Will Lana Del Rey's New Single "West Coast" Sound Fresh, Or Old & Stale?
Lana Del Rey fans got some exciting news last night! When Prefix Magazine incorrectly tweeted that Del Rey’s recently leaked song, “Meet Me In the Pale Moonlight,” was a “B-side” from her upcoming album, Ultraviolence, she stepped in to correct them, stating, “wrote that for someone else 4 years ago…New single is called "West Coast.” Del Rey didn’t mention a release date for the song, but I bet we’ll get to hear it during her sets at upcoming music festival Coachella.
There’s been quite a bit of speculation regarding Del Rey’s new music lately. Adding fuel to rumors that Ultraviolence will be released to iTunes unexpectedly a la Beyoncé, Del Rey’s dad recently tweeted that his daughter’s new single would come when “we least expect it.” Del Rey also just revealed on Instagram that she’s been working on her new album with Black Keys front man Dan Auerbach. Del Rey’s musical style — a curious mix of 50's and 60's nostalgia, trip-hop beats, and lyrics about excess, late nights, and partying with dangerous men — was definitely unique when she first debuted, but it’s become a little tiresome. I’m dying to know: will “West Coast” sound like something we’ve never heard before? Or will we get more of the same from the "Summertime Sadness" singer?
The fact is, I was hoping we would hear some growth between Lana’s proper debut Born to Die and her Paradise EP, but we really didn’t. Del Rey’s breathy, sultry voice can be very powerful, and sometimes her writing really works (see: “Young and Beautiful” from Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby soundtrack), but her music can be very repetitive, both sonically and thematically. If you’ve been paying close attention, I’m sure you’ve noticed Del Rey’s fondness for certain phrases, like, “pale moonlight,” “you da best,” and “drop it like it’s hot.” Additionally, the same chopped up vocal samples can be heard throughout the songs on Born to Die. It’s time for Del Rey to try something new.
With “West Coast,” I want to hear something totally unexpected. How about instead of a dreary, downbeat torch song, we finally get to hear an up-tempo? Most of Del Rey’s peppier material is unreleased (though you can hear standouts like “Driving in Cars with Boys” and the demo for “National Anthem” on YouTube). And how about switching up the lyrics a bit? As noted above, Del Rey’s imagery has gotten stale.
I have mixed feelings about the impending release of “West Coast.” Part of me says, “Del Rey has never worked with Grammy Award-winning producer Auerbach before — that’s awesome! I'm confident that he will push her sound into new, unfamiliar territory.” But the other part of me says, “Lyrically, we're doomed.” If I had to guess (and granted, I could be completely wrong), “West Coast” is going to be an ode to affluent American living in California. And partying. And "bad boys." But like I said, it’s just a hunch.
Who knows, maybe Del Rey has a few surprises up her sleeve! I certainly hope so. I remain cautiously excited to hear what she has in store for us.