Lyric Breakdown – Summer of Sam by Lana Del Rey

Like the summer of Sam, back in ‘69

  • Reference to the movie Summer Of Sam, where the main character was killing

I’d be heavenly, deadly on the grind

  • Lana is “heavenly” yet, in opposition, is also “deadly”; Lana is working hard (“on the grind”)

Cause to sing this nice has to be a crime

  • She thinks she has such a great voice that it must surely be something she’ll get in trouble for

I be murdering and murdering ’em

  • She may be metaphorically “murdering” people as she is such a great singer and her voice is so impressive

Like the summer of love back in ’69

  • She is singing about the mid-twentieth when people wanted to ‘make love not war’, which is an era she loves

You can say that I’m yours, but my body is divine

  • Lana doesn’t mind people wanting her but she thinks she is too hot to belong to anyone

I belong to everybody that I walk by

  • Everyone who passes Lana loves her and they all want her to be theirs

Like hi, hi

I’m the master of my destiny

  • Lana has control of herself and her life, so no one can decide for her

You haven’t seen the best of me

  • Lana still has amazing things (possibly music) to come

And if you want the rest of me

You’ll have to pay a lovely fee

  • This could be a reference to her being a stripper or a prostitute, where you have to pay to get more; it could just be a reference to how people must pay for music so if they want more of it they need to pay; Lana loves money so gets it where she can

Hard to stay far, far away from me

  • No one can resist Lana

Cause I am the baddest girl in NYC

  • Lana is back to referencing her high status in New York

You can look but please don’t touch boy

  • She doesn’t mind people giving her attention but she still wants the utmost control of herself

Stay away from me

  • She doesn’t want people getting to close to her, which could be a diva thing or she may just be making sure she gets her way

Baby I’m a cinnamon girl

  • Cinnamon tastes nice (like other sweet flavours) but it’s still spicy and strong, so you have to be careful; it’s also not a completely sweet flavour, much like Lana

Keeping it fresh on the far east side

  • New York is on the east side so she, the ‘queen of New York’ is always up to date from her area of America in terms of style, fashion and trends (particularly in music)

Baby I’m a tenement girl

  • Lana may have lived in the overcrowded housing in New York, showing she is grounded and doesn’t just come from money

Keepin’ it in touch, your cherry pie

  • People want to talk to her; ‘cherry pie’ may be a nickname for her as it’s something sweet and tempting

B-A-D-D-E-S-T, baddest girl in NYC

  • Lana childishly spells out the word, showing her youth and irresponsibility, not to mention linking to the cheerleader theme of Jealous Girl

Baby I’m a dangerous girl

You should stay away from me

  • People should be careful around her or even avoid her altogether as she may cause harm, either literally from her actions or perhaps because she is so great at what she does

I’ve been murdering and murdering ’em
I be murdering and murdering ’em

Like the summer of Sam, back in ’69

I’ll be tying them up, and hang ’em out to dry

  • Lana is tying people in knots (such as how people get tongue-tied around others they admire), so they are getting all mixed up around her; being hung out to dry can mean feeling unfinished and unsatisfied, particularly sexually, so she is not going all the way for those that want her

Cause I’m hot like that when I walk, they die

  • They can’t handle how hot she is when she passes

I be murdering and murdering ’em

Like the summer of love back in ’69

When I get on the microphone my, my

They be looking at each other like ay, ay, ay

  • The people that go to watch her sing look at one another in disbelief and admiration for her

Like bye, bye

  • Despite the way she likes the attention, she still doesn’t want anything to do with them

Please excuse m-my vivacity, capacity for hating

  • She’s apologetic that people find her so brilliant to be around; “capacity for hating” may refer to her own feelings of hatred for those she considers beneath her or her admiration or it could be how people hate her for how great she is (considering she “murders” them)

Cause it’s incredible

It’s better if you stay away from me

I know it’s hard, hard to stay far, far away from me

  • She knows people can’t resist her but she insists they don’t come near her or even try to handle her greatness

I am the baddest girl in NYC

You can look but please don’t touch

CHORUS

I’ve been murdering and murdering ’em

Happily

  • She enjoys how people react to her

Murdering and murdering ’em ah, ah

Murdering and murdering ’em

I’m diggable, predicatable

  • “Diggable” refers to how other people understand her, so people can relate to her on some kind of level; people also know what kind of person she is and the kind of things they do, most likely because they like to watch what she does

