The first time I heard Lana Del Rey was during a late-night Octagon paste-up last year.
We were nearing the end of our seven-hour work shift, and after many of those hours being filled with rap, someone decided to put on Lana.
It might have been due to my exhausted, caffeine-influenced state, but I thought that the songs played then were some of the best I had ever heard.
The next day I decided to test how reliable my music-judging ability was at 11 p.m. When I looked up Lana Del Rey on Spotify, I was presented with a long list of songs. I chose “Dark Paradise.”
Sitting in the dust-filled Cave chairs, I listened. When the song ended, I played it again, and again.
For the first few replays, I just listened to the melodies and the sounds produced. Then, I started listening to the lyrics:
“Every time I close my eyes/It’s like a dark paradise/No one compares to you/I’m scared that you won’t be waiting on the other side.”
I was enchanted and haunted at the same time by the words and the intense, rich voice singing them.
The next paste-up, I put on “Dark Paradise.” It was the first time that I had played a song that no one objected to.
After a few minutes, one of the editors said, “This song makes me so sad every time I listen to it. You know it’s about her boyfriend who died?”
After this, I gained a whole new respect for the song and the artist. I hadn’t realized what I was feeling when I listened to the song the first few times. But after learning what the song was about, I noticed how completely Del Rey had communicated her emotions through song.
The elegiac qualities of the song had made me feel the hopeless longing that Del Rey was trying to convey without even knowing why she was conveying it. It is for this reason that I became a Lana fan.
Since then, I have listened to every Lana song at least a hundred times and never gotten tired of them.
Some of my favorites are “Radio,” “Carmen,” “Born to Die,” “American” and, of course, “Dark Paradise.”
None of Del Rey’s songs have affected me so profoundly as “Dark Paradise,” but they all still give me that transported feeling. It’s as though, when I listen to Del Rey’s songs, I am moved to her world, compelled to see things her way.
Thus my days of Justin Bieber and One Direction filled paste-ups have now officially ended. Del Rey is my go-to entertainment now.