If there’s one recurring theme in Lana Del Rey’s music — besides fast cars, sugar daddies, and death — it’s Americana. Del Rey’s music, both lyrically and melodically, yearns for an American long gone or relishes in what the country has become. Who can forget when Del Rey told us to “be young, be dope, be proud, like an American?”
But even Del Rey’s romantic nostalgia can’t seem to hold up against the reality of American gun violence. This weekend two mass shootings took place, one in Dayton, Ohio and one in El Paso, Texas, with 31 victims dead in total. On Monday, Del Rey shared on Instagram that she’d come home early from a trip to Montecito and invited producer Jack Antonoff over to her studio, hoping to process her feelings about the shootings through music.
“Now I know I’m not a politician and I’m not trying to be so excuse me for having an opinion — but in light of all of the mass shootings and the back to back shootings in the last couple of days which really affected me on a cellular level I just wanted to post this video that our engineer Laura took 20 minutes ago,” she wrote. “I hope you like it. I’m singing love to the choruses I recorded this morning. I’m going to call it ‘Looking for America.’”
Now, Del Rey has released a full studio version of “Looking for America,” on which she sings that she’s “still looking for my own version of America. One without the gun, where the flag can freely fly. No bombs in the sky, only fireworks when you and I collide.” This follows Del Rey’s 2017 proclamation that she would no longer use the American flag in her visuals as a protest against Donald Trump. We love an activist...even one who blew up a helicopter with a bazooka in her “High by the Beach” video.
Del Rey’s next album, Norman Fucking Rockwell, is out August 30.