Blue Jeans (Lana Del Rey song)

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"Blue Jeans"
Single by Lana Del Rey
from the album Born to Die
A-side "Video Games"
B-side "Carmen"
Released April 6, 2012 (2012-04-06)
Recorded 2011
Genre Surf rock
Length 3:30
Producer(s) Emile Haynie
Lana Del Rey singles chronology
  • "Blue Jeans"
  • (2012)

"Blue Jeans" is a song by American singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey for her second studio album Born to Die (2012). It was released on April 8, 2012, by Interscope Records as the third single from the record. Produced by Emile Haynie, the song was written by Del Rey, Haynie, and Dan Heath. It is a downtempo surf ballad with hip hop influences. A controversial performance of the song on SNL placed Del Rey under scrutiny and polarized opinion. Charting across Europe and Asia, "Blue Jeans" reached the top 10 in Belgium, Poland, and Israel. Two music videos were created for the song. The first was self-produced. The second was shot and directed by Yoann Lemoine, featuring film noir elements and a crocodile.

Background and composition[edit]

A 21 second sample of the song features Del Rey using lower vocals over a minimalist hip-hop influenced beat.[1][2]

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Originally put out as a double A-side with her debut song, "Video Games", it was also put as a B-side to the title track and second single, "Born to Die". It was later released as the third official single from Born to Die. Official remixes of "Blue Jeans" include ones by D/R/U/G/S, Blood Orange, Kris Menace, and RAC.[3]

Over surf rock guitar twangs,[4][5] Del Rey sings, "Love is mean and love hurts/ But I still remember that day we met in December". Low fidelity string instruments soar over the refrain, as Del Rey belts: "I will love you till the end of time."[3] During a fit of PDA with her fictional boyfriend, Del Rey sings, "You went out every night/ And baby, that's alright/ I told you that no matter what you did I'd be by your side."[6] The song was influenced by hip hop and has a minimalist beat that recalls songs by Timbaland.[2] Lines such as "I grew up on hip hop." confirm the assertion.[2]

Music videos[edit]

The first video was uploaded onto her YouTube account on September 9, 2011. Just like for the video for her single "Video Games", she gathered old archive clips from the internet and filmed herself in front of her webcam.[7][8] The opening scene of the self-produced video contains a snippet of Lawrence Ferlinghetti reading the Lord's Prayer from the film, The Last Waltz and features footage from Australian photographer Nirrimi Joy Firebrace's "tender-hearted" project.[9] Throughout the video, Del Rey splices vampy screencaps of herself mouthing the lyrics with clips from home videos and paparazzi footage she found on YouTube.[9][4] Among them are snippets of old cartoons, Las Vegas, gas stations, and Tupac Shakur.[4]

A second video titled "Blue Jeans (Live at the Premises)" was filmed and released online. In the video, Del Rey stands at a microphone in a bland room, accompanied by an electric guitarist. The Huffington Post writer Mallika Rao commented on Del Rey's performance in the video, "Her voice is still surprisingly deep. She still catches it in her throat in studied vulnerability. Her lashes are still thick as wings, her lips still enormous. The implicit reference to Nancy Sinatra and her ancestral line of gloomy jazz, which fans find exciting, and critics call derivative, is still at work."[10]

A new official music video was directed by Yoann Lemoine, who directed the video for the previous single "Born to Die". Bradley Soileau plays Del Rey's love interest in the video just as he did in the music video for "Born to Die".[11] Filmed in early March 2012,[6] and released on March 19,[12][unreliable source?] the video contains elements of film noir and is shot entirely in black and white. The video was compared to Nick Cave's murder ballads and the discography of Chris Isaak.[13] Set by a poolside of a 1950s Hollywood home, Del Rey and Soileau reunite for a tragic love story. Accompanied by slo-mo brooding and smoking scenes, there is a possible drowning and the appearance of a crocodile.[6] Critics called the video "moody" and "retro".[14]

Live performances and media usage[edit]

On January 14, 2012 Del Rey performed the song on American late-night live television sketch comedy and variety show Saturday Night Live.[3] The performance received a strong media reaction, many calling scrutiny to Del Rey's potential as an artist.[15][16][17][18] She was later defended by Daniel Radcliffe and SNL performer, Kristen Wiig, who later protected Del Rey by performing as her in a skit.[19][20] Embarrassed by the overwhelming amount of negative public reaction, Del Rey was forced to cancel her world tour.[21] Following the release of the high-budgeted secondary music video, Del Rey performed the surf rock song live on American Idol, where critics believe she redeemed the panned SNL performance.[21]

It also was performed at Le Grand Journal in France, on January 30. On April 13, 2012, Del Rey performed the track on Italian talk show Le Invasioni Barbariche of La 7.[22] On April 28, 2012, Del Rey performed the track on the first series of The Voice UK - with the performance airing the following day on BBC One.[23]

The song was featured in Ringer's "It's Easy to Cry When This Much Cash Is Involved" season 1 episode.[24] It marks the second time a song by Del Rey was used in the series, the first being "Video Games".[25] It is also used in a Nespresso commercial.[26] It is also in a commercial for the University of Phoenix.[27]