No, everyone knows all my people

  • Her friends and possibly other people she works with are all well-known and famous

I’ll give you a fistful

  • It could mean a fistful of money, since she may be making so much she can give it away, though it’s more likely to be how she is going to be violent; she’s threatening them to keep them away from her or to show how much of a “tenement girl” she is

You know you’ll be in a fight

  • They’ll either fight her or fight over her

Unmissable, invincible, behaviour is despicable

  • She does things no one should miss because that’s how exciting she is; she’s “invincible”, hence though she does dangerous things she cannot be hurt; her “despicable” behaviour (much like the “murdering” and the “fistful”) shows she’s a bad girl

If you’re lookin’ for fun you can come out with me tonight

  • She knows all the enjoyable things to do

I am the baddest girl in NYC

I am the baddest, ya liking what you see? Yup!

  • Even though Lana asks the question, she knows the answer as she knows everyone admires her

CHORUS

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Lyric Breakdown – Making Out by Lana Del Rey

Hiya, honey

  • Her informal greeting sets the tone for the song – she’s a young, wild girl who likes to have fun

What ya doin’?

I been hula-hoopin’ waiting for you, aah

  • Hula-hooping is something quite young children do, so she is still young and has no responsibility; she’s been waiting for this person so she knows who they are

Whoa haters, fakers, mass-manipulators

Don’t know what you’re tryin’ to prove

  • She can’t understand people who don’t act themselves – she does what she wants without thinking about how she looks or what people think of her, so she criticises those who hate on her, pretend to be something else or lie for their own gain

I’m the New York City queen queen

  • Lana has referenced being the queen of New York and other variations of such a title, and she doesn’t feel bad about who she is and the way she feels about herself

You should hear me sing sing

Baby I’m the real thing, check one two

  • Lana knows of her own talent and that she has something real rather than, say, autotuned

Stop looking at my train-wreck life and start

Listening to the way I sing the blues

  • Lana is troubled and has a lot of things going on that are a “train-wreck” (possibly drugs, her alcoholism, the trailer park, her frequent allusions to being a stripper/prostitute) but wants people to focus on her music

You know, I know what they say about me

I know that they think I’m danger

  • People know that these things (listed above) make her into a wild and possibly bad-influence, and she is aware that people may be wary of her for that

So what if it makes me happy, happy, happy?

  • Lana likes being “danger” and having a wild life, as she loves being the ‘gangsta Nancy Sinatra’; she likes the way she comes across and possibly standing out

It doesn’t really matter what you say

‘Cause I ain’t gonna quit ’til the day I die

  • Lana is herself and she won’t change just because people are talking about her

I’ll be taking drugs, doing shots, making out in parking lots

  • Lana does all of these wild things that people tend to look down on because she loves it; she wants to be who she is; she descends her order of bad things she does, most likely using the worst (“drugs”) to be shocking

With any little boy I spot

  • The boys are “little” to her so she doesn’t think much of them

Baby you can’t stop me, stop me, no

When I’m hot, I’m hot

  • She’s too hot to stop, which could mean if you try and stop her you’ll get burned (metaphorically), though in the literal sense she’s a beautiful young woman that may be considered cool

Hi ya honey

How’s it goin’?

Saw you skipping up on TV looking blue aah

  • She’s speaking to someone she knows who made it famous but seems to be unhappy

You’re shakin’, makin’ music and you’re famous

  • This girl she knows is a dancer and a singer, possibly like her; this girl reflects Lana herself

Deep down you’re the same girl I knew

  • The girl hasn’t changed, the same way Lana may not change when she becomes well-known

She said, “I know what they say about you

  • The girl she knew tells her that she is aware of Lana’s reputation

I know that they think you’re crazy

I know that they are mistaken, baby, baby”

  • The girl still knows the real Lana and doesn’t think she is what everyone says; the criticisms of her behaviour don’t mean Lana is actually a bad person

CHORUS

Singing for the gangsters

  • Lana likes the bad boys and the gangsters so she wants to perform for them – and possibly with them – so her music is aimed at that kind of audience

