MUSIC

"Season of the Witch" and All Of Lana Del Rey's Covers, Ranked

Del Rey's always riffed off the past, so it makes sense that she'd be so good at lending her modern tastes to songs from the '50s and '60s.

Lana Del Rey's built a universe out of her music by threading influences from the past with modern beats and startling themes.

She's extremely prolific in her own right, but every once in a while she's put her uniquely melancholy touch on some classic tunes from bygone eras.

Here's a running list of all the covers LDR has ever blessed us with, ranked from worst to best.

14. Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

This song was the concluding track on Del Rey's spaced-out 2015 album, Honeymoon. While "The Other Woman" did justice to Nina Simone in terms of its emotiveness and stylish arrangement, this version failed to live up to the original's brilliance. The track's string section and keyboard sound artificially produced, like they're digitally manufactured effects, and the whole thing feels too wordy and overcrowded to fully communicate its intended emotional impact.

Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood (Audio) - Lana Del Rey www.youtube.com

13. The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA

For anyone who doesn't know, Del Rey has a massive body of work from the decade she was creating music before she became Lana Del Rey. During her days as Lizzy Grant, Sparkle Jump Rope Queen, May Jailer, and several other early iterations of the star she would eventually become, she recorded at least a hundred original songs that are still accessible online, in addition to a few rare covers—one being Donna Fargo's "The Happiest Girl in the USA." She sang it live during her Lizzy Grant era, when she was performing all over bars in New York, singing in a childishly high voice, and using an oddly campy Southern drawl. Wearing her signature flower crown but still sporting her naturally blonde hair, this delicate song shows Del Rey pre-metamorphosis but just as committed as ever to her bittersweet, vintage image.

Lana Del Rey - Happiest Girl In The Whole USA (Donna Fargo Cover) www.youtube.com

12. Happy Birthday Mr. President

In her video for "National Anthem," Del Rey drew from the best of 1950s American folklore. For most of the video, she's Jackie O with A$AP Rocky as her Kennedy, but at the start of the video she appears as Marilyn Monroe, sporting a bedazzled gown and singing the classic adulteress's anthem, "Happy Birthday Mr. President." Her voice gets breathy here, in a nearly perfect imitation of Marilyn's; and her ability to pull off both Marilyn and Jackie O reveals her chameleon-like ability to switch between different characters with a change of clothing. While the cover contains less of the rich expansiveness and artistry of the others on this list, it still gets its intended job done.

Lana Del Rey - Happy Birthday Mr. President www.youtube.com


11. Summer Wine

Del Rey never actually called herself a "gangster Nancy Sinatra"—that was one of her managers—but she eventually did cover a song made famous by Nancy Sinatra. Originally written by Lee Hazelwood, the song was later rerecorded by Del Rey and her boyfriend at the time, Barrie James O'Neill. The duo set their cover to an almost absurdly nostalgic montage of cherry-eating and lounging underneath gauzy summer sunshine. (Barrie eventually went on to inspire Ultraviolence, so obviously, the buzz from the summer wine was doomed from the start).

*SUMMER WINE* www.youtube.com

10. Goodbye Kiss

Speaking of "doomed from the start," that phrase is actually the first line of one of Del Rey's other covers—a rendition of Kasabian's more upbeat track from 2012. On Del Rey's lips, the song turns almost painfully melancholy; she slows it down and gives it her classic whispery, psychedelic spin, letting the tragic lyrics speak for themselves over layers of subdued electric guitar and piano.

Lana Del Rey - Goodbye Kiss www.youtube.com

9. Doin' Time

Lana dropped this radio-ready cover in the (very, very long) interim between announcing her upcoming album Norman F**king Rockwell and actually releasing it. The song tells a bittersweet story of a romance gone wrong, pitted against descriptions of an idyllic, slow-burning summer, which is a Del Rey-style juxtaposition if we've ever seen one.