Bastille performed a mashup of "Blue Jeans" and Clint Mansell's "Lux Aeterna" on their mix tape, Other People's Heartache.[28]

Critical reception[edit]

John Murphy from Music OMH stated that "Blue Jeans" along with "Video Games" are similar to the songs of singer Adele.[29]

"Blue Jeans" received positive reviews from critics. Robert Copsey of Digital Spy said "Blue Jeans" was "packed with vintage American grandeur as well as Del Rey's own menacing vocal as she holds out for her once-upon-a-time James Dean-esque lover - though we sincerely hope he hasn't met a similar end." MTV reviewer, Nicole James, compared the possible death in "Blue Jeans" to the drowning of Jack in "Titanic", adding:

"While we love LDR's whole "thing" she has going on, we're wondering when one of her videos is going to have a happy ending. How does she explain fairy tales to the kids she babysits? "And then Prince Charming kissed Sleeping Beauty and they lived happily ever after... until he got lazy, stopped bathing regularly and became clinically obsessed with World of Warcraft."[6]

The Huffington Post noted that "Blue Jeans" was faithful to Del Rey's musical formula of nostalgia and realism, combined by artful and deep lyrics.[30] In a review by So So Gay, "Blue Jeans" was said to have "[l]ines that could be lifted straight out of a rap hit." These included: "you're so fresh to death and sick as cancer" and "love you more than those bitches before" which were said to flow seamlessly into the chorus' tragic promise of, "I will love you til the end of time, I would wait a million years." The track was considered as "equally transfixing" as "Video Games" and able to compete with nineties releases from Aaliyah and The Weeknd.[2]

Slant Magazine said that Del Rey "uses her impressive range to dazzling effect on, "Blue Jeans", comparing her delinquent lover to both cancer and her favorite sweater in what seems like one swooning breath".[31] NME said that "Blue Jeans' lush Chris Isaak shades shimmer like sea-spume on Helena Christensen’s naked thighs as Del Rey longs for her James Dean".[32] Sputnikmusic stated that it's reminiscent of the music in Quentin Tarantino's films and named it one of the best song on the album.[33] Beats Per Minute said that “Blue Jeans would probably be described by Del Rey as “gangsta spaghetti western,” but, aside from its most basic of forced rhymes (“‘Cause I’mma ride or die / Whether you fail or fly / Well shit at least you tried”), it is still a clever spin on genre, sounding unique, even inspired".[34] DOA magazine said that "The lyrics-centric story-telling “Blue Jeans” slows it down a bit with a deliberate, but swinging beat as Lana delves into a relationship where the guy is a “Big dreams / gangsta…” and the girl wants him to stop living that lifestyle. Midway into the song the pace speeds up and Lana crams in a lot of lyrics, keeping the rhymes tight and the emotions high, until it dissipates into a dreamy chorus with Lana proclaiming “I will love you till the end of time".[35] No Ripcord said that "Just like in the dark ballad Blue Jeans, Del Rey sounds more comfortable when she tries to perform as a tough songstress".[36] Music OMH said that "Video Games and Blue Jeans, despite suffering Adele style levels of ubiquity in recent months, still sound achingly beautiful, both of them sounding like the saddest love songs ever written".[37] Consequence of Sound said that “Blue Jeans and “Video Games” inextricably link Del Rey’s flaxen locks with starry-eyed classical instruments, providing the aural and visual irresistibility of a good montage".[38]

Track listing[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2011/12) Peak
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[54] 6
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[55] 4
Brazil Billboard Hot 100 Airplay[56] 94
Brazil Billboard Hot Pop Songs[57] 60
Croatia (Airplay Radio Chart)[58] 51
Denmark (Tracklisten)[59] 35
France (SNEP)[60] 16
Greece Digital Singles (Billboard)[61] 8
Israel (Media Forest)[62] 10
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[63] 39
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[64] 32
US Rock Digital Songs (Billboard)[65] 41


Year Awards ceremony Award Results Ref
2012 UK Music Video Awards Best Cinematography In A Video Nominated
Best Pop Video - International Nominated

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format
(excluding Germany, Austria, US, and Canada)[citation needed]
April 8, 2012 4-track Digital Remixes EP
United Kingdom[67] April 9, 2012 7" Vinyl
United States[68] May 1, 2012 6- track Digital Remixes EP
New Zealand[73]
United States[83] May 21, 2012 Triple A radio
France[84] July 23, 2012 CD single


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  2. ^ a b c d Ryan, Damien (September 14, 2011). "Track Review: Lana Del Rey – Blue Jeans". So So Gay. Retrieved December 24, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c Copsey, Robert. "Lana Del Rey: 'Blue Jeans' - Single review". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c Daw, Robbie (9 September 2011). "Lana Del Rey Shines Among The Footage In Her Video For B-Side “Blue Jeans”". Idolator. Spin Media. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
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External links[edit]