Chasin’ all that paper

  • She wants to earn a lot of money

Living life so dangerously

  • She’ll do all the dangerous things even if it may end up killing her

And there’s nothing for my anger

  • Lana’s a very passionate person and she can’t get rid of her aggression (which does link to her “singing for the gangsters” lyric of how they often have aggressive music and she may write that kind of music too); she doesn’t try to hide her anger, she is uncontrollable

Money is my saviour

  • Lana loves money because it can get her out of bad positions

I can be whatever I think

  • Lana wants to be what she wants without people’s opinions

It’s like heaven heaven

  • Though it’s dangerous, it’s still her idea of heaven, which her actions very much oppose

Living on the edge never knowing where I’m going to be

  • Lana hasn’t got any responsibilities or ties; she doesn’t have her life planned out

And I’m dreading, never settling down

  • The possible meaning is secretly she is dreading never being sensible or planning her future properly as a responsible person, though she may just be pointing out she is “never settling down”

That’s when dying is beginning to please

  • “Dying is beginning to please” could actually mean “becoming older (being responsible) is something people actually enjoy” – meaning when you settle down, you feel happy that you’re a mature adult living a life that keeps going until you get old and die; she may be “dreading” never having the feeling of that; she refers to getting old as “dying” because she has a pessimistic view of no longer being free

CHORUS


Lyric Breakdown – Best American Record by Lana Del Rey

My baby used to dance underneath my architecture

  • This could have a double meaning, the first being sex (he would “dance) (move about sexually) beneath her body (”architecture”)); the other meaning could be he used to “dance” (be wild, free and happy) beneath her “architecture” (stability), meaning he was a wild person supported by her

To the ‘Houses of the Holy’

  • Houses of the Holy is an album by Led Zeppelin

Smoking on them cigarettes

My baby used to dance underneath my architecture

He was cool as heck

He was cool as heck

  • He was a cool guy, clearly because he used to write music and be a performer and guitar player, so Lana did admire him

But you were so obsessed with writing the next best American record

  • This person just wanted to be famous for his creativity, most likely for the importance and money rather than the music

But there was nothing left by the time we got to bed

  • There was so much time spent on his goal that he neglected Lana and was too tired to even be with her sexually

Baby that’s a shame

  • She did really like him and doesn’t feel happy that it ended

You were so obsessed with writing the next best American record

You did it all for fame

You did it all for fame

You did it all for fame

  • She repeats many phrases to emphasise what she’s trying to say, such as “he was cool as heck” (showing how cool she thought he was), the architecture line which indicates how he was taken care of by her, the best American record line which highlights the exact issue, and now “you did it all for fame” which points out his major flaw, particularly from a genuine artist perspective

Tell me how it treats you now

  • She wants to know how he feels now his plan has fallen through, and is feeling quite bitter that he destroyed what they had for nothing

You did it all for fame

How does that taste coming out

  • She is bitter but now he no longer wears the rose-tinted glasses when thinking of his own music, realising how badly he has fallen

You did it all for fame

Baby, how’s life treating you now

It’s over

  • Both his dream and the relationship are done; he can have neither

My baby used to dance underneath my architecture

He was seventies in spirit; nineties in his frame of mind

  • The seventies was a time of freedom and creativity (music really stood out in that era), so he was a carefree, peace-loving man with brilliant talent; the nineties was a period of drugs and other quite negative things, so though his spirit is great he has a broken mind

My baby used to dance underneath my architecture

We lost track of space

We lost track of time

  • They were caught up in their own world and it went beyond basic laws of science – it was good

PRE-CHORUS

(You know what I’m talking about)

  • Lana’s whisper is on a more personal level rather than the singing, as she’s actually speaking; she addresses the person she is talking about by actually saying the words and helping them realise what happened, though may also be talking to the fans who have had (maybe) a similar experience; it makes the words more real

You did it all for fame

Tell me how it treats you now

You did it all for fame

How does that taste coming out

Now that you lost the game

  • He tried to get his music out and see if he would write the best American record or not, but in the end he failed and “lost the game”, meaning he is now a loser

Honey, how’s life treating you now

That it’s over

Baby, how you feeling now

That I told you

It’s true

All the roads lead to you

  • Lana’s thinking about how everywhere she goes, she is going towards him, as everything reminds her of him and she always finds her way back to him despite what he’s done

Everything I want and do

  • Even her desires and actions lead back to him, so she is subconsciously trying to keep him in her life

