Of Love And Lana Del Rey Before Dawn

Mom at 16
Mom at 16 with mysterious guy, 1963

We have this picture of me taken the summer of 1983, and the freckles on my face have quadrupled, and I’m smiling like an idiot cause it is my birthday. It was taken at the yellow brick bungalow beside Grandma’s where I grew up, just after blowing out 16 candles.

In truth, I don’t really remember the day, but we have this picture from that day and in the one corner of the shot is the hairy, muscular arm of my boyfriend at the time, which is the only picture I have of him, left. This boyfriend who not long after broke my heart, like they often do at that age. And yes, my Mother warned me, but I didn’t listen, cause I was in love and therefore knew everything.

And I’d spend hours getting ready, to go driving with him in his car, to nowhere in particular. He had blue eyes, and he was tall, dark and handsome, and he was too old for me and wanted things from me I was not ready to give anyone yet.

So I kept saying no, and he kept asking. Later, months later, a mutual friend told me that he dumped me for a stripper. I’m not sure if that knowledge made it easier, but it did make it much easier to hate him.

Ok, so who cares? Well, let’s say it’s, well, let’s say it was early, and I am sitting here in my chair reading the news online, drinking coffee, minding my own business and I hear my cell make that noise they make when there’s a text, it was my sister. NOW, I don’t get many texts, and when I do they are generally not THIS early. Except on those rare occasions, or when your sister has been up drinking wine with the neighbour and has had a revelation and has to share.

But I digress.

So there we are texting for the next hour or more upon the underlying message at the core of this new song I shared on Facebook the other day by Lana Del Rey, called LOVE.

Look at you kids with your vintage music
Comin’ through satellites while cruisin’
You’re part of the past, but now you’re the future
Signals crossing can get confusing
You get ready, you get all dressed up
To go nowhere in particular
Back to work or the coffee shop
Doesn’t matter cause it’s enough
To be young and in love

As a Mom of two now teenage girls the lyrics spoke to her, I guess, and she said she had this revelation after listening to it 5 times (really loud I bet) in her neighbour’s garage, what she was REALLY singing about. Forgot to ask her if the neighbours were still up.

Well, so as for every generation, as it was for our Mom’s, and as it was for our Grandmothers; with their dirty thirties before the war shattered their own youthful illusions. Oh no, those girls are just convinced that everything is different, and she just does not understand, especially how could she possibly understand love? And yeah, I think maybe she’s right, maybe Del Rey is making fun of that naivete, poking fun at them, thinking they are all that and a bag of chips.

Grandma At The Beach
Grandma & Friends, circa late 1930’s

Someone pointed out once something I’d never noticed about that photo of my Grandma and her friends. I think Grandma would have maybe been in her 20’s, and it is a detail that dates the shot and now gives it a certain poignancy in its reality.

Notice the guys mustache, in the back row in the middle? He has what we would call now a “Hitler mustache”, and as that friend pointed out, something they would never have had by the 40’s, so that shot is circa late 1930’s, as are the cars behind them.

And this generation, those two girls of my sisters, are just as oblivious to the future, just as much as they may merely be reinventing the past.

And yes, my sister is correct, I rather doubt the girls understand any of that; or at least not yet. Del Rey is talking over them, to us.

Yet, another difference is that we listened to music, and for them music is visual, a dance of characters and a story all worked out for them in advance, and therefore with the haunting repetition, the nuances of Del Rey’s lyrics are perhaps lost with the lovely timber of her voice.

Ah, but tis all a ruse.

Grandma Was a Beach Bum
Grandma and friends – circa 1930’s, some beach on one of the Great Lakes, probably Lake Erie

To be young and in love can make you go “crazy, crazy, crazy”. Or, being near them, I suppose for extended lengths of time, like when they are living in your home with you, apparently.

It kind of says it all, about those first steps outside that protective bubble that has been your childhood, and you have this youthful omnipotence before you are faced with how unfair the world really is.

So maybe the irony is lost on her younger audience, perhaps not her point, to relish it because it can be soo so fleeting.

Of course being the older sister I had to point out that Mom had tried to tell her the same things when she was their age, but of course, she was spitting into the wind. Better perhaps to smile knowingly and let them keep their illusions.

Because, after much more coffee, and after some thought, I think maybe instead Del Rey is actually poking fun at those who ridicule the young for their illusions, their belief in their unique visions of whatever they imagine is so, and maybe, who are we to criticize the dreams of youth, after all? Because we sound as silly as our Mothers, and Mothers Mothers, and everyone else who has ever had to put up with those youthful ideals, once life has given the ol’reality tree a good shake. And perhaps besides the point.

Twas a rare an’ deep and delightful discourse with the sister-unit, at such an ungodly hour, even with her being a bit (ha, a bit my arse) drunk. And, I suppose the beauty is that it could be none of those things, and it’s just a good song. And just as I finished texting “GO TO BED”, I could almost hear Mom laughing, and imagined her dancing in her own Pink Panther way.

5 thoughts on “Of Love And Lana Del Rey Before Dawn

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