Lana Del Rey’s carefully curated persona and aesthetic have made her a particularly delicate sort of pop star. Early on, she seemed to struggle so much with existing in corporeal space that her first Saturday Night Live became a meme. And while she overcame those initial stumbles, she’s still more of a walking Instagram filter than she is a person you can imagine, say, placing an order at the Whataburger. Her “woman out of time” image is part of what sold her to the world, and she’s used it to great effect.
Still, that doesn’t mean she’s totally unwilling to tweak that image from time to time, if the situation calls for it. Her new video, “High By The Beach,” is mostly straight LDR-isms for the first few minutes (Malibu beach houses, listlessness, dressing gowns, bare mattresses on the floor, vintage telescopes, those fold-up woven beach chairs, outdated tabloids, etc). But as the singer spends her time desperately seeking the opportunity to stumble around like a bored housewife in peace while a paparazzi helicopter hovers outside her window, things get downright anachronistic, as Del Rey stumbles down to the beach, retrieves a guitar case, and in an El Mariachi-meets-Machete twist, produces an improbably sci-fi-looking gun with some sort of missile launcher attached to blow up the offending photographer. Then, because she’s still Lana Del friggin’ Rey, as the pages of the tabloid flutter in the wind following the explosion, she pouts her way back inside the beach house to mope in glorious solitude.