Meaning of Summertime Sadness by Lana Del Rey

The song “Summertime sadness” was released in 2012 and in nine years managed to gain over 345 million views on YouTube worldwide. The songs of Lana Del Rey are famous for their melancholy, sense of longing and endless sadness, but this is precisely what they are beautiful in their own way. “Summertime sadness” is inextricably linked with the video and its idea, so they should be considered and analyzed together.

Lana’s videos often touch on the topic of romantic relationships (as in the case of National Anthem and Blue Jeans), and this work is no exception: the clip raises the theme of love between two girls (the characters do not have names, but they are played by Lana herself and her Jamie’s friend). Romantic relationships are not directly mentioned, but the viewer can catch this connection in the shots where the girls are happy together, they travel and spend time with each other.

The whole song sounds like an appeal to a beloved who has already left this world. The heroine of Lana seems to communicate with her love and remembers her with bitterness. There is also a roll call with excerpts from the song itself: “Kiss me hard before you go” (“Kiss me hard before you leave”). Perhaps that is why the clip does not contain a single linear plot: it consists entirely of fragments of frames, of some memories filled with either happiness or pain. The heroines love each other, but in some scenes they are unhappy: the heroine Jamie cries while sitting in the car, but Lana is unable to do anything. Before ending everything, Jamie leaves a voice message that we can hear at the very beginning of the video: “Remember, I’ll always love you, bye” (“Remember, I’ll always love you, goodbye”).

The lines “I got my red dress on tonight, Dancing in the dark in the pale moonlight” are also a reference to the video where Jamie wears a red dress and at night, by the light of the moon, he throws himself from the bridge. And after the death of her friend, Lana is no longer afraid of anything (“Nothing scares me anymore”), so she also throws herself off a cliff. Several times the heroine is shown raising her hands, which is a direct reference to Jesus, who is also shown in one of the shots.

The singer herself does not reveal the whole essence of the song, only hinting that it is about the impossibility of connecting two hearts in love and the subsequent departure from this world. There are several versions of who this song is dedicated to. There’s an idea going around the net that the song was written in honor of Lana’s first love in college. There is also a version that the song is about sister Carolina, with whom Lana lived as a teenager. There is also an unconfirmed theory that the song is about Lana’s friend who committed suicide. It is possible that in the case of the veracity of this theory, the girls could have feelings for each other. Jamie King, who played one of the girls in the video, mentioned in an interview that “it’s about how impossible it is to live without those you love, it doesn’t matter – friends or loved ones, that’s all.”

Ultimately, both heroines die in the same way from their love for each other in summer sorrow.

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