Song of the Day #2,297: ‘Old Money’ – Lana Del Rey


Best Albums of the 10s So Far
#18 – Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence

Three artists placed two albums on my list of the top 20 records of the decade so far, and Lana Del Rey nearly joined their ranks.

Both her debut Born to Die and this year’s Ultraviolence made a strong case for landing on the list, but in the end I went only with the moodier sophomore effort.

In crafting this list, I’m considering only albums that work as a thematic whole. An artist can aggregate a bunch of great songs without producing a great album. It’s the cohesiveness, the way the songs play off of each other, that makes a record special.

Del Rey certainly gets that. For an artist who emerged in the era of the downloadable single, she is decidedly an album artist. Both of her records are consistent in tone, sound and mood — and, most impressive, they are completely distinct from each other.

Ultraviolence is the darker album, full of lush strings and mournful melodies. Del Rey croons and swoons like a femme fatale from a gritty film noir. She embraces her lightning rod status with sly satire. And she sounds great doing it.

‘Old Money’ is a great example of how well this album works. Del Rey borrows the melody from Romeo & Juliet‘s ‘What is Youth’ (later re-recorded as ‘A Time For Us’) for the verses, and delivers a yearning ode to lost innocence. It aches the way the whole album aches.

[Verse 1]
Blue hydrangea, cold cash divine
Cashmere, cologne and white sunshine
Red racing cars, Sunset and Vine
The kids were young and pretty
Where have you been? Where did you go?
Those summer nights seem long ago
And so is the girl you used to call
The Queen of New York City

But if you send for me, you know I’ll come
And if you call for me, you know I’ll run
I’ll run to you, I’ll run to you
I’ll run, run, run
I’ll come to you, I’ll come to you
I’ll come, come, come

[Verse 2]
The power of youth is on my mind
Sunsets, small town, I’m out of time
Will you still love me when I shine?
From words but not from beauty
My father’s love was always strong
My mother’s glamour lives on and on
Yet still inside, I felt alone
For reasons unknown to me


And if you call, I’ll run, run, run
If you change your mind, I’ll come, come, come

[Verse 1 – Variation]
Blue hydrangea, cold cash divine
Cashmere, cologne and hot sunshine
Red racing cars, sunset and vine
And we were young and pretty

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,297: ‘Old Money’ – Lana Del Rey

  1. Dana says:

    Well, her melancholy sound is clearly up your alley.

    It sounds as though she only borrowed two lines from “A Time for Us.” Are you sure the borrowing was intentional?

  2. Clay says:

    It was acknowledged and credited, though it’s certainly possible it didn’t start out as intentional.

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