All the things that I say

It’s true

All the roads lead to you

Like the 405 I drive through

  • An interstate based around LA; she travels it often and it perhaps leads straight to his location; she maybe drives on it on purpose to be near him

Every night and every day

  • She’s always on that road, which is possibly a metaphor for how she is always wanting him

I see you for who you really are

  • She knows he is selfish and wants only the best for himself rather than caring for her, yet it could also mean she can understand that he is a great musician and why he believes in himself so much

Why the thousands of girls

  • He has many groupies who adore him

Love the way Bill plays guitar

  • Bill is mentioned in several other songs and may be a real person from her life; these girls love his music; Lana can understand that because she knows he is a good musician

CHORUS

Honey, how is it feeling now?

(Honey, how’s it feeling?, Honey, how’s it feeling?)

  • She’s almost mocking him, repeating the question as now he has made her feel bad by putting himself first, and his failure has made him feel as bad as her

I told you

  • She told him previously that he was selfish, and even that he shouldn’t be unprepared for failure, but he ignored her, so now she is reminding him that she tried to help

(Honey, how’s it feeling?, Honey, how’s it feeling?)

I told you


Lyric Breakdown – Fine China by Lana Del Rey

I wore diamonds for the birth of your baby

  • Lana is a glamorous woman who is wearing something expensive to celebrate the occasion of a birth; she is singing about a friend who is bringing new life into the world

For the birth of your son
On the same day my husband to be
Packed his things to run

  • Her fiance has decided to leave her, most likely without telling her

Was bittersweet to say the least

  • She has both feelings of sadness and happiness about the day

One life begins, one comes undone

  • The comparison of one entire life beginning and filled with opportunities whilst she feels hers is falling apart by having him leave her

I’ve always been a strong woman of faith

  • She believes in God and likes to believe in higher powers to watch over her life

Strong like a tree but the unlucky one

  • Lana is a strong woman who can cope with the things life throws at her but unfortunately so many unfortunate things happen to her

I’m going down, now

She’s breaking apart despite her “[strength]” and finally caving to the heartbreak

With all of my

Fine china and fresh linen

  • These are material things that can be easily damaged, so she – who was also a material thing in diamonds – is being destroyed like them; these items listed may have something to do with weddings (particularly as you can, in this line’s instance, get fine china as a present or to use for the wedding meal, and fresh linen could refer to the bed sheets or table cloths) – these are things she’s paid out for her wedding that will not happen due to her fiance leaving; they could also link to the wedding in the following verse

All of my dresses with them tags still on them

  • Most likely her wedding and bridesmaid dresses that are still new and unused as she hasn’t even had the wedding yet

Fine china and dull silver

  • Dull silver may link to the cutlery or even the wedding rings

My white horses and my ivory almonds

  • White horses can be used in weddings to pull carriages etc., or may be part of an estate where her wedding is taking place; almonds are used for wedding favours

I guess they really got the best of us, didn’t they?

  • All the other people who defeated them, possibly from casting doubts or disliking the idea of a wedding (like her mother-in-law in the second verse) have led to the end

They said that love was enough but it wasn’t

  • Though many people believe that love will endure no matter what, sometimes it can’t work out if the relationship isn’t working

The earth shattered, the sky opened

  • “The earth shattered” may be about earthquakes, thunder or other natural disasters that represent her world coming apart and breaking; “the sky opened” links to rain

The rain was fire but we were wooden

  • Naturally, fire burns wood; rain is often linked to sadness but this time it is fiery, showing there may be a lot more than just sadness (such as anger) within the problems that destroyed their relationship

I wore diamonds for the day of our wedding

For our day in the sun

  • It sounds like a pleasant occasion which she has worn her diamonds for again; the wedding may either be Lana’s fiance coming back to her and they finally go through with it, so the song is about how they just can’t be together as love wasn’t enough, or it could be that she met a new man and her relationship with him fell through too (since she is the “unlucky one”)

On the same day my mother to be said she wouldn’t come

  • Her mother-in-law is refusing to go to the wedding as she doesn’t support it, thus breaking up the family theme for the day and putting a negative edge on the wedding

It’s always been that way with me

  • Lana knows she always has bad luck

No time for change, no time for fun

  • She can’t “change” to becoming married and have other nice differences in her life, nor can she enjoy special days, as she has too many bad things happen

