This is a small snippet and very rushed version of a post I should have made a long time ago.
I will be the first to admit that I talk about the copious amounts of literary references Lana Del Rey incorporates into her songs much too frequently, but I simply cannot help myself. In actuality, I think this is one of the reasons I admire Lana’s music so much. On the surface, her songs can appear as though they lack meaningful lyrics, but in actuality her lyrics are very representative of her intelligence. In my personal opinion, I find Lana to be very well educated and an intellectual, although it might not always seem that way. A lot of people are not aware that she studied metaphysics, an extraordinarily intriguing (and my personal favorite) branch of Philosophy, at Fordham University in New York. Once you are keen to the fact that she includes works of literature in most of her songs, the references begin to become more obvious and clear. I’m certain there are references that I have missed, but will discover over time. The way she incorporates literature, in my opinion (maybe because I’m an English major), is sublime. Here are some examples I have stumbled upon (I hope I’m not forgetting any):
Album: Born To Die
Track: Off to the Races; “Light of my life, fire of my loins” – Opening line of the pre-chorus// Opening line of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Track: Carmen; not necessarily literature, but relates to the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet
Track: Lolita; see the aforementioned novel by Vladimir Nabokov
Track: Body Electric; ode to “I Sing the Body Electric” by Walt Whitman
Track: Ultraviolence; Lana dedicated the album title & title track to A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess; “Hit me and it felt like a kiss”- not literary, but a reference to the song by The Crystals
Track: Money, Power, Glory; “The sun also rises”- The Sun Also Rises- Ernest Hemingway
Track: Brooklyn Baby; References to beat poetry for days
That is all I can remember at the moment, wew that was exhausting. I know it may not seem as though the list is that impressive, but many artists would not even think to make one literary reference, so I celebrate Lana for her efforts. Also, moral of the story, 1.) Don’t criticize someone’s work before really taking the time to analyze it. 2.) Books are your friends. 3.) I’m a book loving nerd.