“Dance Till We Die” by Lana Del Rey
Generally speaking, Lana Del Rey’s songs tend to be shall we say a bit more-complicated than that of your standard pop artist. And such is the case with “Dance Till We Die”.
The lyrics feature what can perhaps be interpreted as a romantic undertone, with the addressee being referred to as “babe” and all. Also the chorus does, as the title suggest, feature the singer vigorously “dancing” with someone, an act which to some degree is reserved for lovers. But comprehensively, the song in its entirety doesn’t read as if it is about romance.
Rather we would argue that this track is premised on an idea such as feminism or the adoration of strong women.
That would be why for instance Lana gives a shoutout to her musical foremothers, Joni Mitchell, Joan Boaz, Stevie Nicks and Courtney Love.
No, not all of the names just mentioned may be feminists in the rawest sense of the word. But as far as the music industry goes, they are perceived as trailblazers and living legends as far as their gender is concerned. And they are also performers whom Del Rey obviously looks up to for their artistry, despite the fact that in the present moment she is more-popular than either one of them.
Lana is Dancing with Her Heroes
And in celebrating such individuals, it appears to be them whom Lana is symbolically referring to dancing with. Or stated differently, when she felt ‘troubled by her circumstances’ and ‘burdened by the weight of fame’, they are obviously the type of individuals whom her mind harps back to as a form of relief.
Or put alternatively yet again, as illustrated in the bridge emulating them gives Lana’s career a higher sense of meaning. As with these trendsetters, Del Rey herself is likewise a countercultural – for lack of a better word – artist. So as such, money and fame alone cannot afford her happiness. But regardless of the circumstances or her disposition, she has resolved to make the best of the situation nevertheless, as in ‘dance till she dies’.
So conclusively, we can say that this is another one of those songs where Del Rey, albeit in a roundabout way, is speaking to the pitfalls of possessing a celebrity level of fame. But more to the point is the fact that she has resolved, using the example of some of those who came before her, to enjoy life nonetheless.
Writing and Production of “Dance Till We Die”
“Dance Till We Die” marks another songwriting/production collaboration between Lana Del Rey and Mark Antonoff, as is by and large “Chemtrails Over the Country Club”, the album this track is derived from.
Said project was released, via the efforts of Polydor Records and Interscope Records, on 19 March 2021.
Iconic Female Celebrities mentioned in “Dance Till We Die”
Here’s a quick rundown of the artists Lana Del Rey gave shoutouts to in this song:
Joni Mitchell (born 1943) is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee whose heyday was during the 1970s. It was during said decade that she dropped her most-celebrated project, “Blue” (1971), which is considered by many to be one of the greatest albums in American history. And she is also known to be a personal favorite of artists like Janet Jackson.
Joan Baez is likewise a singer but also a feminist, or perhaps more accurately human rights icon in the truest sense of the word. Also, having begun her career way back in the late 1950s, she is still more or less musically active heading into the 2020s. And she is also noted as being a mutual fan of Lana Del Rey’s.
As with Boaz and Mitchell, Stevie Nicks also holds a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In fact she holds two places, one alongside the Fleetwood Mac – the band she most-notably fronted during the 1970s. The other as a soloist. And accordingly she is considered a legendary musician, even if not necessarily an activist.
Courtney Love (born 1964) is a singer who artistry is definitively recognized for its feminist leanings. She also has plenty of acting credits under her belt. And whereas she may not be a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as of the release of this track, she holds an undeniable place in rock history nonetheless being the widow of the late, great Kurt Cobain (1967-1994).