It’s always been that way it seems

One love begins, one comes undone

  • She is starting a life with the man she loves but her mother-in-law no longer wants to be a part of her son’s life

I’m going down, now

With all of my

CHORUS

All of my all of my fine china

All of my all of my fine china

All of my all of my fine china

Blue uh, blue

  • Blue is the colour of sadness and the mood for the song, and may also be the colour of the fine china

All of my all of my fine china

All of my all of my fine china

All of my all of my fine china

Blue uh, blue

CHORUS

Fine china, fine china, fine china

Fresh linen, fresh linen, fresh linen

Ah, ah, ah

Ah, ah, ah

Ah, ah, ah

Ah, ah, ah

Lyric Breakdown: Trash Magic by Lana Del Rey

Boy, you wanna come to my motel, honey?

  • The repetition of “boy”, with the way it begins the track, shows precisely who the song is for

Boy, you wanna hold me down, tell me that you love me?

  • She wants him to physically her down (for sex, though also it indicates he has power over her); despite him “holding [her] down”, which could most likely be an act of power, she wants it in a consensual and loving way; she wants to be taken care of

Boy, you know that I have really never loved nobody but you?

  • She is dedicated to him and wants to make sure he knows

Boy, you wanna come to my motel, honey?

  • Lana loves motels and is frequently singing of them; they’re classic American locations and Lana adores America/old Americana; it’s her motel, so she’s either living there (thus she is poor, or at a stage of her life where she is supporting herself away from her rich family, further indicating she wants this man to take care of her since she is in that position) or it is literally a motel her family owns (so she owns it too), showing her wealth

Boy, you wanna hold me down, tell me that you love me?

Boy, you know that I have really never loved nobody but you?

  • She repeats these questions as if checking his feelings, trying to keep out her doubts; she is trying to comfort herself and show how much she cares, to let him know and also find out his feelings

I do my hair up, all high and wide

  • Lana likes the beauty-queen style of hair, which is also popular in the mid twentieth century

White flowers tied

  • She likes to decorate herself with flowers, as mentioned in several other songs, though these white flowers indicate virginity (she’s portraying innocence) or even a wedding (she wants commitment)

Green swimming pool, pink flamingo, high Christmas lights

  • Lana is enjoying the different colours in her life, showing how beautiful it is even in a motel and her appreciation of it all, not to mention metaphorically her life is colourful with this man; Lana has mentioned these things in other songs, so they’re important in her memories; she said she had decorated a motel with Christmas lights before

Blue bed spread and silver tinsel

My heart’s delight

  • She’s saying she really loves where she is both physically and in life

CHORUS

Do you like my fake nails, daddy?

  • She wants his thoughts again and whether or not he’ll compliment her; she’s trying to look good for him and make it clear how good she looks; what she calls him indicates his powerful position over her (he is richer, older, etc.)

Black palm tree, pink tiger stripes

  • She has very striking nails

Used to go to the Palm Parade, yeah

  • The Palm Parade could reference the Florida parade or even the Easter parade

Where you’d buy me a slice of cherry pie

  • He buys her something sweet; cherry pies can have double meanings of being a description of a sweet girl or even an innuendo, which have been used in songs by other artists

We didn’t know much, just worked at night

  • They were quite ignorant about life, thus they may both be young; they both have night jobs, which could also indicate she was some kind of stripper or prostitute (as referenced in her music), whilst he may have had some kind of crime related job

Sweet trailer life

  • Lana loves her trailer life

One, two

CHORUS

He said, “Lana Rey, will you serve me lemonade?”

  • She may have also been a waitress at other points, or even a gas station worker (mentioned in Queen of the Gas Station); she is serving him when he asks, so that shows the dynamic of both of them

I said, “Yes Bill, I will, it’s the day of the parade”

  • She recalls the parade again which may be a special memory; Bill has been mentioned before in Best American Record, Driving In Cars With Boys and Super Movie

And you look even more handsome than you did the day that I left you”

  • She seems to have left him before, so they may have split up after the first verses and this shows a time lapse where they meet again as she’s waitressing; perhaps the entire song is about how she wants to tempt him back to her motel and be together again; Lana still recognises that he is good looking and wants him to know that

How do you spend your nights, honey, still watching TV?

