Song of the Day #3,758: ‘Mariners Apartment Complex’ – Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey is sticking to her pace of a new album every other year, with her next release (amusingly titled Norman Fucking Rockwell) due in early 2019. As a preview, she recently dropped a couple of new tracks on an EP.

‘Mariners Apartment Complex’ and ‘Venice Bitch’ are both vintage Lana Del Rey, though the latter goes in some trippy new directions, including a meandering space-synth solo that stretches the track’s running time to more than 10 minutes. That sounds horrible on paper but the song is hypnotizing and beautiful, like everything Del Rey touches.

Both tracks were produced and co-written by Jack Antonoff, who has made a career out of working with strong female artists (Taylor Swift, Lorde, Pink, St. Vincent and Carly Rae Jepsen, to name a few). You wouldn’t guess it to listen to them, though. Del Rey has worked with several high-profile producers but her songs always sound entirely her own. That’s a testament to both her and the producers.

‘Mariners Apartment Complex’ is a gorgeous ballad with lyrics referencing Elton John and Leonard Cohen. It’s sad the way most of her songs are sad but it flips the script, casting her as the steady rock for a poor soul lost as sea. In her early songs, Del Rey was often the one who was lost.

Right from the start, though, she was fully confident in her sound and her persona, never chasing a trend, always true to her vision. These new songs are excellent; I can’t wait to hear the rest.

[Verse 1]
You took my sadness out of context
At the Mariners Apartment Complex
I ain’t no candle in the wind
I’m the board, the lightning, the thunder
Kind of girl who’s gonna make you wonder
Who you are and who you’ve been

[Pre-Chorus 1]
And who I’ve been is with you on these beaches
Your Venice bitch, your die-hard, your weakness
Maybe I could save you from your sins
So, kiss the sky and whisper to Jesus
My, my, my, you found this, you need this
Take a deep breath, baby, let me in

You lose your way, just take my hand
You’re lost at sea, then I’ll command your boat to me again
Don’t look too far, right where you are, that’s where I am
I’m your man
I’m your man

[Verse 2]
They mistook my kindness for weakness
I fucked up, I know that, but Jesus
Can’t a girl just do the best she can?
Catch a wave and take in the sweetness
Think about it, the darkness, the deepness
All the things that make me who I am

[Pre-Chorus 2]
And who I am is a big-time believer
That people can change, that you don’t have to leave her
When everyone’s talking, you can make a stand
‘Cause even in the dark, I feel your resistance
You can see my heart burning in the distance
Baby, baby, baby, I’m your man (yeah)

You lose your way, just take my hand
You’re lost at sea, then I’ll command your boat to me again
Don’t look too far, right where you are, that’s where I am
I’m your man
I’m your man

Catch a wave and take in the sweetness
Take in the sweetness
You want this, you need this
Are you ready for it?
Are you ready for it?
Are you ready for it?

5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,758: ‘Mariners Apartment Complex’ – Lana Del Rey

  1. Amy says:

    Just looking at the lyrics (I’ll listen to the song when it won’t wake sleeping folks :), it appears that she has cast “herself” as the steady rock but only once establishing herself as a man. I’ll check back in after listening, but that’s what initially has me intrigued… the woman seems still to be lost.

    • Clay says:

      I don’t think she’s establishing herself as a man. She refers to herself as a woman throughout. The “I’m your man,” I think, is playing with the gender reversal, using a common phrase without a common feminine equivalent, and also quoting a famous song by Leonard Cohen, one of her idols.

      • Amy says:

        There is a lot going on in this song, metaphorically speaking. As little as I want to listen to that 10 minute song you describe, I’m curious if it’s the companion to this one. Do we learn more about our protagonist, the “Venice bitch,” whose sadness and kindness are misinterpreted and what led her to this current relationship with another woman? She may be quoting Leonard Cohen with the repeated refrain, but the significance is deeper than that, I’m convinced. She is playing the role traditionally assigned to the man, “command”Ing her lover’s boat to her; the last few verses are overtly sexual, no? Intriguing stuff to be sure.

  2. Dana Gallup says:

    Very good song. It’s impressive that she consistently continues to put out quality music.

    Out of curiosity, would you consider her a one hit wonder? I think her only big hit was “Summertime Sadness,” though even that wasn’t so huge, and she’s had other songs that received radio play and charted. I think she falls closer to the Counting Crows and Lyle Lovett category, though with more releases.

    • Clay says:

      ‘Video Games’ was a bigger hit than ‘Summertime Sadness,’ I think, and she has had modest chart success with all of her albums. I agree, she belongs in the Lovett/Crows category — consistent, moderate success with a dedicated fan base and critical acclaim.

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