Amidst all this talk about Girls, what with its New Yorkness and its girlness and its youthness, it was easy to forget about the other young New York woman who was recently dominating/trolling the pop culture conversation. Meaning: guys, we forgot all about Lana del Rey! Lucky for everyone, then, that she has just released a new video for us to scream at/about.
The video is for the song "Carmen," which is about, like all Lana del Rey songs it seems, a sultry/sexy/dangerous teen girl whom everyone loves but who is somewhat elusive. This character of course has nothing to do with del Rey herself, mercy no, don't even try to make the connection. It's about, uh, someone else. Anyway, the video! The video is another del Reyian mashup of grainy archival footage of various things — old TV shows, people in swimming pools — mixed with made-to-look-old clips of del Rey lithely writhing around and being entertained by some downtown-looking model guy on a motorcycle.
Is there a meaning behind the menagerie? Oh, that's doubtful. It's just a mix of "cool" looking things. Pretty mixes with urban/trashy, as clips of a woman in a white dress running around the grounds of some foggy estate somewhere are spliced in with a zoom-in of the molecular makeup of crystal meth and some old Cops footage or something. Isn't that an edgy juxtaposition? And then there's del Rey on a bike with her Euro-skinny boytoy, and then there she is (or someone is) smoking a cigarette while holding a teddy bear. Do you get the interplay between hard and soft, between beauty and ugliness? It's art!
Watching this, it's funny to remember that del Rey was ever such a lightning rod. Remember the winter? It's all anyone could talk about. But then here's this, now that we're safely in spring, and it's clear that, oh yeah, her music is fine if a bit boring, these videos are just semi-embarrassing studio art class projects, and her themes/ideas are basically a more urban version of Katy Perry's world of slinky, sexy, carefree youth nostalgia. The two go to rival schools in the same collectively imagined world of magic teenagery, one out in the suburbs, the other across the river in the city. That's all. That's just Lana del Rey. Perfectly harmless. (Well, except when you mess with Erik Satie -- don't do that again, del Rey.) Won't it be nice when we're shrugging our shoulders about Lena Dunham and company too? Wait, maybe we are already.