Lana Del Rey is taking us to the streets with “Carmen,” the latest music video release from her album Born to Die. After the slick production values, exotic animalia, and tattooed love interests of “Born to Die” and “Blue Jeans,” Del Rey returns to us with a video reminiscent of earlier efforts (namely, “Video Games”); a visual mash-up of vintage video and, as per usual, low-res images of Ms. Del Rey in full frolic.
“Carmen,” which opens with an animated rose blossoming in slow motion and a woman in the midst of a striptease, alternates footage (both old and new) of New York City, teenage girls of days gone by, plenty of nonsensical vintage advertisements for sweets, and cuts of Del Rey in full fly-girl regalia, pouting on steps and clinging to the back of a boy on a motorcycle.
Carmen, we learn, is a world-weary 17-year-old streetwalker (“Lying to herself ’cause her liquor’s top shelf”), another addition to the canon of Del Rey myths. A continuation of the hypnotic, sweeping vocals that have characterized Born to Die singles so far, interjected with a moody verse in French (“Tu ne peux vivre sans moi/Et je mourrai sans toi, je tuerais pour toi”), “Carmen” is a natural progression of Del Rey’s past meditations on love, youth, and mortality, complete with a heavy dose of drama.