Sunday, February 26, 2023

Lana Del Rey’s ‘A&W’ is a sincere and vulnerable experience

For Valentine’s Day, everyone’s girl crush gifted us with a new seven-minute single. Lana Del Rey dropped the epic ‘A&W’’ ahead of the release of her new album ‘Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd’ next month.

The single is a two-part anecdote of experiencing childhood abandonment and sexual trauma and later using her body for sex as an adult as a result of the pain growing up and the absence of her innocence. Even the title of the track is an abbreviation of how she views herself, with ‘A&W’ meaning ‘American Whore’.

The track feels personal, with lyrics confiding in us on the true state of mind of our ‘American Whore’ . She comments on how her body and mind are separate from intimacy: “Call him up, come into my bedroom / Ended up, we fuck on the hotel floor / It’s not about having someone to love me anymore”. She also likens herself to the plot of the 2015 film ‘The Diary of a Teenage Girl’ where a 15-year-old girl enters an affair with her mother’s boyfriend, and wonders “why, why, why I’m like this”.

The most shocking line is in the third verse, “I mean look at my hair / Look at the length of it and the shape of my body / If I told you I was raped / Do you really think that anybody would think I didn’t ask for it? I didn’t ask for it” . The line is a true reflection of how rape culture today ultimately makes it the woman’s fault, and particularly women who are sexually active or are sex workers are ‘asking for it’. This leaves the woman to feel “Invisible, I’m invisible / I’m a ghost now” in the eyes of the justice system and society.

This brings us to part two, where the tone shifts into a hefty bass with a strong hip-hop impression. The second part serves as more of a metaphor for the sounds in the ‘American Whore’ head with darker drums and bass that are quite prevalent in the co-producer, Jack Antonoff’s sound. Lana’s famous ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ and those all so familiar violins see the song out to its last minute. It all sounds like a beautiful mess, just like our protagonist.

We can only thank Lana for her transparency and sincerity in her storytelling and for her admirable collaborative work with Antonoff to deliver a strong track and what will surely be a strong ninth studio album.


Georgia Eyles

Image: ‘Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd’ Official Album Cover


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