Lana Del Rey’s Retro “Video Games” Presses Our Buttons

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Imagine: you’re a talented but struggling singer-songwriter with an ear for lush arrangements (not to mention a director’s eye for collage) who moves to Brooklyn from upstate New York but can’t get any traction at open mic nights, where you’re limited to your voice and a guitar, and even your name (Lizzy Grant) only brings to mind a character on Entourage. Do you throw in the towel?

If you’re lucky, you’ve got some resources you can draw on (in Grant’s case, her father’s shrewd investments in real estate domain names) and you can hire a top-line producer like David Kahne and PR team like Shore Fire Media. Then, if you’re smart, you work, and you wait. Grant, now Lana del Rey, (presumably after Lana Turner and, perhaps, Dolores del Rio?) is both lucky and smart, and now she’s poised to make a huge splash. On the strength of her first single “Video Games,” and its accompanying video, above, she’s sold out her first two shows as del Rey?one each in New York City and Los Angeles?and has just premiered another killer video for the B-side “Blue Jeans”:

Lana del Rey’s look is of a piece with her sound: vintage Hollywood filtered through New York eyes, and not without irreverent reference, though MTV Style covers her “gangster Nancy Sinatra” image better than we could. We’d rather gush about the sweeping arrangements of “Video Games,” which call to mind Phil Spector‘s Wall of Sound, of course, but which are slightly more understated in their use of harp and strings than, say, “Across the Universe,” or the ironic nod to Belinda Carlisle in the decadent lyrics. “Blue Jeans” is retro in a different way?its reverbed and delayed guitar calls back to 1960s surf in the same way “Wicked Game,” Chris Isaak‘s hit single from the Wild at Heart soundtrack, did. And this doesn’t even touch on the great montage work she’s done with super-8 footage for these videos! We are definitely looking forward to hearing more from del Rey.

[Photo Credit: Nicole Nodland]