Aug 292021

This is just a reaction post.

I recently got to really listen to and think on Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful”. The primary repeated refrain is “Will you still love me when I’m no longer beautiful?”

No one worth singing this song to would answer anything but “Yes.” We all know this, and it’s even acknowledged in the song (“I know you will”). You won’t hear this unless you have already answered Yes at least implicitly. Maybe one could interpret this song as a periodic need for affirmation. But the amount of repetition and stress on that line, the intense emotion put into it, and the soul-breaking saddness of the lines makes me feel like that’s not it. Based on the musical accompanyment and the delivery of the vocals, to me it sounds like deep regret, and apology.

I know I used to be beautiful.
That’s one of the things you loved about me.
I’m not beautiful anymore, and you still love me.
I’m sorry I’m not beautiful.
We’re getting old. We’re dying.
I’m sorry we’re dying.
I still love you.
And you still love me.
But I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
I wish I could be not-dying, for you.

I’m sorry I’m no longer beautiful.

I realize that making someone cry is one of the crowning acheivements of art. But Jesus, did you have to stab me that deep in broad dayling like that? Did you have to hide it in pretty terms so I unpack it myself to find screaming death inside the pretty-wrapped box? Do I have to pretend it’s romantic that we’re going to decay and die together, instead of tragic, because the music is pretty and your voice is angelic? I’m not OK with any of this!

In short, Strong Not Recommended, unless you’re in an emotionally safe space and you want to cry a lot about how awful and tragic aging is.

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