It's alarming, truly, how disarming she can be // A Personal History Through Lana Del Rey

Last week, when Q and E listened to Lust for Life, we got deep in our LDR feels and spent a while recalling our favourite Lana-inspired memories.

Here’s an annotated discography of Lana Del Rey nostalgia.


Born to Die

memory: I first heard this song a few days before my 19th birthday. My best friend played it for me in our dorm. It was my first year of college, and I was feeling that specific restlessness that happens upon first years. I don’t know how to say this without sounding completely gauche, but this song felt like a crude sort of awakening for me that I desperately needed.

Hours after listening to the song for the first time, I wrote an essay on the dichotomy of the Apollonian and the Dionysian, broke up with my Nice but Boring Boyfriend, and entered a bacchanalian era of self-discovery. Color me inspired. (I KNOW)

pairs well with: malt liquor, menthol cigarettes, american flags


memory:This is beautiful right? You think to yourself as you lay in your shit tip of a  room for the second day in a row. Ignoring the obvious lack of hygiene and the black mould that’s haunting the scene, this is aesthetic. You’ve been socialised to think that this is what people want. Someone to fix. You’re a project. You’ve got that whole desirable sadness thing that so many starlets have thrived on. Weirdly, it turns out that not having brushed your hair for a week isn’t that desirable. Lana Del Rey lied to you. No, it’s fine. This is just who you are now; you’re not quirky or fun or blonde or anything really. You’re just lying in bed watching this black mould permeate your life. Tired of feeling like I'm fucking crazy indeed. 

pairs well with: Laughless 30 Rock Marathons, an ever growing pile of laundry, alienation

Summertime Sadness

memory:This was my anthem for my last summer in America, before moving alone to England. I recorded a shitty karaoke version of this for a beautiful carpenter I had just met while working at this theater company for the summer -- he had eyes so blue they were literally indigo, guys -- and he was so quietly intense and brooding. I saved the recording on a little blue USB and gave it to him, with a kiss, on my last night at the summer stock theater. I’ve never asked if he actually listened to it.

pairs well with: forlorn goodbyes, locally-sourced beer

Chelsea Hotel” (a Leonard Cohen cover)

feels like: An appropriate description of every romantic intrigue I’ve ever had.

“I don't mean to suggest that I loved you the best

I can't keep track of each fallen robin

I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel

That's all, I don't even think of you that often”

pairs well with: white linens, your first Mac lipstick


Ultraviolence - the entire album

memory: We listened to this heavily when we were living in Edinburgh together with L and her theater company.

A typical scene of the time: we were pulling our costumes from the laundry line that hung above us, on a pulley system, in the high-ceilinged kitchen, and then ironing, listening to this music. And cooking experimental vegetarian meals for the cast together.  And taking a long time to do our makeup. And the sun was streaming through the tall windows, almost always. I remember really sunny days for how chilly and rainy that summer was. It was an incredibly happy time for me, even in listening to this sad album. We lived in this cheap sort of glamour then that actors know; we drank a lot of wine and ordered cabs for ourselves too often and walked great distances through soggy meadows to get to the theater every night for work. And it felt all the more glamorous because of this soundtrack.

pairs well with: gin, Scottish rain, leather jackets

Shades Of Cool

memory: fumbling for a cigarette at 2 in the morning as the taxi drove off, leaving you alone with distant city sounds, the orange flow of street lights, and the smell of old rain. You want to head back into the apartment, but everyone will be asleep. Or worse, everyone will be awake. Besides, someone else is crashing on the air bed. You’ve been replaced while you were off having your own adventures. You catch a glimpse of your distorted reflection in a puddle. Distorted. That seems about right to be honest. You don’t look any more of a ~~woman~~, you don’t look dangerous or accomplished or sexy. Just distorted and out of focus. I’m pretty sure you looked like that before though.

pairs well with: Marlboro golds, changes in terrain, melon, whiskey



memory: The anticipation tasted much better than the actual product. Hearing the snippets in Edinburgh, discussing the musical growth, predicting the themes. When it finally arrived, it failed to leave an impression and just reminded you of better times with better albums. Our honeymoon was snatched away from us.

It’s a hazy mess of an album for a hazy mess of a time.

I had to stop listening to Lana for a while.

pairs well with: Furiously re-reading texts, Cornish autumns, journallingFor better or worse, LDR has shrewdly articulated the pain and perceived glamour (lol) of our early twenties. We lean into her nostalgic melancholia so fucking hard, and got lost in her sublimely ambient universes long enough to drift from our own. At present we’re still getting to know Lust for Life, so it’s too early to say what this album will mean to us. Only time will tell.