How Lana Del Rey's "National Anthem" Music Video Defined The Decade

Lana Del Rey, the face of controversy these days, helped to define an era with specific aesthetics that were recognizable to the style that she cultivated with her debut album Born To Die.Such imagery was painted with a tale of old Hollywood glamour, and hints of rebellion – one that sparked a movement with the social media platform Tumblr. Portraying an alter-ego that was built around the perception of being a “gangster Nancy Sinatra, Lana revitalized a shift in pop music.

The songstress captured attention due to her ability to write hypnotic pop melodies through a fascination with hip-hop. On Born To Die, the songstress established her significance with the debut album that single-handedly paved the lane for a new era of pop music, and an aesthetic that has become familiarized with Ms. Del Rey. Changing the perspective of the genre, Lana became one of the faces of the shift from the EDM craze and into the moody/mid-tempo hip-hop inspired pop landscape. Relying on a specific niche sound, Del Rey captures the associations of her aesthetics through dark grunge, yet sultry and euphoric vibes that pretty glorifies the images she creates through her lyrics. Since her debut, Lana Del Rey’s music has been fueled off of nostalgia, and hip-hop influences 

Around that time, A$AP Rocky stepped onto the scene, he also revitalized a style that was much needed within the new decade. As a testament to his career, A$AP Rocky’s irresistible charisma allowed him to set himself apart from his peers, birthing a distinctive aesthetic that has become familiarized by Rocky himself.  Visually the eras of both stars were like no other, both brought a breath of fresh air, and when they joined forces, a cultural shift occurred.

In the music video for Lana Del Rey’s single “National Anthem” Lana and Rocky reenacted the great ol’ American story of the Kennedy’s as being Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy. The near 8 minuet long short film executed cinematic storytelling through depicting greed, romance, and the loss of innocence as it captured the couple’s relationship from inseparable love to an unexpected assassination. The video opens with Lana Del Rey singing the National Anthem with her signature take. Her cover of the song furthered her fascination with the old-Hollywood glamour, but instead of playing the role of Jacqueline, she played the role of Marilyn Monroe.

Moments later, viewers see Lana Del Rey transform into the role of Jacqueline Kennedy, as A$AP Rocky plays the role of John F. Kennedy. Unlike any other portrayal of the former president, the video was a significant moment because it re-wrote the textbook history of the era of the Kennedy’s. A$AP Rocky as a black John F. Kennedy reimagined the possibilities of what it would’ve been like to be black, and to be celebrated during that era. With two bi-racial kids, the relationship of both stars helped to spark a conversation within race relations.

Despite it being released eight years ago, the video is as timeless as ever as it reimagines the presidential family as an interracial couple, also as the new royalty. Lana Del Rey and A$AP Rocky as the Kennedy’s will be remembered and studied as a pivotal moment in American history and will rewrite textbooks.


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