When hearing the news that singer, Lana Del Rey, was writing her own poetry book in 2018 I was elated. Not only because I have been a fan of hers since hearing her classic song “Young and Beautiful” in 2013, but because I know poetry is her first passion.
Her poetry talents have always bled into her records through her songwriting and monologues. Due to this, many of her fans were excited to see what she would bring to the table with this new book, “Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass.”
The album as a whole was actually quite enjoyable. In the audiobook, the way she grabs and makes listeners pay attention to her is quite remarkable. They are mesmerized by her and intrigued by what she is going to say next. However, what she actually says is a whole other story.
Her album starts off really strong with “LA Who Am I to Love You?” where she plays on her brand of that “live fast, die young” kind of mentality. She opens with, “I left my city for San Francisco/ took a free ride off a billionaire’s jet/ LA, I’m from nowhere who am I to love you.”
This line was alluring and played into her niche which was thoroughly enjoyable. She then makes a metaphor to LA vaping next to her, which made for strong imagery and sets the tone for the rest of the audiobook.
Unfortunately, that first poem set a really high expectation that the rest of the album could not uphold. The remaining 30+ minutes of her poetry album sounded a bit patchy and relied on more obvious metaphors.
One big critique throughout the album/audiobook was her use of clunky rhymes and metaphors to play on simple cliches. In the chapter “Salamander,” she sounded like the “misunderstood” girl in high school that believed she was deeper than everyone else with lines like “I love you/ but you don’t understand me/ I’m a real poet/ my life is my poetry.”
Aside from the actual poems of the album, her performance throughout it was what is most enticing. The cliches and metaphors become almost forgettable with her voice drawing you in for more. Although her voice throughout the album is quiet, the elegance in her delivery is unmatched and has intriguing levels and emotions.
This is the kind of material everyone expected Del Rey to put out right now. It is her way of showing us that she is maturing, entering a new era and I am excited to see what’s next.