With her debut album, Born To Die, Lana Del Rey became the woman of a thousand think pieces. Her apparent love for sex, booze and drugs offended critics across the spectrum. She garnered hate from people who didn't think her overt display of these themes had a place in mainstream pop, as well as those who didn't think she was pushing them far enough, they lamented that there was no real meaning or deeper challenge to them. So commentators set out to decide who Lana Del Rey really is: A bimbo? An over-sexualized record label toy? A secretly powerful feminist icon? According to Del Rey herself, none of the above.
In a 2013 interview, Del Rey told Electronic Beats that her music wasn't a commentary on the female's role in society. Rather, the album was about experience, specifically her experience. Del Rey was a self-described "crazy" addict in her teens. Sex, drugs and booze was her life, and though she's been sober for years now, those experiences will always be a part of her. Kendrick Lamar once noted that he had to make Good Kid, MAAD City (his debut album about growing up in Compton) before he could make anything else. The album was the story of his life thus far, and it had to be told before he could evolve as an artist. Born To Die serves the same purpose for Del Rey.
Our song this week is "Diet Mountain Dew" from Del Rey's debut effort. Aptly named, the song has a light, summery feel to it. There's something effortless in her melodies, they sweep you along lazily, drawing parallels to the carefree lifestyle Del Rey was infatuated with. She may be born to die one day, but she's going to enjoy every minute she's alive. But there's a dichotomy with any diet soda: Its contents are never as beautiful as the packaging, and Del Rey experiences this throughout the song. As she's asking her object of affection (whether it's a person, a drug, or something else) if they'll be in love forever, she's simultaneously singing to herself in the background, "You're no good for me". But she wants it. And she'll have it for now. And then she'll move on.
You can learn more about Lana Del Rey here:
About the curator - Cormac McGee
Cormac McGee is a DJ, artist manager and concert promoter based in Toronto, Canada. He’s played in front of crowds from 10 – 1,000 people and has run concerts with some of today’s top hip hop artists, including Drake, Future, Mac Miller, 6lack, Ab-Soul and more. He also runs the Music Den at Ryerson University, a business incubator for entrepreneurs in the music industry.