When a woman writes a song called “Video Games”, you might think you know the drill: a neglected girlfriend’s nag, a melodic hey-buddy-how-about-training-your-peepers-on-these-pixels lament. Not so Lana Del Rey and her dreamy, smouldering ballad that’s turned her into a straight-up internet sensation.
“It’s about a time when things were really simple for me,” coos the 24-year-old from Lake Placid, New York. “It was just me and a boy, and I would come home and watch him play video games.”
Just watching? No joining in?
“I always got killed right away,” she giggles, which she does a lot. “It was just about being together in the same room.”
In that simpler time, Lana Del Rey was Lizzy Grant, an aspiring singer playing open-mic nights in Brooklyn and hoping to catch a break. Then she took a stage name, chosen because “it sounded exotic and beautiful and maybe you’re not really sure what it means”, put out a quirky homemade promo of shots of the newly bee-stung singer spliced with random clips of skaters, cartoons and drunken Hollywood actresses, and found herself getting all kinds of attention.
“To be honest, no one ever gave a flying fuck about my music or my videos and then all of a sudden it was getting 30,000 views a day,” she says.
With an album out early next year, “an epic, grand production with a sad but regal side”, expect the flying fucks to be more liberally dispensed. (Oh, and in case any of you are lawyers: “I’m working with a copyright specialist to clear all of that personal footage I stole off YouTube,” she says, or rather giggles, of course.)
“Video Games”/”Blue Jeans” is out now (Stranger Records)