Lana del Rey's "I Can Fly" Lyrics Are Lana Del Lite — LISTEN
Lana Del Rey, the reigning Queen of the Sad Girls, and Tim Burton, the long time Emperor of the Gloomy Kids: It's a match made in heaven. In fact, it's right up there with Burton and Danny Elfman, and Burton and Johnny Depp, and, further down that list, Burton and Helena Bonham Carter. So when Del Rey's second single for Burton's film Big Eyes called "I Can Fly" debuted this morning, I was bubbling with excitement. Said excitement was instantly quelled when I listened and realized: This is very much Lana Del Rey Lite.
I mean, it's certainly not an inappropriate song for the movie. Del Rey's style is naturally cinematic, morose, and dreamy by nature, and you can still hear that in the instruments. These are definitely not bad songs, since even Del Rey at her worst is still pretty epic, in my eyes.
But the lyrics are, well, concise, and very literal, and borderline boring. Not that her Great Gatsby effort "Young and Beautiful" was a lyrical enigma, but it was a more matured, romantic, true-to-form piece. And considering that Burton, like Del Rey, is someone whose brand is so distinctive it constantly parodies itself, I'm shocked she didn't go all-out. Where's the red dresses? Where's the the sugar daddies? Where's Elvis and Jesus? Where's the Lana cliches we've all grown to love-to-hate?
Not to say that there aren't some classic Lana-y lyrics. "I Can Fly" offers some trademark Lana-ness with lines like "I had bright wishes in the summer, I was bathing in sunlight" conjuring up her beloved Lolita imagery. "Your lies were hard kisses in the summer" invokes sexy, melodramatic woe. And lines like "I was fighting for my art," supplies the debatable belief that what Del Rey does, is in fact, art.
Big Eyes, meanwhile, has a bunch of reject lines from "Born to Die," including flat statements like:
Your world was burning/and I stood watching/As I looked down/The flames grew/You watched me frown/I said good-bye
It also features some typical complicated beliefs about how much dominance a man has over our auburn-haired chanteuse. You can hear that in lines like, "It's amazing what/a woman in love will do" and "I was your woman" and "Is it me, was I wrong/to have trusted you?" I adore her, but she's always more invested in being a wounded woman than a strong one.
This all said, I do understand that since this was written for a movie, she's trying to incorporate a hefty amount of the storyline into the lyrics. To clarify, Big Eyes follows the journey of artist Margaret Keane who, you guessed it, created paintings of children with haunting big eyes. However it was her husband, Walter Keane, that took the credit for these paintings, becoming a national celebrity and ultimately destroying their marriage. So these songs are very much just musical interpretations of the plot, but I feel like that strategy is lazy, at best.
Whatever. My loyalties stick to both Burton and Del Rey, so let's face it: I'm still going to see the film, and I'm still going download these tracks. Stream them below, and see what you think!
Images: Giphy (2)