A&W by Lana Del Rey Lyrics Meaning – Unraveling the Struggles of Identity and Desire


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Lana Del Rey's A&W at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning

Lyrics

I haven′t done a cartwheel since I was nine
I haven’t seen my mother in a long, long time
I mean, look at me
Look at the length of my hair and my face, the shape of my body
Do you really think I give a damn
What I do after years of just hearin′ them talking?

I say I live in Rosemead, really, I’m at the Ramada
It doesn’t really matter, doesn′t really, really matter

Call him up, come into my bedroom
Ended up, we fuck on the hotel floor
It′s not about havin’ someone to love me anymore
This is the experience of bein′ an American whore

Called up one drunk, called up another, Forensic Files wasn’t on
Watching Teenage Diary of a Girl, wondering what went wrong
I′m a princess, I’m divisive, ask me why, why, why I′m like this
Maybe I’m just kind of like this, I don’t know maybe, I′m just like this

I say I live in Rosemead, really, I′m at the Ramada
It doesn’t really matter, doesn′t really, really matter

Call him up, he comes over again
Yeah, I know I’m over my head but, oh
It′s not about havin’ someone to love me anymore
No, this is the experience of bein′ an American Whore

I mean look at my hair
Look at the length of it and the shape of my body
If I told you that I was raped
Do you really think that anybody would think
I didn’t ask for it? I didn’t ask for it
I won′t testify, I already fucked up my story
On top of this, mm, so many other things you can′t believe
Did you know a singer can still be lookin’ like a sidepiece at 33?

God′s a charlatan, don’t look back, babe
Puts the shower on while he calls me
Slips out the back door to talk to me
I′m invisible, look how you hold me
I’m invisible, I′m invisible (here’s my body, I’m available)
I′m a ghost now, look how they found me

It′s not about havin’ someone to love me anymore (uh, okay)
No, this is the experience of bein′ an American whore
It’s not about havin′ someone to love me anymore
No, this is the experience of bein’ an American whore

This is the experience of bein′ an American whore
This is the experience of bein’ an American whore
This is the experience of bein’ an American whore

Ooh

Jimmy, Jimmy cocoa puff, Jimmy, Jimmy ride
Jimmy, Jimmy cocoa puff, Jimmy get me high (oh my God)
Love me if you love or not, you can be my light
Jimmy only love me when he wanna get high

Jimmy only love me when he wanna get high
Jimmy only love me when he wanna get high
Jimmy only love me when he wanna get high
Your mom called, I told her, you′re fuckin′ up big time

Your mom called, I told her, you’re fuckin′ up big time

Jimmy, Jimmy cocoa puff, Jimmy, Jimmy ride
Jimmy, Jimmy cocoa puff, Jimmy get me high
Love me if you love or not, you can be my light
Jimmy only love me when he wanna get high

Jimmy only love me when he wanna get high
Jimmy only love me when he wanna get high
Jimmy only love me when he wanna get high
Your mom called, I told her, you’re fuckin′ up big time

Jimmy, you should switch it up, maybe light it up (yeah)
Jimmy, if you leave the house, find me in the club (like)
Jimmy, if you switch it up, you should light it up
Jimmy, if you leave the house, find me in the club (like, surf’s up)

Your mom called, I told her, you′re fuckin’ up big time
But I don’t care, baby, I already lost my mind (mind, mind)
If you light it up, it′s only in the club
Your mom called, I told her, you′re fuckin’ up big time

Jimmy, Jimmy cocoa puff, Jimmy, Jimmy ride
Jimmy, Jimmy cocoa puff, Jimmy get me high
Love me if you love or not, you can be my light
Jimmy only love me when he wanna get high

Jimmy only love me when he wanna get high (everybody does)
Jimmy only love me when he wanna get high (that′s right)
Jimmy only love me when he wanna get high
Your mom called, I told her, you’re fuckin′ up big time

Full Lyrics

Among the tracks of Lana Del Rey’s hauntingly ethereal discography, ‘A&W’ stands out as a striking embodiment of pain, self-reflection, and the nuances of the female experience wrapped up in modern American culture. Her poetic candor sets the stage for a deep dive into the song’s layered symbolism and confessional storytelling.

Del Rey’s artistic tapestry weaves a complex narrative on identity, desire, and the perception of women within the merciless gaze of societal norms. ‘A&W’ is a song rich with imagery and metaphor, serving as a canvas for listeners to explore the vulnerabilities and raw truths that define her work.

Cartwheels and Estrangement: Lana’s Lament on Lost Innocence

The opening lines, recounting the inability to perform a cartwheel since childhood and the distance from her mother, sets a mournful tone. It’s a stark admission of growth tangled with loss, with the image of a cartwheel symbolizing a carefree innocence now out of reach. Del Rey’s long hair and the silhouette of her body become defiant markers of her autonomy amidst public scrutiny.

Through these verses, Del Rey projects an image of a woman caught between the remnants of her past and the unforgiving judgements that come with public life. The mention of her mother is not just a statement of estrangement but a deeper reflection on the changing tides of familial bonds and the enduring impact they have on one’s sense of self.

Exposed but Hidden: The Dichotomy of Identity in ‘A&W’

An undercurrent of ‘A&W’ is the struggle with identity—what is revealed and what remains concealed. Del Rey’s declaration of living in Rosemead while residing at the Ramada metaphorically explores the duality between perceived persona and hidden truths. It reflects a sense of displacement and the dissonance of leading a life that doesn’t entirely align with the self.

The duality also plays out in the physical and emotional realms, where intimate encounters in mundane settings mix with an absence of emotional fulfillment, underscoring the transactional nature of relationships in the limelight and a broader societal commentary on women’s agency over their bodies.

A Reflection of Modern Womanhood: ‘American Whore’ as a Symbol

Provocative and unapologetic, the refrain of being an ‘American Whore’ is a bold appropriation of a derogatory term, transformed into a badge of lived experience. It’s an exploration of the societal judgment bestowed upon women who defy conventional norms of sexuality, and the exhausting act of constantly needing to be loved.

Del Rey’s chorus functions as a subversion of the Madonna-whore complex, challenging the listener to examine their own prejudices and the objectification of women in media. The term ‘American’ tethers this experience to a national identity where freedom and pursuit of happiness coexist with puritanical double standards.

Unearthing the Hidden Meaning Behind the Sidepiece Sigil

In a particularly revealing stanza, Del Rey confronts the gender-based violence and victim-blaming culture with disturbing honesty. She questions if her outward appearance would lead others to assume complicity in her own sexual assault, exposing the harsh reality of women being discredited and the narratives of their experiences being controlled.

The singer’s self-aware declaration of looking like a ‘sidepiece’ at 33 captures the enduring pressure women face to comply with ageist beauty standards while fighting to have their stories and traumas taken seriously. It’s a raw, unsettling reflection on how society devalues women’s autonomy over their own narratives.

Memorable Lines: Jimmy’s Ephemeral Highs and the Burden of Predetermined Roles

The figure of Jimmy, mentioned recurrently in the song’s latter half, could be seen as an allegorical character representing fleeting comfort and reiterative disappointments in love. The catchy, nursery-rhyme quality of ‘Jimmy, Jimmy cocoa puff’ juxtaposes childlike innocence with a darker theme of addiction and exploitation.

Lana Del Rey leaves us with a thought-provoking juxtaposition by delivering a playful melody underlined with deep emotional strife. Del Rey captures the fatalistic acceptance bundled with clarity in these lines, succinctly tying together the threads of escapism, disappointment, and the complexities of love’s conditional nature.

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