LANA DEL REY, “WEST COAST” – VINCENT HAYCOCK. The big question in Lana Del Rey scholarship right now: will the still-TBA release of “Ultraviolence” be accompanied by a major image shift, or will the former Lizzy Grant go on as the damsel-in-inauthentic-distress that she claimed to be in the “Born To Die” era? The concern stems mainly from her own language: Grant called the late 2013 release of her short film “Tropico” a “farewell,” which would seem to indicate that “Ultraviolence” would be something of a “fresh start.” So far, the change has been subtle. Lana’s Coachella performance wasn’t all that different from her previous Coachella performances, and lead-off single “West Coast,” though excellent, wouldn’t have been particularly out of place on “Paradise.” But videos have always been Grant’s specialty, and Vincent Haycock’s “West Coast” clip was expected to put an end to some of the mystery.
In typical Lana fashion, though, it doesn’t. And – in typical Lana fashion – it’s kind of disappointing. After “Tropico,” “Ride,” and “National Anthem,” it’s easy to forget that Grant sometimes puts out simple, relatively uninteresting videos. As it is, “West Coast” plays like an average Lana Del Rey video, on par with “Carmen,” “Blue Jeans,” and “Young And Beautiful.” If major changes are coming with the imminent “Ultraviolence” release, “West Coast” isn’t talking about it.
It’s not shouting, at least – if you’ve spent a lot of time with Grant’s work, though, you can spot some potential clues. Around thirty seconds in, Lana mouths the opening lines of her song while strutting down the beach and rolling her eyes. It’s a confident move, and it comes naturally. Lana has been imperialistic before, and she’s certainly shown that she’s a solid performer, but she’s never given the impression that she’s completely in control. It’s a small revelation, but the brief moment when she proves that she has a bit of autonomous self-confidence is arguably the least uncomfortable Elizabeth Grant has ever looked on camera. When she shows up at the end, gaudy in red and ridiculously on fire, she retains that confidence. I don’t feel nervous when I watch this video. Whether that’s a good thing or not is still TBA.