I’ve written about Lana’s saddest and darkest songs before, but now – after becoming refreshed with the blessing that is Happiness Is A Butterfly (the snippet at least) – I think it would be nice to write about Lana Del Rey’s most hopeful songs. The new slant of looking towards a golden future is back in fashion as demonstrated on Lust For Life.
10. Video Games
Video Games, her first and possibly most classic hit, is one of those soaring, feel-good love songs that make you cry with a smile on your face. Compared to many of her love songs where she seems to be yearning for someone too far from her (Pretty When You Cry, Shades Of Cool, to name a few), this song is a true love song at it’s finest, where she sings that it’s only worth living if “somebody is loving you – and baby now you do”. Though not explicitly a song about hope, it still shows she firmly believes in the love they feel and she is certain that he wants her as much as she wants him.
9. Old Money
This is more of a song about wistfully hoping someone will want her back – though the story is unclear, she reminisces of the good times with a person she loves and says that she’ll be by their side as soon as she can when they reach out to her. Though more of a sad song than a cheerful one, it still shows that she hopes they will still love her when her beauty fades. I could have chosen Young and Beautiful for this list, but I feel Old Money is more appropriate due to the heartbroken way she sings “if you change your mind I’ll come, come, come”. In Young and Beautiful (which would certainly make this list if I had the room), she seems more certain of their future, as she confirms “I know you will [love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful]”. Old Money contains less certainty but more wilfulness.
8. Bel Air
Bel Air is completely appropriate for hope as it’s about starting again – as it concludes the tale of redemption, Tropico. Throughout the song Lana says that she “don’t wanna be bad, [she] won’t cheat [them] no more”. Along with the lyric about her “resurrection” – most likely making herself better for the person she loves – and how she “can’t wait to see [them]”, this song holds a lot of hope for being with someone and having them “break this heart of [hers]”. It’s not just the lyrics, it’s the tone – Bel Air has a sound that makes you feel just as optimistic and waiting to see what the future will bring. It makes me feel good whenever I hear it and I always feel positive about myself and my future actions.
7. God Bless America – And All The Beautiful Women In It
Although mostly a song commending women in this era, it still manages to make you feel good and almost protected. Lana’s request that God blesses the female population (specifically) gives way to imagining that there is a higher power taking care of us. No matter what your slant is on religion, it’s still a song that gives comfort during this difficult time, and helps us to become “proud and strong”.
6. Beautiful People, Beautiful Problems
I have said previously that this song is a little bit lost on me when it comes to the meaning – in my Lust For Life album review I pointed out that the verses and the choruses seem to not entirely match up. However, the choruses for this heartfelt lament of the “beautiful people” (unfortunately I don’t qualify for inclusion) strike a cord as these two strong women in music say that “we’ve got to try”. The song increases in emotion as it goes on and it’s impossible to ignore the feelings of promise, particularly as they request us – the people – all try together, creating a song that unifies the listeners.
This is a bit of a random choice – the only unreleased song I have mentioned – but I couldn’t help but remember how Lana (Lizzy) sang about her hopes for the future. Some may be quite shallow (“hair to my ass” for starters) but it’s a song about wishing for the ideal future. She wants golden knuckles and diamond hoops – money that comes with fame. It’s a song about dreaming for a reality she has now captured for herself, proof that hoping and pushing yourself in the right direction for what you want can eventually fulfil your dreams. The song itself has a very bright, breezy feel, making it a song of ambition.
This has to be one of her well-loved songs and possibly the most patriotic of the bunch. The sound of the song is clearly American, particularly the chorus and her strong accent throughout, along with the lyrics that perfectly match up the dreamy American music video of motels and motorbikes, and it shows Lana’s love for her country (a place where, like in American – another song for this list – you are young, dope and proud). However, Lana’s personal lyrics about “travelling too long” and being “tired of feeling like [she’s] fucking crazy” still end up being positive. She sings of the difficulties she’s facing yet she “just ride[s]” and lets herself feel free. It’s a song to be inspired by – to be free yourself, just “hear the birds on the summer breeze” and be as crazy as you feel. The deepness of the lyrics resonates more with listeners, making this a touching song, but ultimately it manages to be assuring.
The gentle, flowing ballad about the state of the world and the dark possibility of the future at first terrified me. Her lyrics of bombs and bitter water freaked me out, especially when imagining the horror of what could be, but Lana once again manages to turn it on it’s head. She first of all sings with a haunting tone before, eventually, she reaches the much more pleasant “every time that we run” part of the song before accepting change will come but “we’ll be here for it”. Once again, she unites her listeners and changes a gloomy song into one of hope. Accepting the possibilities for the future but rather than fearing it, we all come together and prepare ourselves.
2. When The World Was At War We Kept Dancing
Like Change, this song speaks of our dark present times, including the “fake news” and the possibility of the “end of an era/America”. However, she once again spins it on it’s head and creates a song about hope, about coming together and fighting darkness with light. In this case, dancing. She reminds us of a time when the world was at war before (either the world wars or Vietnam) and how we kept dancing back then. It seems things worked out as she reminds us to do it again now – fight fear with hope and find a way to keep dancing. She also says it’s “only the beginning” and we should “hold onto hope”. It’s a positive message that really does bring the feeling of relief and I love to listen to it whenever I’m feeling low or afraid, because no matter what, we’ll keep dancing.
1. Get Free
Get Free was the most obvious candidate for the first choice. Though the song is personal to Lana, and she has kept much of it’s meaning to herself, she still has managed to end her album on a positive light. Harking back to Ride with how she has a “war in [her] mind”, she firmly says that she wants to move “out of the black” and “into the blue”. It’s a beautiful song with a lot of deep meaning and significant lyrics, but her cheerful tone of the chorus and the repeated “out of the black/into the blue” gives so much joy. She has really changed her perception on life and made a record that leads us out of the darkness and into a mindset of expectancy, becoming sanguine and, of course, hope.