HomeMusicFeatures & ListsRaina's Reason for the Repeat Button - "West Coast"

Raina’s Reason for the Repeat Button – “West Coast”

You know when you find a song and you just can’t get enough? A track that you’ll start over before it’s even done because you never want it to end? The song that becomes the reason for the repeat button? Here I’ll tell you what song I’ve been listening to over and over again – new or old – and why you should check it out.


You’re in the middle of summer now. The air is hot and heavy, and so is this song. Lana Del Rey’s first single from her new album Ultraviolence is the sonic equivalent of sexy humidity. It’s the definition of “sultry.” You can practically HEAR the weight of the air when you listen to it. You can feel the sweat. The heavy eyelids, slow movements, low lights and long nights.

You may not be on the West coast with palm trees swaying and orange suns setting over Beverly Hills — you may not be living in Del Rey’s glamorous retro-Hollywood world (or, at least the one her image projects) but when it’s summer in the city, you can probably still relate.

“West Coast” is about the tension between denial and desire. When you know something is wrong but it feels right… so you let yourself fall into it. There’s an unreality to this track. Like one of those half-remembered, half-drunken nights when things blur together, when it’s all a bit of a fever dream. And that’s acknowledged in the lyrics. First off, she doesn’t even pretend that there’s no drinking involved. “If you’re not drinking, then you’re not playing” she sings, before later admitting she’s a “lush.” There’s already a willing disconnect from real life. And then, she sings about icons, starlets, golden gods. These things are make believe– IDEAS– that we let ourselves fall in love with. People and concepts that, in your mind, can become perfect. The question is: when we wake up in the morning… will they still be there?

Musically, the tempo changes echoes that sentiment when Del Rey sings lyrics like:

“You’re falling hard, I push away, I’m feelin’ hot to the touch
You say you miss me and I wanna say I miss you so much”

…it speeds up. These imperfect warning thoughts become immediate and, in their urgency, more real. But then… the eyelids flutter, things slow down… she sings lyrics about watching her “sweet boy swaying” and about being in love, in love, in love… everything becomes dreamier, more surreal again… we allow ourselves to fall back into it. It feels good.

And maybe that’s why this song is addictive. It never lets you get bored. It hypnotizes you. Like a dramatic love affair, you’re never sure where you stand, and that’s what keeps you hooked.

It’s summer. Get hot. Get slow. Put this one on repeat and sweat it out.

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