Dark But Just A Game

Album: Chemtrails Over The Country Club (2021)
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Songfacts®:

  • Lana Del Rey's work often examines both the glamour and hidden pain of fame. Here, she explores the dark underbelly of Hollywood and the music industry.
  • Critics have accused Del Rey in the past of glamorizing the tragic fate of other young artists, but during this potent statement of defiance, she is resolved not to fall into the same trap.

    We keep changing all the time
    The best ones lost their minds
    So I'm not gonna change
    I'll stay the same


    Del Rey has lived in Los Angeles for several years and witnessed how dangerous fame can be. She is determined to maintain her integrity instead of being ruined by the decadence of stardom.
  • The song's producer, Jack Antonoff, came up with the title after he and Del Rey attended the 2020 Oscars after-party hosted by Madonna and Guy Oseary.

    "It's dark, but just a game"
    That's what he would say to me
    The faces aren't the same, but their stories all end tragically
    And that's the price of fame
    A tale as old as time you'd be
    A pretty little fool to think exceptions to the rule


    Del Rey told Mojo magazine she met an unnamed musician at the high-profile industry party. "Something happened, kind of situation like - never meet your idols," she recalled. "And I just thought, 'I think it's interesting that the best musicians end up in such terrible places.' I thought to myself, 'I'm going to try my best not to change because I love who I am.' I said, 'Jack [Antonoff], it's dark.' And he said, 'Well it's dark - but I mean, it's just a game.'"

    "Dark but just a game is so her to me," Antonoff added. "Fly down the rabbit hole and smile in the same breath."

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