300(ish) Words on Lana Del Rey’s ‘Mariners Apartment Complex’

Hearing Lana Del Rey go down to a deep, whispery timber to sing “I’m your man” has been the church pew I’ve been sitting on the last month. “Mariners Apartment Complex,” her perfectly titled song, is off Norman Fucking Rockwell, her perfectly titled album, and it’s the sort of song that makes you want to use any lite religious metaphor a person can reach for.

I listened to Lana sing “Video Games” in my sister’s bedroom the day of my college graduation. I can’t remember for sure, but I think I may have cried hearing it, having a boyfriend at the time who did nothing but get angry and cry in my studio apartment for at least a year. He made sure to get angry and cry the day of my graduation, and hearing “Heaven is a place on earth with you, tell me all the things you want to do” made me feel bitter and resolute and horny and sad.

“…Lana is not a dangerous product we were sold,” Alana Massey writes in All The Lives I Want. “She is a reflection of a logical response to our inheritance. We will be surveilled under a masculine gaze whose warmth or coldness toward us will often be largely out of our control…We might as well find love among the ones we can see.”

As someone motivated by taking the most fun approach to my inheritance, Lana has always spoken to me. Seven years later — age 28, not 21 — and much freer, I listened to “Mariners Apartment Complex” walking around New York City. I felt like Lana and I were doing a spiritual, sexy check-in with each other. She’s still your Venice Bitch, asking you to take in the sweetness, but also this time, asking you to consider her darkness — and, importantly, from her perspective. The balance doesn’t always reconcile in her favor (or mine) but, this time, she knows she’s your man. Me too, thank goodness.

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