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Music Analysis: Lana Del Rey's Young and Beautiful

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Instrumental Music

on 18 July 2013

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Transcript of Music Analysis: Lana Del Rey's Young and Beautiful

Young and Beautiful
-Lana Del Rey

Historical Context
"Young and Beautiful" was written for the soundtrack of the 2013 film, The Great Gatsby, which takes place in the 1920s. The lyrics in each verse parallel directly with the conflicts that Gatsby and Daisy come into contact with. In the chorus, Rey sings, "Will you still love me when I'm not young and beautiful?" The fear of aging is prominent in the song and in the end when Lana sings that question as the last line, it mirrors the end of The Great Gatsby when Gatsby dies not knowing if Daisy will return to him.

Harmonic Structure
The song is in B minor and follows the same four chords throughout the verses and choruses. Rey and the synthetic orchestra play on variations of these four chords to create a simplistic mellow feel in the music. The variations never stray away from the same four chord structure because this would disrupt the calm feel Rey and Luhrmann intend for the listener to have.

Young and Beautiful is made to mimic the 20's feel of Gatsby but have a modern element to it. Baz Luhrmann and Rey's composition is comprised of a soft piano, and light drumming to create a minimalistic effect. Then, to create melodic contrast and to emphasize the simple chord structure, a synthesized orchestra of strings accompanies Rey's soft, sweet, and powerful voice.
Pop vs. Orchestral
By: Alex Abuaita, Cindy Kim, Colby Hathaway & McKenna Gramzay
Lana Del Rey first created a pop version of "Young and Beautiful," but for the movie, The Great Gatsby, Luhrmann wanted to incorporate a "20's feel" and mimicked the sounds of Lana singing with a live orchestra.

-In the DH orchestral version, the addition of the ostinato of strings at the beginning of the chorus ("Will you still love me..") creates a build-up of intensity. The pop version's lack of strings causes a slower progression of intensity. Clearly the orchestral version was more appropriate for The Great Gatsby, being an extremely dramatic movie.
**Occasionally the ostinato of strings drops out and there is a fade-away when Lana Del Rey sings "Will you still love me when I'm no longer beautiful?" at the end of the chorus. The question lingers in your head and this contrasting decrescendo emphasizes the importance of this question to this song.
Real Orchestra v Synthesizers
Young and Beautiful (DH Orchestral Version)
Rhythmic Structures
The rhythmic structure of Young and Beautiful is quite simple. The orchestral accompaniment plays a calm and constant rhythm that always hits the down beat, which can be explained by the synthesized orchestra of strings. To contrast, the melody, sung by Lana Del Rey, is consistently written in triplets followed by straight quarter notes.
Young and Beautiful (DH Orchestral Version) - Lana Del Rey
Form and Signaling
Like other pop music, Young and Beautiful is in repeating, strophic form. This means that different verses/lyrics are sung to the same music or chords in this case.
INTRO: G Asus2 Bm Dsus2 x2

I've seen the world
Asus2 Bm Dsus2
Done it all, had my cake now
G Asus2 Bm Dsus2
Diamonds, brilliant, and Bel-Air now
G Asus2
Hot summer nights mid July
Dsus2 Bm
When you and I were forever wild
G Asus2
The crazy days, the city lights
Bm Dsus2
The way you'd play with me like a child

G Asus2 Bm Dsus2
Will you still love me when I'm no longer young and beautiful
G Asus2 Bm Dsus2
Will you still love me when I got nothing but my aching soul
G Asus2
I know you will, I know you will
Bm Dsus2
I know that you will
G Asus2 Bm Dsus2
Will you still love me when I'm no longer beautiful
Rey uses an introduction to set the mellow tone using her own deep humming and vibrato to draw you in.
Rey then has several verses in her song.
Each verse is followed by a run of the chorus:
(will you still love me when I'm no longer young and beautiful...)
Introduction - Verse - Chorus - Verse - Chorus - Bridge - Chorus - Tag(coda)
Nearing the end of her song, Rey sings the bridge and adds a modulation to emphasize the power of her love. She ends the phrase with Em instead of the typical Bm.
After the Bridge, Rey sings the chorus one more time and then ends the song with a tag, repeating "Will you still love me....."
Lana Del Rey is 27 years old. She grew up singing and performing but was officially signed at age 19 by an indie label. Her first breakout single was "Video Games," and her first album was released and recorded under her birth name, Lizzy Grant.
http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=zOUh4WoOvjg
http://www.youtube.com /watch?v=o_1aF54DO60
http://www.youtube.com /watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Te11UaHOHMQ
Works Cited
Full transcript