“Dark But Just a Game” by Lana Del Rey

Shortly after Lana Del Rey’s “Chemtrails Over the Country Club” (note the title) came out, major media outlooks began picking up on the fact that one of its subthemes is the songstress’s shall we say disillusion with Hollywood. 

This is a conclusion we were set to get to eventually anyway, after already having analyzed tracks such as “White Dress” and “Wild at Heart“. But apparently, songs with such “dark” subthemes are nothing new in Lana’s catalog. 

Or let’s say that she has perhaps been able to really realize, earlier than her pop music peers, that not all endings in Hollywood are happy ones. And that is an issue she is confronting most forthrightly in “Dark But Just a Game”.

And you know these days, we laymen always hear about Hollywood this or Hollywood that, the sacrifices celebrities make in the name of attaining their envious fame and fortune. But this is something that Lana Del Rey and even her co-writer, Jack Antonoff, have witnessed firsthand. 

Indeed Lana stands a better chance of meeting some type of unfavorable celebrity state than say you or we do. In fact what reportedly inspired this song was something like Del Rey meeting one or more of her “idols” at an industry party and somehow being turned off, perhaps even shaken, by the experience.


So the chorus features the singer making a resolution not to meet such an unfavorable state herself. Under her estimation, what may have actually happened to those people was that they “lost their minds”. 

So she has decided ‘not to change’ since she also seems to conclude that such individuals “changing all the time” has something to do with them losing their minds.

Lyrics of "Dark But Just a Game"

“Dark But Just a Game”

Meanwhile the title of the track is based on the vocalist making two observations. One is that the game is indeed “dark”. It’s like people may get the money and the fame but get ravaged, one way or another, in the process. But the second observation, no pun intended, is that the game is in fact a “game”. 

It’s dark, but it’s just a game.’ Yet of course when we’re referring to people’s lives being on the line, ‘just a game’ isn’t what we’d call a politically-correct or even logically-appropriate term.

But thankfully at the beginning of the second verse Lana gives us more clarification concerning what she’s talking about. And basically the word “game”, as used in this song, is synonymous with the word ‘business’. 

So the title could also read something like ‘it’s dark, but it’s just a business’. Maybe coming to such a conclusion is a no-brainer for some readers. But once again, we thank Lana for the explanation.

Lana Explains Even Further

However, Lana then proceeds, still within the second verse, to sort of make fun of the title herself. She acknowledges that yes, “life is sweet or whatever”. You know, it’s like she is, after all, a famous musician. But it’s actually the “whatever” in that sentence which, in a roundabout way, is the most-important word contained therein. 

For that implies that the vocalist does not necessarily agree with ‘life being sweet’. And it also, within the entire context of the related bars, insinuates that someone is seducing her into believing so. For the same person who is apparently introducing this idea to the vocalist is the one she’s “making out with in the parking lot”. 

But at the same time, it is also apparent that she is the type of person who isn’t wholly content with chillin’ and having fun “while the whole world is crazy”.

In Conclusion

So conclusively, we can go a lot of different ways with this particular track. But let’s just say that the title is assuredly sarcastic in nature. Also, we would have to conclude with something like Lana Del Rey seemingly being more conscious and relatedly outspoken than many of her peers.

Writing Credits for “Dark But Just a Game”

“Dark But Just a Game” was written by the regular songwriting pair of Lana and Jack Antonoff. And as the story goes, they mutually conceptualized the tune while attending a party that was hosted by Madonna and her manager, Guy Oseary.

Track’s Release Date

This track is from Del Rey’s seventh album, which is entitled “Chemtrails Over the Country Club”. Its issuance date was on 19 March 2020. And it was put forth by Interscope Records in conjunction with Polydor Records.

Despite being one of the masterpieces from the album, it wasn’t released as a single. Here are the songs Lana chose to release as official singles from “Chemtrails”:

Dark But Just A Game

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