Artists go to extreme lengths to release new music–promotion, snippets, pre-save links, announcements, and a Friday release. But not for America’s wild child, Lana Del Rey. “A&W” is her second surprise single back-to-back, and forms part of the tracklist for her 2023 studio album ‘Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd.’
“A&W” follows the title track of the album, titled ‘Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd‘ in December 2022. This is Lana’s ninth studio album following ‘Blue Banisters’ from 2021. The new album is expected to release on March 24, 2023.
The title of the song “A&W” is an abbreviation for ‘American Wh*re,’ and the song narrates the story of an innocent young girl growing up to be an all-American sweetheart in all the wrong ways. Throughout the song, Lana insinuates how she has moved past love at this point. She only goes for sex now–hence the song title.
Listen to “A&W” by Lana Del Rey
Buy ‘Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd’ Album on Apple Music & Amazon
Lana Del Rey “A&W” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review
Part I – American Wh*re
Lana Del Rey starts off by saying that she has not done a cartwheel since she was nine years old. For a young girl, doing a cartwheel is a challenge and a source of joy. For an adult lady, a cartwheel could be seen from a whole different POV. It is hard not to be sexualized doing anything for an adult lady.
Next, Lana Del Rey turns her attention toward her mother and herself. She confesses that she has not seen her mother in a long time. People who are close to their mothers can be generally viewed as tender souls. Lana is not. She has also given up on the world around her. She has no time for all the chit-chat from people both close and strange to her. After years and years of listening to the noise, she has grown accustomed to ignoring them now. So, she could care less about posting a topless photo of her as the album cover of ‘Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd.’
In the next few lyrics, Lana hints that she might have a sex addiction. She has a home in Rosemead, California, but she frequents most evenings and nights at the Ramada hotel. At this point, we are left to our own imagination as to what is going on.
But Lana Del Rey spares nothing to the imagination. In the next lines, she talks about her hookups. She calls someone up and they meet at the hotel. They end up having wild sex on the hotel floor.
Lana confesses that it is not even about finding a partner for a loving relationship anymore. She just wants to feel something–something physical. Emotionally, she could be just numb.
These compulsive feelings kick on when she has nothing much going on in her day. Her friends are all busy, her favorite TV shows aren’t on, and watching some teenage romance/drama flic just makes her wonder where her life went wrong. Maybe, nothing is wrong after all. Maybe this is who she is–how she is and maybe this is okay?!
In the third verse of the song, Lana Del Rey touches on the rape culture narrative prevalent even today. A widely heard counterargument by rapists is that the girl was ‘asking for it’ maybe through an ‘indecent’ act, clothing, or any other reason they can fathom. Nobody is ever asking to get raped! And nothing done or said by anyone is by any means an ‘ask’ for sexual assault. Lana shoves the irony of this down the listener’s throat. Also, she adds that she did not testify after getting raped, so she will never see justice. However, on a broader term, many girls do not come out about their experiences of rape due to fear or judgment. This has messed up carrying out justice for not only that one person but for all rape victims.
Lana also emphasizes that age is not really a factor for rapists or even to be sexualized. If she does a cartwheel in public today, she would be sexualized.
However, Lana Del Rey released a topless photo as one of the album covers of this album. And all of a sudden, her doing a cartwheel does not sound overly sexual. Maybe, this is the way to fight being sexualized for non-sexual things.
Part II – Jimmy
In the second part of “A&W,” Lana Del Rey introduces us to her friend ‘Jimmy’–a very common male name in America. This is Lana’s way of infusing all the men she has similar relationships with into one fictional character.
Jimmy does not sound like the boyfriend material. He only hits her up when he wants to get high–both on marijuana and on life. Lana is basically a good time call–again circling back to the title of the song! However, this high does not last long and they both leave the hotel room in the morning.
This album by Lana is turning out to be a real treat for all of us. What do you think about this song? Let us know in the comments below.
Read the complete lyrics to the song on Genius.