana Del Rey hits to the spot so sweetly and perfectly that I can believe all the press about her- sometimes her albums leave me with the sense that a lot of songs just wash over the listener, a minute after one finishes it hasn't left much behind but, when she gets it right, she really gets it right. 

A&W came out earlier this year, on Valentine's Day, and is a psychedelic folk pop gem with a second half bolted to it that shifts everything elsewhere. A piano and reverb and an acoustic guitar fade in, clumsy at first, then taking shape. Lana sings in that breathy way she does, sounding like she's just woken up after a heavy night but swiftly a choral multitracked Lana flies in. There are some classic Lana lines- 'I haven't done a cartwheel since I was nine/ I haven't seen my mother in a long long time' and 'this is the experience of being an American whore' and 'called up one drunk/ called up another' among many. 

Then the second half kicks in, a stuttering grimy drum machine and dirty bassline, sounding like they've come in from another record entirely. Now she sounds woozy, dislocated, a headful of pills. The experimental, skeletal hip hop drums and bass underpin Lana singing with a mouth filled with cotton wheel, 'Jimmy only love me when he wanna get high' and then with much more clarity, 'Your mom called/ I told her/ You're fucking up big time'. 



thewalker said...

Okay, I'm in.

Rol said...

I'm in agreement about Lana. Her songs work best when added to compilation tapes / mixes and experienced in isolation. When surrounded by a bunch of other Lana songs, they all merge into one.

Swiss Adam said...

Yep, you're right Rol, she's a mixtape girl

Anonymous said...

To add to the Lana talk. Occasionally I am struck by the observational brilliance of her lyrics, as with this track, A&W, and with 'chem trails over the country club' and 'there is a tunnel under ocean bvld'. The second electronic half of A&W mixes it up great. But so often the sterile musical backing sucks the life out of the great lyric writing.

Khayem said...

Pretty much as you've all said, it's a bit hit and miss for me although I did feel that the career-spanning LDR Dubhed Selection I created in the summer did satisfy as a single-sitting experience and didn't outstay its welcome at under 45 minutes.

Some of her lyrical observations are astonishing.