A couple of weeks ago I reviewed Lana Del Rey's "National Anthem" video and praised it for being moody, evocative and for having something to say. The first two adjectives definitely apply to the latest visual (below) from my favourite indie-pop goddess but I'm not sure about the latter compliment. "Summertime Sadness" finds the perennially doomed and depressed diva on autopilot. Sure, the clip is absolutely gorgeous to look at. That's a given. But you could film this bitch doing the dishes in a hessian sack and it would be a work of art. Lana is beautiful, her style is impeccable and I adore the hazy, sepia palette she has made her own. However, film noir references and an overworked smoke machine don't quite cut it this time around.
The plot is simple but enticing. Lana and Jamie King (whatever happened to her film career?) play lesbian lovers, who spend a lot of time gazing at each other longingly before killing themselves. That storyline should compliment the song perfectly but the execution is lacking. "National Anthem" was overly ambitious and meandering but intelligent and beautifully constructed. This, on the other hand, looks cheap and rushed. The editing is sloppy, our heroine looks slightly demented and the connection between the lovers is about as convincing as a love scene between Jodie Foster and John Travolta. It's all just a little too obvious. If Saturday Night Live spoofed a Lana Del Rey video - the result would look a lot like this. But having said all that, it still shits on your fave.
Take the opening death scene. That's one of the most arresting moments in music video history. It's eerily beautiful and quintessentially Lana. Then there's the overwrought lesbian melodrama, which I love, and the ominous angles and lighting. Most importantly, "Summertime Sadness" has an impeccable soundtrack. This brooding anthem positively seethes with malcontent. Think Nancy Sinatra on LSD and a half a dozen downers. I've said it before but the 26-year-old has an incomparable knack for creating (a usually depressing) mood. My new obsession rolls into town this week and I'll be there front and centre, waiting Lana to belt out modern classics like this. I just hope she keeps the smoke machine at home.