Song of the Day #3,151: ‘Off to the Races’ – Lana Del Rey

lana_del_rey_born_to_die‘Off to the Races,’ the second track on Lana Del Rey’s 2012 album Born to Die, is equal parts sultry and street, a blend of Nabokov’s Lolita and a thug life Bonnie & Clyde.

The Lolita references, appearing throughout, were an early indicator that Del Rey had more serious, literary concerns than anybody gave her credit for. It was easy to dismiss her as a lightweight based on her looks and the damsel in distress image she projected, but a closer look at her songs shows real depth and craft.

[Verse 1]
My old man is a bad man
But I can’t deny the way he holds my hand
And he grabs me, he has me by my heart
He doesn’t mind I have a Las Vegas past
He doesn’t mind I have a LA crass way about me
He loves me with every beat of his cocaine heart
Swimming pool glimmering darling
White bikini off with my red nail polish
Watch me in the swimming pool
Bright blue ripples
You sitting, sipping on your Black Cristal, yeah

[Pre-Chorus 1]
Light of my life, fire of my loins
Be a good baby, do what I want
Light of my life, fire of my loins
Gimme them gold coins
Gimme them coins

[Chorus 1]
And I’m off to the races
Cases of Bacardi chasers
Chasing me all over town
Cause he knows I’m wasted,
Facing time again at Rikers Island
And I won’t get out
Because I’m crazy, baby
I need you to come here and save me
I’m your little scarlet, starlet
Singing in the garden
Kiss me on my open mouth
Ready for you

[Verse 2]
My old man is a tough man
But he’s got a soul as sweet as blood red jam
And he shows me, he knows me, every inch of my tar black soul
He doesn’t mind I have a flat broke-down life
In fact he says he thinks it’s what he might like about me
Admires me, the way I roll like a rolling stone
Likes to watch me in the glass room, bathroom
Chateau Marmont, slipping on my red dress, putting on my makeup
Glass room, perfume, cognac, lilac fumes
Says it feels like heaven to him

[Pre-Chorus 2]
Light of his life, fire of his loins
Keep me forever, tell me you own me
Light of your life, fire of your loins
Tell me you own me
Gimme them coins

[Chorus 1]
And I’m off to the races
Cases of Bacardi chasers
Chasing me all over town
Cause he knows I’m wasted,
Facing time again at Rikers Island
And I won’t get out
Because I’m crazy, baby
I need you to come here and save me
I’m your little scarlet, starlet
Singing in the garden
Kiss me on my open mouth

[Chorus 2]
Yo, I’m off to the races, laces
Leather on my waist is tight and I am falling down
I can see your face is shameless
Cipriani’s basement
Love you, but I’m going down
God, I’m so crazy, baby
I’m sorry that I’m misbehaving
I’m your little harlot, starlet
Queen of Coney Island
Raising hell all over town
Sorry ’bout it

[Bridge]
My old man is a thief, and
I’m gonna stay and pray with him til the end
But I trust in the decision of the Lord
To watch over us
Take him when he may, if He may
I’m not afraid to say
That I’d die without him
Who else is gonna put up with me this way?
I need you, I breathe you, I’ll never leave you
They would rue the day, I was alone without you
You’re lying with your gold chain on
Cigar hanging from your lips
I said “hon’, you never looked so beautiful
As you do now, my man”

[Chorus 3]
And we’re off to the races, places
Ready set the gate is down
And now we’re going in
To Las vegas, chaos
Casino oasis
Honey it is time to spin
Boy, you’re so crazy, baby
I love you forever, not maybe
You are my one true love
You are my one true love

[Outro]
You are my one true love

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One thought on “Song of the Day #3,151: ‘Off to the Races’ – Lana Del Rey

  1. Dana says:

    Definitely more interesting and provocative than your average pretty pop star.

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