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Meaning of ‘Art Deco’ by ‘Lana Del Rey’

Dark Light

Released: 2015

Lana Del Rey’s “Art Deco” is a masterful depiction of the nightlife and the personas that come alive in it. The song paints a vivid picture of a person who’s a known figure in the nightlife scene, someone who relishes being the center of attention but also battles with an insatiable longing for something more. It’s all about the glamour, the yearning, and the loneliness that can hide behind a glittering facade.

When Lana describes the subject as a “Club queen on the downtown scene, prowling around at night,” she’s setting the stage. This person thrives in the night; they’re not mean or bad, they just have an innate desire to be seen and to be wild. The line “A little party never hurt no one, that’s why it’s alright” shows us how they justify their endless nights out, hinting at a deeper need to belong or to feel alive. Their constant quest to “win” and stay in the lights shines a light on their internal battle with self-worth and acceptance.

The chorus, “You’re so Art Deco out on the floor,” using Art Deco as a metaphor, is Lana being clever. Art Deco is ornate and stylish, yet it has an air of coldness and detachment. This mirrors how the person, despite being dazzling and shining like gunmetal, might feel isolated and unsure amidst their superficial glow. The words “Baby, you’re so ghetto, you’re looking to score” dive deeper into their complex identity, showing a contrast between their glamorous exterior and their desperate attempts to find more meaning or ‘score’ something genuine in their interactions.

The repetition of “you want more” throughout the song is essential. It’s a powerful echo of their unending desire for something beyond the surface-level pleasures of the nightlife. Their friends say, “A little party never hurt no one,” which repeats like a mantra, suggesting that they continue to push boundaries, despite the risks. Yet, this lifestyle of constant partying and putting “your life out on the line” is a double-edged sword, portraying both the thrill and the eventual emptiness that comes from chasing highs without consideration for the lows.

In conclusion, “Art Deco” is not just a song about partying; it’s a deeply poetic exploration of the human condition, our desires for attention, recognition, and something more profound than the temporary highs. Lana Del Rey, in her quintessential style, invites us to look beyond the shimmer of the nightlife and ponder the complexity of our quests for fulfillment.

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