Lana Del Rey’s “West Coast” Is Pretty-But-Gritty

April 16, 2014
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Having previously performed a stripped-down a cappella version of her latest track “West Coast” from the upcoming album Ultraviolence  on April 11th at a Vegas gig, Lana Del Rey was back onstage yesterday at Coachella, delivering a typically kitsch, yet elegant full-blown performance.

del rey

The track, which has been confirmed as the lead single from Ultraviolence , was given a worldwide exclusive first play on Fearne Cotton’s Radio 1 show on Monday (April 14) and will be the second taste of what’s to come from the artist in this new era.  The singer recently revealed a track called ‘Meet Me In The Pale Moonlight’ – though the track has since been taken offline.

Commenting on Ultraviolence  and “West Coast” in a statement, Del Rey said “The record is finished and it’s beautiful; it’s so wrong and exquisite. It is absolutely gorgeous, darker than the first.”  The ‘first’ being her 2012 debut album Born To Die.

Darker it may be, but in terms of sheer pop pleasure “West Coast” offers sensitivity and emotion coupled with ethereal, haunting vocals with a raw edge.  Alluding to the habitual customs of the West Coast, she sings “If you’re not drinking then you’re not playing”. With a syncopated drum rhythm and guitar solos that ‘surf’ along, the track is a combination of soft rock ballad and love song. Del Rey’s trademark floating vocals throughout “West Coast” are indeed a signature style, but there’s a noticable inflection of Stevie Nicks and even, perhaps, a slowed-down Belinda Carlisle. This comes as no surprise as the singer has enlisted the help of the man who wrote hits for Nicks and Carlisle, Rick Nowels.

“Rooms On Fire” written by Rick Nowels, co-written and performed by Stevie Nicks.

In addition to Nowels, Del Rey has enlisted the help of Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach to produce the track. A decision, which in itself, is a demonstration of Del Rey’s overwhelmingly positive belief in her true capabilities – despite criticism – for Auerbach had this to say of the singer back in 2012: “On some level, we’ve seen that Lana Del Rey thing since we first started, like, all of a sudden this new band would be headlining festivals, and we’re like, ‘Wait, how did they get that? We’ve been here for two, three, four, five years and we’re still working our way up,”Auerbach told MTV at the time  “But then they’re gone. Just as quickly as they get up there, they disappear.”

It’s certainly nice to see Auerbach proved wrong (I’m sure he’s just as pleased!).  In the end, music is primarily a form of entertainment and as long as the fans are interested in the music it will play on. Lana Del Rey should be feeling optimistic about the release of the new album judging by the positive reactions to “West Coast” in the media and the fanbase at large.

Just like Del Rey, “West Coast” is pretty-but-gritty and pulling off this type of performance style is as much about personality as it is about looks.  The gorgeous fashionista surely has the entire package wrapped up and we at @weknowthedj can’t wait for the digital release of the album Ultraviolence  on May 18th.  We can also look forward to seeing singer perform at this years’ Glastonbury Festival here in the UK.

-Lucy Jenkins.

@LUCYJENKINS

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