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”


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



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