  • She wants to know what he does now and maybe wants to know if he is available for her

I long to be in your arms, honey

  • She misses him and repeats the same nickname over and over that may be what she used to call him

Come back to me, please

  • She’s begging for him back and the subtleties have gone

CHORUS

All I want is to feel good

  • She wants to either have physical pleasure or she wants to be happy with him again; she repeats it because she wants it so bad

All I want is to feel good
All I want is to feel good
You know, hmmm

Come on now, if you want to

  • She continues to try and tempt him

If you want to

  • She lets him know that it’s his decision, though she may be manipulating him to think he has control when really she’s getting her own way by acting innocent

If you want to

If you want to

It’s been a long time

  • They have been away from one another for a while but she remembers everything specifically (such as the colours in the starting verse)

Boy you wanna come to my motel honey?
Boy you wanna hold me down, tell me that you love me?
(In my motel, honey)
Boy, you know that I have really never loved nobody but you?

(I said god-damn!)

  • Either she is getting the pleasure she wanted or he said no and she’s not happy about it

Lyric Breakdown: Prom Song Gone Wrong by Lana Del Rey

Boy, it’s late, walk me home, put your hand in mine

  • The song, about a teenage romance, starts with the first word “boy”, which is a good starting point to indicate who the song is for; he walks her home late at night to make sure she gets home safe, which is a chivalrous thing for young men and women courting – it shows he is taking care of her, which is a promising start to how they are together throughout this song

At the gate, stop and say, “Be my valentine”

  • Valentines are usually a big deal in schools and for teenagers, as it’s at the time of life where all crushes feel most intense; they’re too young for him to ask her to marry him, or perhaps even to be his ‘girlfriend’, which is more formal than ‘valentine’; it shows the youthfulness

You are, by far, the brightest star I’ve ever seen

  • She thinks very highly of him and is quite fond of him; she also says “seen” which could mean he literally looks perfect to her also (linking back to times when teenagers are mostly into how ‘hot’ people are

And I never dreamed I’d be so happy that I could die

  • The feelings are so intense she could literally stop existing; it’s dramatic, which is what many teens are, but it also shows just how intense crushes can be at that life stage; she couldn’t imagine feeling that way before (perhaps when she was younger before crushes were strong)

You used to say that I was beautiful like Cleopatra

  • Cleopatra was known for her beauty and her lovers; it’s a high compliment towards Lana, who seemed to admire her (hence her reference in Last Girl On Earth)

But you the king too so I would say, “back at ya”

  • She considers him a king (perhaps he was the Prom King, as was she, who is also a Queen (Cleopatra); Lana’s “back at ya” is a very informal way of speaking, much like teen dialect

I flip my hair and make you stare and put my makeup on

  • Lana tries hard to look great for him and likes to get his attention; once again, another thing teens often do; she wants to impress him

And make up stories ‘bout my life and that I’m very cherry bomb

  • Lana wants to sound as impressive as possible and purposely leaves out anything that wouldn’t sound cool to him; cherry bombs are explosive fireworks, so she wants to sound (and look) as cool as possible in a big way

And even then I knew that we were something serious

  • Though they were just in school, she knew she wanted to be with him for more than just a silly young romance

That you would dominate my thoughts like radio to Sirius

  • He completely takes over her thoughts; Sirius is a star in the sky, so the ‘radio waves’ (her thoughts of him) are strong enough to break through the atmosphere; once again, she mentions stars, which gives way to nice imagery of night time (possibly when they spent the most time together)

I’d see you in hall like “hello, hello”

  • Passing through school halls they greet each other

Up against the wall like “let’s go, let’s go”

  • Taking a slightly more risque turn, they may be making out against lockers (”let’s go” may indicate this); this could also be the two of them talking about actually leaving together (the theme of the song); the repetition of the words “hello” and “let’s go” may be that one of them is spoken by Lana and the other by him, hence they have the same ideas

Let me take you out of this town

  • Young teens often dream of running away together, and Lana has referenced this in her other songs

Let me do it right now, baby

  • Lana wants to be the one that takes him away; she wants a turn at protecting him and taking control of the relationship (typically the ‘guy’ thing to do), showing equality between both of them; she loves him so much she just wants to make him happy by leaving with him

