TEXT WILLIAM DEFEBAUGH
Lana Del Rey is finally officially promoting her sophomore album, Ultraviolence, and if you haven’t noticed, we’ve been waiting. The new single, “West Coast” delivers as both a sultry herald of warm, summer days, as well as a reward for die-hard Del Rey fans—an homage to the place where it seems she has finally found her voice, and a culmination of a three year long physical and musical journey.
From “Video Games” to Pabst Blue Ribbon on ice, the release of her first album reflected Del Rey in her nascent Brooklyn, introducing the world to a mysterious young singer mired with rumors of commercial creationism and inauthenticity, searching for her voice. With viral videos, an infamous television performance, and a fast developing fan-base, Born To Die left the world asking: is this girl for real?
This question was quickly answered with the release of her follow-up component, Paradise, which showed a darker, more evolved side of the young singer—and was met with solid critical and popular acclaim, earning numerous awards as well as becoming her second album to reach the top ten on the Billboard 200. Her beloved music videos developed into short films with songs like “Ride,” which illustrated the singer’s symbolic journey west, and liberation therein. “I am crazy,” she says at the end of the 10-minute video. “But at least I am free.”
Del Rey’s arrival in Hollywood was announced quite literally in the staggered release of two movie soundtrack hits: “Young and Beautiful” for 2013’s The Great Gatsby, and a haunting rendition of “Once Upon a Dream” for 2014’s Disney blockbuster, Maleficent. Both tracks show the singer at her best, bringing fiction and fantasy to life with sweeping orchestras and a voice that has always been more cinema-driven than rooted in pop.
This brings us to “West Coast” which can be read as a profession of love for both the symbolic and physical space she now occupies. If this is any indication, Ultraviolence, already hyped with its next-level edge—the title references A Clockwork Orange—and production by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, will be an important record for the singer, and proof to the world that Lana Del Rey is here to stay.