An American Export
If you were to ask what America exports most, (besides that pesky Democracy), people would most likely say culture, and the American Dream. Everyone knows about the U.S., from Vegas to Los Angeles. Though, this export has its roots in World War Two when the U.S. wanted to expose as many people as it could to American ideals to combat Communism in the late 40’s and early 50’s. This is what people know as American culture: from freedom, to burgers, to the Red, White and Blue, to James Dean and Marilyn Monroe.
And this is where Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, or AKA by her stage name, Lana Del Rey, basis her media persona. Her latest album, Paradise, single Ride has its influences in juvenile delinquency seen in the music video. This showcases that America, along with the rest of the world, has nostalgia for old American propaganda.
Her latest hit single “Young and Beautiful appears in the film, The Great Gatsby. This film is about the American Dream with the main character attempting to become wealthy beyond all means, and throws lavish parties in an attempt to win over the lost love of his life. Better yet, this film is based on the famous work by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. Talk about loving America.
Though to look at Lana Del Rey you have to look at her work produced under her original stage name, Lizzy Grant. There is still a reminiscent tone throughout the work that seems to yearn for a lost time, something more peaceful, happy, and serene. Her work though is rough. It doesn’t have the clean-cut sound that her first major album, Lana Del Rey, has.
Playing Video Games along Sunset Blvd
The interesting thing about Lana Del Rey is how she gained traction in the media. Her hit, Video Games, which she edited is a collage of old 16mm footage of Sunset Blvd against singing. There is something so American about the video. The lyrics “Heaven is a place on earth with you/ The World Was Built for Two,” is sung against images of the Hollywood sign. Like Andy Warhol’s famous, often misquoted, saying: “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” This is the modern American Dream – fame. And is showcased through Lana. She is the dream. She’s said in her video, how she sings about a man, whom she truly loved, and her abandonment issues with him. In a sense she is creating a tragedy for the world, she is a modern Gatsby figure, because there is beauty in tragedy. If it’s true is another story.
Driving in Fast Cars
Lana is a prolific artist with dozen of un-released tracks scattered all over YouTube, though what they all have in common is the tone of an Old America. She compares herself to Marilyn Monroe, and sings about ‘driving fast in old cars’ with figures like James Dean. This is how the media has taken her over. They’ve taken away who she is, and given her a persona as a trade.
Lana is a Made up Name
There has been a media backlash against her claiming that she isn’t this tragic singer that loves a retro style. No, they claim it’s all a shame. Sorry to break the truth to you, it is. Though this isn’t a bad thing. People love to look at the past with a distorted light, and what is more distorted than looking at the past with filters?
She is playing a part on the grand stage of the world, and there is nothing wrong with that. She is an actress, and at the end of the day she is still making music.
Paradise in Youth
Lana’s ultimate message is paradise in youth. America’s culture was born in the fifties, that is when America was young, fighting to have a place in the big bad world. What Lana Del Rey has done is taken an Old America and used it as a metaphor for better past days. She wants her listeners to understand that when we’re all young everything is new, and thus, beautiful. So, Carpe Diem, enjoy being young. At times it’s okay to reminiscent, but understand we’re going to look back and see this as the past. So why not live now?
The young live in dreams, the old in memories.