Dancing ’til dawn, staying forever young

  • Dancing all night like teens do, though also it’s romantic; dancing happens at prom; she dreams of being “forever young” with him because that’s the best time of their life, being irresponsible teens who just love each other

Let’s get out of this place

‘Cause you’re starting to waste within this teenage wasteland

  • Teen life isn’t always easy, and “wasteland” indicates there are problems, i.e. drugs, gangs, pressures from school etc., so she wants to get away from it all; he’s “starting to waste” so is most likely unhappy with where he’s living, and since she wants him she wants to protect him

You will never see my face

If you don’t get me out of this place now, baby, I’m not crazy

  • Lana is saying she also feels bad about life their (she’s also starting to waste) and she herself will leave and no one, including him, will see her again unless they make the move together; she has probably been told it’s a ridiculous idea to run away (by parents and friends but even maybe by him) but she’s determined

I’m leaving, are you coming with me?

  • Lana has made her mind up – she will be going out of town; she repeats the question because she wants to know if she’ll do it with him; she sounds hopeful because she wants to leave but do it with the one she cares about

If you’re lonely, baby, hold me, you’re my only one

  • She wants to make him feel better when he feels “lonely” and reminds him that she is there and she only wants him

Watching television, kissing ’til we see the sun

  • Television is so simple yet she loves spending time doing things like that with him; they kiss all night; teens often stay up throughout the night doing such things

So far, we are safe in the dark

  • In the dark (night time) they are away from school (“teenage wasteland”) and pressures of adults (who don’t stay up at night due to their responsibilities) so they are both safe from those stresses

And I never dreamed that I’d be the queen

  • Lana never realised that someone would treat her so highly as if she is a queen; it may link to prom again, as she may not have expected to be Prom Queen

And I’d be so happy that I could die

You used to call yourself The Don and call me Queen Diana

  • The Don is someone who is high up status wise, but could also be a crime leader; Queen Diana may reference the Princess of Wales who was well-loved by the world; he thinks highly enough of himself to be the don and she is his queen – though it could be another reference to the prom royalty

You always make me blush and say “shut up boy, you bananas!”

  • He’s always paying her compliments and she tells him to stop; teen girls are thought of to be giggly; she’s using silly, youthful dialect/slang (“bananas”)

You pull my hair and push me down and chase me, make me run

  • Teens often flirt by acting like they don’t like each other (“shut up”, play fighting, etc.) so it’s just them playfully showing how much they love each other

You played me Biggie Smalls and then my first Nirvana song

  • He introduced her to the music she loves and is inspired by

So even then when no one’s friends were really serious

  • The rest of their friends were ‘couples’ but not serious, as teen romances often chop or change; however (see below)

I knew you loved me by the way you looked in second period

  • Even in school she could tell he truly loved her when he stared at her in lessons, and she clearly felt the same

I’d see you in hall like “hello, hello”
Up against the wall like “let’s go, let’s go”

CHORUS

I know that they say that all I want is to have fun

  • Her family and friends may tell her she can’t really be deeply in love and is just enjoying life; they’re dismissing her feelings as being merely young

And get away for rainy days

  • They don’t believe she wants to get away because she needs to escape the “teenage wasteland”, instead thinking she just wants to get out of the gloomy town for a while and do something fun

I know that they think I’ve come undone

  • They think she’s crazy for being so young and wanting to get away with the one person

But I’m in love, I wanna run, run, run away

  • Lana knows how she feels and still wants to get away; the repetition of “run” may indicate how strongly she wants to do it; also for how long and what distance she wants to go

I’m leaving, are you coming with me?

  • This, and the final line, both indicate that it’s an unanswered question, so the song may be for him (which is shown by the way it starts off (“boy”)) and she is talking about their life together and how much she wants to just get away with him

CHORUS

Lyric Breakdown: Butterflies by Lana Del Rey

We’re sippin’ cocktails, looking down upon the riot

  • By being chilled out “looking down upon the riot”, they are on the fringe of society, most likely linking to Lana’s frequently mentioned couple who are seeking the American Dream; the cocktails indicate they are mature adults who have probably been with each other for a long time, which the high school yard lyric indicates

You whisper “Baby, love the way you look tonight

I wanna save you, save you from the world outside.“

  • He wants to protect her and genuinely cares for her, particularly when there’s “riot(s)” (general life chaos)

