Lana goes full on Lolita
This is the sound of Del Rey going full pelt with her “Lolita got lost in the hood” persona. Doomed lovers dwell here, as Scarlett O’Hara gets with Kit from Badlands. It’s no understatement to say that ‘Off To The Races’ is a freak show of inappropriate co-dependency.
Lyrically she hits us with shiny baubles of novelistic, pulp fictioned imagery (“He doesn’t mind I have a Las Vegas past. He doesn’t mind I have a LA crass way about me/He loves me with every beat of his cocaine heart“) which recall – of all things – Sheryl Crow’s down and out drunken loner persona in ‘Leaving Las Vegas’.
The track almost falls under the weight of this persona. There’s none of ‘Video Games” measured, piano-led reflection. Instead the psychosexual rumblings of the lyrics and the dual voices she uses off set the comparatively simple musical shades on display.
And yet Del Rey’s schizoid delivery is key to the track’s power; in the verses she sounds like a world-weary grande dame, in the choruses she sounds like a little girl, or, more creepily, like a woman whose massive Electra complex won’t let her grow up. The sampled drum beat attempts to hold the song down, but Del Rey’s herky jerky rhythmic delivery flies off in several different places at once.
Post-‘Video Games’ this is the most intriguing thing we’ve heard from her so far.