Friday, June 7th, 2019

Lana Del Rey – Doin’ Time

The first from her Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2 soundtrack retrospective…


Alfred Soto: Lana Del Rey covering Sublime is Lana Del Rey covering Sublime: by pouring her Blue Lady affect over Brad Nowell’s stupid hooker ode, she recasts its sexism as self-mythology. But you knew that.

David Moore: I’ve been hearing a lot of naked and unashamed late 90s nostalgia in pop this year — direct references from the Macarena, Pixies via Fight Club (I assume; it fits the vibe, anyway), Spice Girls, TLC. But this one is a bit of nifty sorcery, Lana Del Rey fitting herself snugly, miraculously, into a cultural object that’s grown rancid over time, deproblematizing here and there with some gender swapping and a blurring of the boundary between the protagonist and the object of their desire and their violence. Not to mention she just flat out makes the song prettier. And, like most of the above examples, she doesn’t do much outwardly to transform or even disguise the song, yet the song sounds unmistakably different, of the present. It’s fun but haunted, the ghost of that me liking that song at that moment in that way hovering nearby like an unspoken threat as this me sings along, not quite able to fully let myself go.

Will Rivitz: 2019 is weird for countless reasons, but the one I’ve been thinking about most recently is the way we as a bizarre corner of the internet have reached a collective age where nostalgia for the state of the internet five to ten years ago has entered the cultural vogue. Soulseek and, a diverse blogosphere not hammered into a monoculture by social media; the fact of being able to say “blogosphere” wistfully instead of ironically; 2013 is firmly enough in the rearview mirror of an Instagram world that we can say things like “I miss Blogspot and forums” in real life and nobody bats an eye. This is weird for two main reasons: a) as a twenty-three-year-old, I can claim the 2010s internet as the first era I’ve lived through with a relatively adult mind, and therefore the nostalgia I feel for that is markedly different than the nostalgia for, say, High School Musical or “Check Yes, Juliet,” which I experienced in a different, pre-pubescent self; and b) so much of 2013’s internet culture was already backwards-facing, providing us in Anno Domini Twenty Nineteen with an odd sort of meta-nostalgia. Example number one: vaporwave, a genre so bizarrely at odds with and in sync with the countercultural norms of the time that it was simultaneously fiercely iconoclastic and fully conceptualized by Calvin and Hobbes decades before its musical inception. Example number two: Lana Del Rey, a singer who made a name among a particular Extremely Online cohort for (brilliant music aside) locking down the contemporary media spin cycle, inspiring thousands of takes on everything from the rosy color through which she interpolated the past to the implications of her knowing presentation of herself as almost an object for consumption, aestheticizing herself as a CRT-toned, cigarette-smoking vintage gal in much the same way as a pinup aestheticizes itself. Hence, half a decade and a world later: “Doin’ Time,” an intersection of both those examples so thoroughly moored in the *extremely read Pitchfork religiously in high school voice* cultural zeitgeist of the time that it seems, at least to my own very specifically trained eyes and ears, specifically tailored to those who would make more of its context than its musicality, production, or anything else that anyone who isn’t writing five hundred words on a blog in, again, the year of our lord 2019 might care about. I mean, here we are neck-deep in the blurb, and I’ve still said absolutely nothing about the song itself. Is it any good? Sure, I guess, but the fact of the matter is that I’ve trained myself, Pavlovian-style, to ignore any sort of meaningful details in music itself when writing about it over the course of far too many years and far too many hundreds of thousands of words, and this cover of “Doin’ Time” is triggering a flood of memories of keyboard barbs and Facebook group discussions and Limewire viruses to the point where the song is drowned out. But then, so much of Lana’s press coverage over the years has so fundamentally and unfairly ignored anything that truly matters about her — namely, her music — that I suppose it’s appropriate that, six years later, I still can’t say anything remotely intelligible about her without a messy whirlwind of context and remembrance. “Doin’ Time” has eight letters, so I suppose I’ll give this an [8]. It feels appropriately arbitrary. I miss the Internet.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: This is literally just Lana Del Rey doing Sublime karaoke and that’s OK.

Will Adams: So much of my musical upbringing involved basking in the searing sun of SoCal radio rock — Sugar Ray and No Doubt and The Offspring — that I can’t not rate this highly, even if Sublime were slightly before that time. It’s still thrilling to hear Lana exploring the same playful energy she did on Lust For Life. If Born to Die was her artificial phase, and Ultraviolence her authentic one, then “Doin’ Time” is the perfect synthesis.

Ashley Bardhan: Is this queerbaiting? 

Reader average: [8.5] (4 votes)

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5 Responses to “Lana Del Rey – Doin’ Time”

  1. re: nostalgia — I think the key year is maybe one or two years earlier, the consensus among most of my friends is that 2013 was the worst year in recent memory (well, before 2016-9 redefined “worst year”)

  2. 2013 was, in every respect, my least favorite year of the decade.

  3. the key nostalgia moment is specifically late summer/early fall 2012 bc that’s when KISS came out #science

  4. 2015 has been my favorite year for music this decade

  5. as a 22 year old I find it very strange to point out 2013 as the year to be nostalgic for internet-wise. by then my specific corner of the internet was already long gone and social media was all that was left. i was under the impression that in 2011-12 were the last years when the old internet still held on to life

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