Real Life Rock Top 10: March 2023
1. Lana Del Rey, “A & W” (UMG). As piano, bass, and acoustic guitar open the song, and then lift it through the next four minutes, it almost doesn’t let the mind hold the way the sense of portent they carry lasts even as the story, an increasingly unnerving set of fragments about giving up identity to the inevitability of sexual degradation—in her words, and everything before has been building to this but you’re not ready for it, “If I told you I was raped do you really think anybody would think I didn’t ask for it? I didn’t ask for it”—goes on. Del Rey shifts, sways through the music, seems to bounce on it as if it were a tightly made bed in the song’s Ramada Inn. Then the instruments and voice go away, and for a minute there’s a synthesizer’s programmed percussion and harsh little noises from the edges of the sound, and you get to where the story was heading, all the intelligence and depression and fatalism of the first burned off into one meaningless fuck after another by someone who gave up on life just before the first part of the song ended. And that first part is, in Del Rey’s typically disguised, tossed-off way, as evanescently convincing as anything she’s ever done, and she wrote the book.