“Venice B*tch”, Lana Del Rey’s second single from her upcoming album Norman F*cking Rockwell, masterfully blends vocals and instruments to form a dense wave of atmosphere that makes every minute of her longest track worth the listen.
The song begins in a typical Lana fashion with an almost melancholy guitar lick backed by a strings section. Lana’s vocals kick in, and the lyrics mingle perfectly with the pensive style of the song as she sings about being carefree and missing her lover. Lana seems almost tired as she says “You write, I tour, we make it work”, as if she’s become fatigued by this pattern. The first third of “Venice B*tch” ends with a synthesizer solo that adds to the dreamlike quality of the song and marks a change in the story. From this point on, Lana sings about the couple being more mature but still feeling young together.
The final third of the song begins with an extended instrumental that builds into an atmospheric orchestra of drums, synth, and guitars. The song ends with a haunting refrain that reaffirms Lana’s feelings for her lover and repeats as the instruments fade away, leaving only Lana’s voice, and then silence. There’s a sense of reminiscence and sorrow that merges perfectly with the song’s accompanying video.
The music video is edited to appear as if it’s from an old video camera, adding to the feeling of nostalgia and amplifying the themes of the song. It feels as though the viewer is watching a distant memory along with Lana, as she is reminiscing of a better time that she cannot get back. The video is filmed like a home movie, and the way that Lana looks at the camera tells us that her lover is the one shooting.
This is only a fraction of the video, however. Unfortunately, the majority of the video shows old footage of cars driving down a highway, and loops this footage over and over again. This causes most of the video to come across as repetitive and dull, leaving the viewer longing for more of the home video vignettes. This is a shame, as the atmospheric vibe of the song provided a perfect opportunity to tell an engaging story that would complement the underlying narrative of the song.
Although the music video is a bit weak on the content side, “Venice B*tch” shows us exactly how well Lana blends atmosphere, instruments, and her signature vocals to help produce an ethereal piece of music. The song is also versatile; it is excellent as background music to set a mood, and it works perfectly if anyone needs something to simply listen and cry to.
“Venice B*tch” streaming on all major platforms. Watch the video here.