As The Buggles first told us, music videos changed the music scene. A fantastic video can elevate a mediocre song into something much more inspiring. At the same time, a terrible video can ruin a great song.
Which brings us to today’s topic: Lana Del Rey and her single “Video Games.”
Listening to this, the first thing that hits you is Lana Del Rey’s distinctive voice. Her breathy, throaty voice sets her apart from most of the female singers out there today. The sluggish tempo gives it the impression that it’s being sung in the aftermath of some frenzied activity – a wild night out or an emotional breakdown and there’s a sadness that permeates the track. All this combines into a memorable song, one that you’ll find yourself humming in idle moments.
This video is a mess. It’s a montage of weird video clips (from cartoons to Paz de la Huerta) and static shots of Lana Del Rey singing to the camera. No, its not the assorted video clips that ruin this video. Unfortunately, it’s Del Rey herself. The first shot we see of her in the video immediately explains what she means when she calls herself a “gangsta Nancy Sinatra,” and not in a good way. In trying to appear “sexy,” Del Rey comes off looking incredibly bored and it pulls all the emotion out her vocals. At 1:33, you can actually see her eyes flitting around, looking for something more interesting to do. The video looks like a behind-the-scenes at a Ralph Lauren shoot, complete with an apathetic model.
In this case, the pretentious video ruins the song for me. Clearly, Lana Del Rey has an powerful PR/management team behind her new look, and I’m sure the video has garnered legions of fanboys happy to drool over her. It’s too bad her unique sound gets lost in the mix.