I know it seems you’re all I wanted and much more

But then, to tell the truth, I’ve been through this before

  • Lana undeniably has fallen hard for men before, and has had experiences where she has been in relationships that she feels will last forever but they never work out; she is doubtful about this person

They say “I’ll save you, save you”, but they never do

  • From past experiences she knows she may be let down; this guy is saying the same things she’s heard before and she mistrusts the promises; her concern throughout the song comes from trying to protect herself

I think you know I want to believe you

But in my heart, I know that I’ll leave you

  • She genuinely cares for him but she knows she will eventually fall into the pattern again; the heart is where our desires are, and deep down she cares for herself more than any man, thus protecting herself

It’s sort of sad how instincts deceive you, or does it please you?

  • It could be the other way round but I understand it as her instincts telling her she loves him and wants to be with him, yet it’s a deception (a response to her subconscious attractions); she is confused and isn’t sure if the “instinct(s)” of wanting him are deceptive or something to let herself feel good about (”please you”)

Everything you say makes me wanna stay

But everything you done makes me wanna run, run, run

  • He knows how to win her over with promises and words but he has done things that she can’t ignore; it opposes the dreamy “I wanna run, run, run away” from Prom Song Gone Wrong and has a darker element of desperation for escape; she is saying that actions speak louder than words

I made the decision that I can’t be with you

  • She’s using her head now as well as her heart, doing the right thing to protect herself

Walking out the door but I already miss you

Thinking about how I used to kiss you

  • As soon as she’s away from him she wants him once again; she still has the memories

I-I’m getting butterflies, I-I’m getting butterflies

  • Usually the first signs of a crush are butterflies in the stomach, so she either still has the same feelings as when she first met him, hence it’s still intense to her, or it’s a fresh relationship that she is already wanting to end

I made the decision that I’m too good for you

  • Lana knows that she deserves better (based on “everything [he’s] done)

Then I see you’re calling, it’s hard to ignore you

Try to be strong, but babe, I adore you

  • She can’t resist him and goes dreamy just thinking of him (hence the pet name being used and her breathless voice)

I-I’m getting butterflies, I-I’m getting butterflies

  • The stuttering once again indicates the intense feelings that comes from a serious attraction/romance or a new, exciting relationship

Well back in high school, in the yard, we used to fight

  • She’s remembering all the times they had together and the frequent arguments – not a good sign, yet could show it’s a petty teenage romance and the song is about her confused feelings at such a young age

But you would sneak in through my window every night

  • The typical move of the guy coming to the girl like a modern day Romeo

“I wanna take you, take you to the world outside.”

Well, I assume it’s what I wanted at the time

  • Lana wasn’t sure if she really wanted to sneak out to “the world outside” with him or even if she wanted to be with him, but she ended up doing it anyway because she was interested in him

But your eyes were like a constant warning sign

  • Eyes are the windows of the soul; she could tell he wasn’t a good guy really; warning signs are usually bright in colour too so perhaps it’s a comment on his burning gaze

“I wanna take you, take you,” and I didn’t mind

  • He’s still feeding her lines and tempting her, but Lana didn’t really mind it even if she wasn’t sure

And even though I didn’t believe you

You had a smile so easy to see through

  • She had her doubts but she could tell he genuinely liked her through his “easy to see through” smile which made her mind up for her

I know a little part of me will always needs you

Try to reach you, try to please you

  • She is dependent on him, in a way, or will always need him in her life, and seems to want to try to “please him” all the time to make him happy

PRE – CHORUS AND CHORUS

I know, I know, I know, we aren’t good together

  • Lana is aware that the relationship doesn’t work and isn’t perfect, and she sounds like she has told people a million times that she knows so – she is repeating the “I know” tiredly

I can’t let go, I’m sure that we should be forever

I look around, there’s no one above you

  • No one is as great as him and no matter what else she finds it won’t be the same

I think you know that I’ll always love you

And baby, I’m bad too, it’s not just you

  • They “aren’t good together” because neither side is doing the best they can for either of them; she has her own flaws too; it possibly started off all the “fights” in high school

But I can’t wait forever to trust you

  • Lana can’t wait for him to change, as it sounds like he doesn’t make any positive differences for her; he most likely tells her he will but never goes through with it; Lana needs to feel secure

CHORUS