Lana Del Rey's 'Great Gatsby' Greatness: Maybe Her Second Act Actually Doesn't Suck
That window of opportunity won't be open forever, being that she's ostensibly a pop star making pop music. But something fortunate happened: She lucked into singing the most important song used in Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, doubling as her most creatively relevant moment since she mysteriously released "Video Games" nearly two years ago. (There's irony to this: F. Scott Fitzgerald's famous quote is "There are no second acts in American lives," but Lana found one by rebranding her relatively drab Lizzie Grant persona.) In the film's most thematically important scene--SPOILERS if you never took high school English--Gatsby and Daisy have escaped his party to share a tender moment a nearby garden. During their makeout session (heyo!), Daisy whispers how she wishes they could just run away from her controlling husband Tom, which Gatsby reacts to with unexaggerated shock. He doesn't want to run away; he wants to stick here and craft a new life together, regardless of the public scandal that would follow.
As the lover's quarrel plays out, the muted strains of Lana del Rey's "Young and Beautiful," filter in. A string-soaked ballad written specifically for the movie's soundtrack, "Young and Beautiful" has Lana wondering if her love will still appreciate her after the glamour has faded away--a frequent topic in her songs, but finding its finest context in Fitzgerald's story. Used earlier to score a montage in which the main characters frolic about Gatsby's mansion and take in his wealth, it now reveals the blind spot in their relationship. Gatsby is optimistic enough to believe in forever, but Daisy's marriage has conditioned her to be cynical about love. (She once loved Tom, too.)