restricted access Lana Del Rey's America

The persona Lana Del Rey's developed over the last decade has been defined by sad, nihilistic songs that revolve in one way or another around death, bad boyfriends, and Americana—sometimes all three at once, and always painted in a thick, tacky coat of nostalgia. "I'm in love with a dying man," she sang as Lizzy Grant on her 2008 EP Kill Kill, less than three years before she became Lana Del Rey, an internet sensation turned award-winning pop star. "Dear lord, when I get to heaven," she prayed over a full orchestra on "Young and Beautiful," her contribution to the 2013 Great Gatsby sound-track, "please let me bring my man." As in that story, death is just around the corner in Del Rey's version of the American dream. When it does come, that end will be as tragic as it is garish—never less so than in the Trump era, where violence and gold plating go hand in hand.