Young and Beautiful:
Lana Del Rey “Young and Beautiful” a song recorded by American singer, songwriter Lana Del Rey. Released on 23 April 2013, it was the first single from The Great Gatsby: Music from Baz Luhrmann’s Film soundtrack. Contemporary music critics lauded the single, calling it “haunting” and “sombre”. Lyrically, “Young and Beautiful” follows a young lover’s apprehension about aging. The genre of the song is indie rock and . The music video was released on 10th May, 2013. Flanked by a full-string orchestra, Del Rey sings in 1920s art deco fashion. She is shown singing the song in a dark room with glittery diamond-tears on her cheek which look like tattoos.
“Music videos demonstrate genre characteristics (e.g. Stage performances in metal videos, dance routines for boy/girl bands)” “Young and Beautiful”, when compared to many of Del Rey’s past music videos, is a clear conformer to her usual style. a motif of some of Del Rey’s work. “Young and Beautiful” “Ride” “Summertime Sadness” Del Rey’s music videos also feature a range of close-ups on her face singing the song and are almost always performance-based mainly, with perhaps a slight narrative-spin. This could be to create a closer relationship between the artist and audience and encourage a larger following and popularity. A common characteristic of alternative rock music videos is using light and dark colour to create a dated and natural ‘look’ and atmosphere. Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” follows this convention, using lighting to black-out the details of Del Rey’s figure but also to highlight her curvy, sensual outline, portraying her as appealing and attractive. The video also works within a very dull and dark colour scheme, reds, blues and purples decorating the shots of orchestra and the close-ups using dark browns, creams and black to portray Del Rey. However, “Young and Beautiful” challenges a convention of both Alternative Rock and her own style music videos by not including any shots of nature or panning shots of scenery, in favour of a 1920’s performance-themed piece.
“There is a relationship between the lyrics and the visuals (Either illustrative, amplifying or contradicting)” Due to “Young and Beautiful” being a largely performance-based music video, the lyrics have very little relation to the visuals, particularly in terms of illustrating them which is more common in narrative-based videos. The chorus of the song, “Will you still love me…” is rhetorical and personal, sung by the artist referring to the artist. While the chorus is sung, the footage cuts to close-ups of the artist, creating a link between the artist’s personal question and the visual of the artist’s face. There is some relation to the lyrics in the visuals. When Del Rey begins the verse featuring “Dear Lord, when I get to Heaven”, the footage flickers to an image of the artist standing in a shaft of light, which connotes it. Then, as the line “He’s my sun, he makes me shine” is sung, a circular glow appears around Del Rey’s figure, representing a halo and further drawing a connection between lyrics and visuals. Something could be said for the fact that Del Rey is only ever viewed solely in the footage. Although backed up by an orchestra, she is never within the same frame and this sense of isolation could relate to the theme of the lyrics: a fear of going old alone.
“There is a relationship between the music and the visuals (Either illustrative, amplifying or contradicting)” The relationship between the music and the visuals in “Young and Beautiful” is one of amplifying. The music has a very melancholic and dreary tone which is mirrored and highlighted through the misty, slightly fuzzy effect and dark lighting the footage features. Throughout the song, there is a heavy drum beat hit at the beginning of every chorus which is reflected in the cut from a close-up to Del Rey to the orchestra playing and the conductor directing a rise in dynamics. The jump cuts between shots are timed according to the tempo and beats of “Young and Beautiful”. There is also an illustrative aspect to the relationship between music and visuals in this music video; the shots of the orchestra playing is illustrating the music heard in the on the track. “The demands of the record label will include the need for lots of close-ups of the artist and the artist may develop motifs which recur across their work (e.g. A visual style)” The demands of the record label for lots of close-ups is met in “Young and Beautiful”. In the shots of the artist singing the song, there are only ever close-ups with the focus on the focal points of the face such as cheeks, lips and eyes in extra close-ups and close-ups of the full face from a range of angles. There are also some wide shots , full-length but in dark lighting, playing with shadow across Del Rey’s figure so that only her face and lips singing are highlighted. The technique of close-ups develops a close, personal relationship between the audience and the artist, allowing the viewer to feel connected and involved in the music video and song. It also allows the artist to come across as more relatable and personable. Del Rey, although not an obvious visual style, is very melancholic in her performance, with a serious and almost disparaging expression. This gives her a very sophisticated style and suits the melancholic, dreary tone of her voice.
