Lana Del Rey’s new video for “Carmen,” the latest single off her Born to Die album is a clever montage of images meant to evoke the life of someone through images of what was and what is. Del Ray appears Zelig-like.
Leonard Zelig was a character out of a Woody Allen film titled “Zelig” about a nondescript enigma who, out of his desire to fit in, morphs into scenes.
The film was photographed and narrated in the style of 1920s black-and-white newsreels, with color segments, and Del Rey’s video follows the same formula.
Intermixed in the video are scenes from the 1950s and early 60s. Del Rey appears as period characters. She describes the video as “Bio Pic,” but whether the scenes reflect memories from her life, or are made-up is unclear.
Since she’s only 25 years old, she can hardly be the source of memories for the early clips. But maybe their from her parents’ lives, or things she remembers from studying the era are the source. Born Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, Del Rey grew up in upstate New York and moved to New York City at 18.
Many of the video scenes are of the city. And the song has a hard edge, with lyrics like “She’s only 17, but she walks the streets so mean.” The video also makes references to methamphetamine and your brain.
The album received mix reviews but debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 200, despite a slew of negative reviews. Rolling Stone panned the album, which suggests Del Rey will likely have a brilliant career.
Check out the video below.