Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” Meaning
Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” is a song that Polydor and Interscope made public on 22 April 2013, as the lead single from The Great Gatsby: Music from Baz Luhrmann’s Film.
The Great Gatsby (1925) is a classic American novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) – so much so that it has been turned into a movie numerous times throughout the decades.
The 2013 version starred Leonardo DiCaprio alongside Tobey Maguire and did okay for itself at the box office. Its abovenoted soundtrack, spearheaded by Jay-Z himself, also featured a number of A listers, including Lana Del Rey, and it proceeded to reach second place on the Billboard 200.
“Young and Beautiful”
But as for “Young and Beautiful”, it proved to be a major hit on its own, going quintuple-platinum in the US and quadruple-platinum in the land down under for example. And as far as charting goes, it had a true international showing, not only appearing on the likes of Billboard Hot 100 and UK Singles Chart as to be expected but also charting in nations like Israel, Lebanon and Ukraine.
In fact quite interestingly, the one country where this song did reach number one, out of the nearly 30 it charted in, was on TopHit’s Russia Airplay Chart. And to note, this track was also nominated for a Grammy and Critics’ Choice Movie Awards in 2014 and that same year did win a Satellite Award for Best Original Song. Later down the line, in late-2022, “Young and Beautiful” was behind a notable TikTok trend.
The Team Behind “Young and Beautiful”
Lana Del Rey of course had a hand in writing this song, officially accomplishing the feat alongside her regular collaborator, Rick Nowels. But it has been noted that Baz Luhrmann was also involved in its composition, as this tune was originally titled, “Will You Still Love Me When I’m Young and Beautiful” and was intended to be featured on Del Rey’s 2012 EP “Paradise”.
Meanwhile, the same Rick Nowels co-produced the track, accomplishing that task in conjunction with Al Shux and Dan Heath. And the music video was helmed by a prominent director in that regard, Sophie Muller, who did so with Chris Sweeney.
This is a love song which is pretty conventional as far as the thesis sentiment goes. What does make it a bit different from the norm is that rather than focusing exclusively on the feelings between the vocalist and addressee, the former is also looking towards the future, wondering whether or not the latter ‘will still love her’ once she’s aged.
Lana is not going to be young and beautiful forever. That is to say that life will not always be as exciting and gratifying as it is now, whereas for example she’s able to freely and fully enjoy the riches of the world, so on and so forth.
“Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful?
Will you still love me when I got nothing but my aching soul?
I know you will, I know you will, I know that you will
Will you still love me when I’m no longer beautiful?”
But ultimately the singer answers her own question, expressing a confidence that the addressee will in fact love her ’til the end, thus making said query by and large rhetorical.
That then sorta brings us to the other part of this piece which is somewhat unconventional, that being the bridge, which is actually presented in the form of a prayer. But most simply put, it serves the purpose of Lana expressing her desire to be with her sweetheart even into the afterlife.
“Dear Lord, when I get to Heaven
Please let me bring my man
When he comes, tell me that you’ll let him in
Father, tell me if you can”
So again, this is wholeheartedly a love song, written by an unorthodox lyricist in Del Rey but conclusively expressing the same type of sentiment – i.e. wanting to be with your significant other into perpetuity – that we tend to find in most romantic pieces.
Some analysts have offered moderately-complex explanations of this piece, such as the lyrics ruminating on the fading nature of beauty within the context of romance.
But all wording considered, what’s being put forth really isn’t that complicated. The vocalist may be mildly concerned in terms of how long all of this will last, with her insecurity seemingly being fed by overenjoying life in the present and knowing that such enjoyment cannot continue forever.
But conclusively, as far as the romance at hand goes, Lana appears to be supremely confident that she has in fact found true, lasting love with the addressee.