“There are frequent references to the notion of looking (screens within screens, telescopes, etc) and particularly voyeuristic (sexual) treatment of the female body” Screen 3 A screen, within a screen, within a screen Screen 1 Screen 2 There is a reference to looking throughout the course of the music video. The action on screen is framed throughout by a black border, portraying the footage in a screen within a screen and proving this rule in Goodwin’s theory. Regarding the voyeuristic treatment of the female body, the camera is subtle in the sense that in its perusal of Del Rey’s body, it doesn’t focus on the highly sexualised area of the body e.g. breasts, thighs, bottom. Contrastingly, the camera is blatantly sexual when perusing Del Rey’s figure as a whole. Following the line of her body, the lighting is low-key and creates shadows across her form, focusing the audience’s attention on the clear silhouette of her body, blacking out the rest of the frame. Also, the camera focuses in on the sexualised areas of the face, using an ECU when filming Del Rey’s lips which have been made more prominent by the dark lipstick contrasting with her pale skin, and her eyes which have been similarly highlighted by heavy eye make-up. This is a technique used to popularise the artist to the audience: appealing and attractive singers will gain following from both fans who appreciate her sexually as well as musically.
“There is often intertextual references (to films, TV programmes, other music videos, etc)” Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” is intertextually related to the 2013 film “The Great Gatsby”. Released on 23 April 2013, it was the first single from the The Great Gatsby: Music from Baz Luhrmann’s Film soundtrack. With the lyrics, “Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful?” Del Rey adds a hint of desperation which parallels the idiosyncrasies faced by the characters in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel. Del Rey’s dreamy vocals are draped over sedated strings and canned percussion, falling in line with Del Rey’s retro affectation, fits the atmosphere of the 1920s when the novel is set. The lyrics rotate around the themes of pleasing a lover, nostalgia, and the gloom of aging and change, all of which are explored in the novel “The Great Gatsby”.
Regarding misé en scene, Del Rey’s costume, a long dark dress, and wavy dark hair curled along her forehead, as well as her flamboyant glitzy diamond hoop earrings are reminiscent of the 1920’s fashion, relating the video to the decade “The Great Gatsby” was set in. The dark lighting and dated effect edited over the footage gives the music video an old, vintage look, further enhancing a sense of age and time-gone-by to “Young and Beautiful”, which not only refers to the lyrical theme of the song (aging) but also to the sense of loss felt in the novel. Long, dark dresses are a classic 1920’s costume piece and relates the music video to the novel intertextually Glitzy, diamante, extravagant jewellery is a traditional aspect of the 1920’s, used in both The Great Gatsby and “Young and Beautiful” music video. Both Del Rey and Mulligan assume similar poses in the image suggesting a further reference to the novel in the music video. Using references to “The Great Gatsby” an award-winning, highprofile film, was a clever marketing strategy used to raise the track and music video’s profile via association. It promoted the music video to the film’s audience as well as Del Rey’s fan base, portrayed Del Rey as classy, elegant 20’s style artist, all characteristics connoted from “The Great Gatsby”.
“Whether the video is primarily performance-based, narrative-based or concept-based and how elements of each is used in it” “Young and Beautiful” is strongly performance-based. The basis of the video is shots of Del Rey and the orchestra performing the song, interspersed with a few full-length shots of the artist’s figure and silhouette shots. Major footage of the artist and musicians playing the music is a key convention of performancebased music videos and identifies this video as wholly performance.