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National Anthem by Lana Del Rey

Album: Born To DieReleased: 2012
  • Lana Del Rey is the daughter of real-estate investor, Rob Grant, whilst her mother is an advertising account executive. She had a comfortable middle-class upbringing in the town of Lake Placid in rural New York. This military-drummed ode to escapism and the rich life recalls Lana's relationship with a wealthy boyfriend and reveling in the good times. She explained to The Sun: "I've been with this guy off and on for a long time, but we used to just drive from New York in his car up to the Hamptons. I remember thinking at the time it was just heaven. It's funny, all the songs are about the same thing — going away with the one you love and then coming back home. In having relationships, you're able to explore other sides of yourself."
  • Born Elizabeth Grant, Lana chose her own stage name. She explained to Vogue magazine: "I wanted a name I could shape the music towards [...] I was going to Miami quite a lot at the time, speaking a lot of Spanish with my friends from Cuba - Lana Del Rey reminded us of the glamour of the seaside."
    This song fits in well with the singer's post-Lizzy Grant cinematic "gangsta Nancy Sinatra" public image. "We're on a quick, sick rampage / wining and dining, drinking and driving / On our drugs and our love and our dreams and our rage / Blurring the lines between real and the fake," she sings.
  • This song was co-written by David Sneddon, who won the BBC talent show Fame Academy in 2002 with his musical partner James Bauer-Mein. Sneddon, who first started working with Del Rey in 2010, told the Independent that the Video Games singer had been developing her music for a long time. "She'd spent a while working on her sound before we met her," he said, "so we were pretty quick to learn what she wanted out of a song. The lyrics are incredibly personal to her and although she enjoys the mystique of Hollywood imagery, you'll find a story wrapped up in every song."
  • The Anthony Mandler directed music video features Del Rey playing Jacqueline Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, whilst rapper A$AP Rocky portrays JFK. The pair previously collaborated on The Kickdrum's track "Ridin," which was pulled from their Follow The Leaders mixtape. Speaking with Noisey, Rocky said: "Lana wrote the treatment with me in mind. She wanted me to be the lead guy. S--t is like, everybody knows we got a thing for each other and we wanted to show that on screen."
  • Mandler told MTV News that he and Del Rey wanted to explore the idea of lost innocence on the clip. "What Lana was trying to do - this was her concept, she came to me with it, and I kind of dug it out with her - was really look and explore an archetype; just like Shakespeare wrote 'Romeo and Juliet,' and that became the archetype of the forbidden love story," he explained.

    "And I think the Kennedy relationship, certainly the triangle of Marilyn Monroe and Jackie O and Jack Kennedy, became this kind of ideal of what seemed perfect from the outside was maybe rotting from the inside," Mandler continued. "And Lana was really interested in exploring this loss of innocence, this idea that what you think you're experiencing is maybe not what it's always going to be. Because when you say 'Kennedy,' that immediately evokes something, just like when I say 'It's a Romeo and Juliet story.' So I think using that power, that pedigree of the story is a really fascinating place to show the loss of something, the breakdown of something."
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