Although Lana Del Rey is a huge name in the alternative music world, she put on an intimate show for her Los Angeles fans on February 9th.
“I’ll see you guys down at The Wiltern,” Del Rey shared as she announced a premiere for her new music video, “Freak.” Many fans expected that it would be another short film similar to “Tropico” since a premiere event was held for it as well. A limited amount of tickets were available for fans to buy at an impressive price of only 5 dollars. With a lot of hype around the video, people speculated the length and what songs would be involved. It turns out that the video is 10 minutes long, with the last 5 minutes featuring an underwater scene set to the music of Claude Debussy. Lana has a reputation of showing endless love to her fans, and the night of the premiere proved just that. She expressed her gratitude and appreciation for everyone that showed up by saying, “I can’t tell you how happy I am that you guys are here!” She also gave out free signed merchandise to those who lined up early and, to further the delight, surprised the crowd by playing three songs. Lana performed her the title track from her most recent album, “Honeymoon,” an acoustic version of the Ultraviolence hit “West Coast,” and the classic song from her debut Born to Die, “Video Games.” Fans were very pleased by Lana’s decision to perform a few songs, as it appeared to be an intimate show which hasn’t been done by the singer since 2014. After she finished performing, she went down to the front row to greet fans and sign a few things.
When I asked one fan who attended the premiere about their experience, here’s what they had to say;
“Lana Del Rey’s premiere for the Freak music video was the most exhilarating experience. Seeing your biggest inspiration on a platform she created herself made me feel like anything is possible. When she sang to us it put such an angelic energy in the air and we felt so loved. The look on her face after the video was the look of someone who was so proud of the work of art they made and in that moment, I was looking right back at her, proud.” Another said this: “It was a very intimate experience, not only for us, but Lana as well. I feel like she was so happy to be there and see all of us. I’ve never seen her smile so much.”
As the premiere went on, the highly anticipated “Freak” video was finally revealed. The video starts off with Del Rey and fellow singer and friend Father John Misty walking together through a mountainous Californian desert. Next, Lana sparks things up as she places acid onto FJM’s tongue. Then, Lana appears to be drinking “kool-aid” with the other girls featured in the video (including LDR’s sister, Chuck.) It can be assumed that the video pulls references from Charles Manson and Jim Jones, both famous cult leaders. Manson attracted women into his cult by playing guitar, which is portrayed by FJM in the video, and got his followers to be dedicated to him by giving them drugs. The connection with Jim Jones is the red drink that Lana sips. Jim Jones lead a mass suicide by getting his followers to drink kool-aid laced with cyanide to kill themselves. After Lana drinks the kool-aid throughout the video, there is a scene where both her and FJM are dressed in white surrounded by a cloud of smoke. It can be implied that they are dead.
The second half of the video starts off with Lana swimming underwater to one of Debussy’s famous piano pieces. Then the other girls are shown underwater, also wearing white. This underwater scene goes on for about 5 minutes and is supposed to be representative of a utopian heaven. FJM is also incorporated in this scene towards the end of the video.
Overall, I think this video was beautifully done due to the carefully planned out story line and cinematic touches. Lana always produces videos with stunning visuals that are appealing to the eye. It’s not surprising that some were shocked by this video with its dark undertones and controversial references; but, despite the negative backlash Lana often gets from the media and general public, she stays true to her vision.