yMusic: "Summertime Sadness" by Lana Del Rey (Plus a "Theory")

"Kiss me hard before you go, summertime sadness.
I just wanted you to know, 'that baby you're the best'."

So goes the first lyrics of "Summertime Sadness" by Lana Del Rey. It's already been released as a single outside America, and for good reasons. It's a nostalgic lament of Lana's last night with a lover. 

One source claims the song is actually about a boyfriend who died, and this is a reflection. Regardless, the second verse describes Lana speeding down a road, not caring if she crashes. In any case, that's some grim subtext going on.

It's a downbeat yet subtly beautiful song that serves well as the second-to-last track on the album Born to Die,

Does the latest video do justice?

Music Video Review

In this video, the artistry demonstrated in Lana Del Rey's earlier music videos, such as "Video Games", is mashed together with the current streak such as the Instagram-framed "National Anthem".

This time though, whoever is responsible for the video had fun fiddling with colors. Instead of having a thick anchor into reality, or a coherent story, the focus is saturating the shots in a faded fog, emphasizing more on "sadness" than "summertime". (The fact that the video was released yesterday, in July, covered that aspect.)

And instead of Lana Del Rey being opposite to the black A$AP Rocky, the love interest is Jamie King--a woman. Both fall to their deaths with emotional symbolism. Oh, and Lana Del Rey pulling a Nicki Minaj face  along the way.

Unfortunately, this music video lacked compared to "National Anthem", "Born to Die" and even "Blue Jeans".

Love and Death: The Common Themes

So far, Lana Del Rey has two "eras", so to say.

The first era are the archive videos. Basically, Lana Del Rey took footage from various sources, along with shots of her from a web camera. The music video for "Video Games" falls into this, along with the first version of "Blue Jeans", the video for "Carmen", and several other unreleased tracks scattered throughout YouTube. (Look for the demo of "Diet Mtn Dew" [sic]).

The second era are the professional videos. This is "Born to Die", the second version of "Blue Jeans", "National Anthem", and "Summertime Sadness". All the singles except the first one.

What do they all have in common?

Love and death.

Each video take on a different concept, but all four use the same themes.

  • "Born to Die" frames a steamy yet abusive relationship. Their love "drives" Lana to her death.
  • "Blue Jeans" shows Lana lusting for the love interest. She ends up drowning.
  • "National Anthem" shows the happy marriage between Lana and her love interest. An outside force takes his life.
  • "Summertime Sadness" shows the relationship between Lana and her female love interest. Both commit suicide by falling to their deaths.

Four ways to love. Four ways to die.

What's "Summertime Sadness" Lacks

However, the video of "Summertime Sadness" takes a blow due to one hanging question: "Why do they commit suicide?"

It's clear how the deaths in the other three videos happen (even if the one in "Blue Jeans" it mostly metaphorically). One problem with Lana and Jamie's relationship as shown is that we only catch glimpses through artsy shots. We see them happy together, and clearer shots of Jamie looking sad and forlorn, but why?

What happened that caused them both to throw themselves off ledges?

Maybe if "Summertime Sadness" made a little more sense, it would have topped "National Anthem" and "Born to Die" in emotional impact.

But taking a different direction detracted from the overall quality.

YOUR TURN: What are your thoughts on the music video for "Summertime Sadness"?

PS: Although one source says that "Dark Paradise" is the next music video, I'm holding off for "Off to the Races" to have a music video. Maybe one day, I'll explain why.

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