The Puzzling Mystique of Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey performing
Photo by Beatriz Alvani from Flickr

On Oct. 22, 2021, singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey released her newest studio album, the highly-awaited “Blue Banisters.” The album, a dreamy, alternative pop record, contains deep messages and personal highlights. As her second album of 2021, she previously released the well-received folk record, “Chemtrails Over the Country Club,” in March of last year.

“Blue Banisters” holds more complexity than its sister album, as its mystical lyrics tell the tale of escapism and trust. Del Rey’s music holds depth, which can be confusing for younger, more naive audiences as they try to break down her nostalgic sense of lyricism and style. The Rolling Stone wrote, “Blue Banisters’ continues a theme present in Del Rey’s previous music: that self-expression comes with a degree of risk to her mental sanity.”

In October, Del Rey took an indefinite, and still ongoing, hiatus from social media prior to the release of “Blue Banisters,” citing how the other projects she’s working on require “privacy and transparency.”

She followed up by explaining that she’s working on spoken word albums, records, and short poetry books to keep her fans entertained. But following her social media absence, fans feared that “Blue Banisters” would not receive the amount of popularity that her other albums have garnered. Despite not using other platforms, Del Rey has kept up her YouTube presence by releasing music videos for her latest album. Recently, she has released the single “Watercolor Eyes,” featured on the TV show “Euphoria.”

Del Rey’s unique theme, as The Guardian wrote, is “as perplexing as she is captivating.” She says she “never had a persona, never needed one, never will.” Del Rey was born in New York as Elizabeth Woolridge Grant. Before rising to fame, she worked as a waitress during the day while playing gigs at night. The songstress has gone by many stage names, including Lana Del Ray (not Rey, as her current name), May Jailer, and Sparkle Jump Rope Queen. However, when deciding on a final stage name, the story is quite intriguing.

“I wanted a name I could shape music towards,” Del Rey explained in a 2011 interview with Vogue. “I was going to Miami quite a lot at the time, speaking a lot of Spanish with my friends from Cuba. Lana Del Rey reminded us of the glamor of the seaside. It sounded gorgeous coming off the tip of the tongue.”

Under the name Lana Del Rey, she has recorded and produced a plethora of studio albums, each one covering a slightly different genre. She has sung everything from alternative indie to grunge rock, from psychedelic folk to dream pop, and much more. Her lyricism is fascinating, the instrumentals are expansive, and the two blended together is like poetry brought to life. Her complete discography also includes the lush poetry book “Violet Bent Backwards over the Grass,” and a whimsically honest short film, “Tropico.”

Del Rey’s palette as a music artist has expanded eloquently as tensions rise and fall in the world, blessing her listeners like a much-needed breath of fresh air. The elaborate, fantastical mystique she portrays has kept her fans all over the world wondering what kind of artistry Lana Del Rey will release next.