Lana Del Rey’s ‘Love’ Is Marvelously Good

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“Love” is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a Lana Del Rey song in the artist’s later, more chilled-out phase: short verses, no shortage of repetitions, and so obvious it hurts. As the chorus indicates, the song is about being “young and in love.” “Love” is also, needless to say, marvelously good, yet another masterful display of Del Rey’s gift for transmuting, without apparent effort, kitsch into myth, nostalgia into presence. Like David Lynch, the artist whose aesthetic hers most resembles, Del Rey’s lives in a timeless dimension of the soul whose concrete particulars — the hair, the clothes, the lighting — replicate those of the ’50s and early ’60s, or more precisely, a cinematic rendition of that era. Mediation and desire are her great themes. No one knows how she looks better than she does, and no one else knows just how much she’s worth than her. (A lot, it’s safe to say.)

Music videos, then, are especially vital for such an artist. Each one constitutes a golden opportunity to unfurl all the latent contradictions in her tone and sound. In this regard, the video for “Love” delivers. The youthful lovers take on form and color: Shot with what looks like 16 mm film and in a flatteringly hazy light, they’re driving vintage automobiles to accompany their vintage music, heading out to the beach, It’s all very Golden State, classic Hollywood, L.A., but sneakily contemporary as well — Instagram raised to the level of a Platonic ideal. Imagine Del Rey, her image and her music, as the ultimate Instagram filter. She starts out shot in black and white, and, though none — or few, the dimmer lighting makes it hard to tell — of them are anything but white themselves, her audience follows suit. (All the sunlit lovers are, of course, white.)

Lana Del Rey’s ‘Love’ Is Marvelously Good