Lana Del Rey has unveiled “A&W,” a seven-minute pop epic about femininity, sexuality, criticism, and, as she puts it, “the experience of being an American whore.”
Co-written and co-produced by Jack Antonoff, “A&W” is really two songs in one, the first floating lightly over pianos and acoustic guitars and the second descending into darkness over pulsing 808s. The initial, longer movement opens with Del Rey putting some distance between herself and childhood. “I haven’t done a cartwheel since I was nine,” she coos, “I haven’t seen my mother in a long, long time.”
When she gets to the hook, the beauty belies the acid in the words, as she sings, “Call ’em up, come in to my bedroom/ Ended up, we fuck on the hotеl floor/ It’s not about having someone to love mе anymore/ This is the experience of being an American whore.”
Around the four-minute mark, electronic drums sneak up underneath the topline, as ominous static crackles at the edge of hearing. It sounds like the weight of expectations from the first half have driven her mad. “Jimmy Jimmy Coco Puff, Jimmy, get me high,” she chants, “Love me, if you love enough, you can be my line/ Jimmy only love me when he wanna get high.”
Her voice struggles for legibility as its buffeted by a storm of distortion, and then the words “Your mom called, I told her you’re fucking up big time” shine through like a flash of lightning. Stream the ambitious new track below.
“A&W” appears on Del Rey’s March 24th album, Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd. Pre-orders are ongoing. Later this summer, she’ll co-headline Brazil’s MITA Music Festival.