In 48 hours I went from being casually interested in Lana Del Rey to wholeheartedly obsessed.
Misjudgment, segregation, Americana, revolution, romance, glamor and fiasco. These are some brush strokes off a few scenes on her own cyclorama. Many critics and listeners can concur that LDR’s songs offer an immersive experience – they are highly experiential and can pull you into a scene and onto a stage, to invite you to laugh and cry with the people living in her songs. Cinematic is the atmosphere. Dark is the tone. Melancholy is the theme. Her songs capture people’s attention and provoke thoughts, probably because we all have had those dark and unforgettable moments, moments when our fragile hearts wanted to give out.
Yet there is hope. Don’t the lyrics and melodies buzz like an electric shock and keep the worn heart beating? This is a similar feeling to watching the sun rise, the moon shine, and people age. There are some mystical or transcending elements built into her songs, about interpreting eternality and unearthing truth perhaps.
And then she crept into my dreams and these dreams gave me revelations.
She invited me to her live show. The stage was constructed on an abandoned site of worship from the Ancient Greece. Water washed away the sharp edges of the ruins but cannot conceal its divine past. Water flew to the low ground and formed ponds and among the ponds sat some lakes. The lakes reflected the clouds as if they were blobs of paint on a dark blue canvas. Late afternoon sunshine gleamed on the rippling water and rendered the world apricot orange.
She rose on a platform in the lake, an altar looking platform, round and glowing together with beams of sunlight. And she sang me,
Happiness is a butterfly
We should catch it while dancing
I lose myself in the music, baby
Every day is a lullaby
Try to catch it like lightning
I sing it into my music, I’m crazy
Every intonation was like the rising and falling ocean waves, soothing but melodramatic; she gave the spellbound me a moment of silence, the kind where you find your own breath and heart beat disturbing. I went to fetch my camera and on my way back I saw this guy who did not reveal his face or name. He was somehow disgruntled. I could not figure him out and he receded down the corridor, in a slight hurry and intimidation.
I did not see him again. I did not take any photographs. LDR kept singing her songs.
I woke up on my couch. The 2 PM sun shone through the windows into this corner room. LDR’s voice continued coming through the speaker cones. However I did come to a sudden realization why the album was called Norman Fucking Rockwell. I looked up Norman Rockwell and looked at all of Rockwell’s paintings, on this slightly gloomy day filled with slightly melodramatic tunes.
It was a dream indeed but who said you couldn’t live inside your dreams and play irrationally, even briefly.
See you in Nashville.