Lana Del Rey - Doin Time www.youtube.com


8. Season of the Witch

Remember Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark, that book that definitely worked its way into your nightmares when you were a kid, if only because of its shockingly terrifying illustrations? Now, it's being turned into a Guillermo del Toro film, and the trailer features a one-minute clip of Del Rey singing Donovan's "Season of the Witch." Hopefully, we'll get the full version at some point; for now, at least, we can hear Del Rey speak-singing over eerie strings while characters shriek in the background.

Lana Del Rey - Season Of The Witch (Trailer) www.youtube.com

7. Heart Shaped Box

Del Rey has long cited Nirvana as one of her primary influences. She covered this song during her Paradise tour in 2013, and it features one of her most impressive high notes (check out 2:20). This was before she evoked the ire of Frances Bean Cobain for her "I wish I was dead already" comments and well before she toured with and befriended Courtney Love. After she debuted this cover in Oslo, Love allegedly tweeted, "You do know the song is about my v-gina right? 'Throw down your umbilical noose so i can climb right back,' umm… On top of which some of the lyrics about my v-gina I contributed. So umm next time you sing it, think about my v-gina will you?"

Lana Del Rey - Heart-Shaped Box (live) - Oslo Spektrum, Oslo - 10-04-2013 www.youtube.com

6. Once Upon a Dream

LDR was chosen by Angelina Jolie to cover this classic '50s tune for Disney's Maleficent. If this song was a piece of clothing, this tune would be a satin gown draped in cobwebs, worn by a vampire queen as she descends down the stairs of her abandoned, vine-covered mansion. Filled out by droning synths that summon images of a misty, moonlit forest, it's one of her most moody, mystical, and half-dead-sounding tracks, and that's saying something.

Lana Del Rey - Once Upon A Dream (From Maleficent)(Official Audio) www.youtube.com


5. You Must Love Me

Anyone still insisting that Del Rey can't sing needs only to listen to this cover of the classic track from Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical theatre masterpiece, Evita. While musical theatre might not seem exactly in Del Rey's wheelhouse, the role of Evita fits her surprisingly well. Eva Perón was a woman who amassed a cult-like following in Argentina, despite her fraught legacy that made some absolutely enraged. While her legacy exists on a different scale than Del Rey's, one might say that there are similarities between these two women, who have both generated slavish adoration and cold-blooded rage. This cover finds Del Rey singing with the higher part of her range; if she played the evil queen in "Once Upon a Dream," here she fully embraces the Disney princess part of her voice, while a lush arrangement of strings and woodwinds plays on in the background.

Lana Del Rey, Andrew Lloyd Webber - You Must Love Me (Audio) www.youtube.com

4. Blue Velvet

This song was featured in Del Rey's ad for H&M when she was still sporting a stratospherically high beehive hairstyle. Slow as molasses and sung almost entirely in her low range, this song feels apocalyptically ominous and sultry at the same time, making it the perfect soundtrack for, say, a montage of atomic bombs exploding, or for grainy footage of a ghost dancing alone in an empty swimming pool, or something along those lines.

Lana Del Rey - Blue Velvet (Official Video) www.youtube.com

3. Knockin' On Heaven's Door

Another live cover, this one finds Del Rey lending her wispy vocals to the famous Dylan tune, made famous by Guns N' Roses. As someone who sings about God, death, and heaven with surprising depth and frequency, the song was a natural fit. So far she's only sung it at concerts, accompanied only by tremolo-laden guitar. Transmuted through her world-weary voice and sung out over fields of lighters as crowds chant along in the distance, it's chill-inducing and one of her best live covers by far.

Lana Del Rey Live @ Frankfurt - Knocking On Heavens Door www.youtube.com

2. The Other Woman

Del Rey concluded the official version of her third album, Ultraviolence, with a cover of Nina Simone's "The Other Woman," a song that fit perfectly with that album's theme of being irredeemably in love with a careless, damaged, drugged-out man. Her version of Simone's tune is ragged and elegant, a mix of grand orchestrations and desolate-sounding guitars. On it, she sounds about a thousand years old, and the song itself sounds like it's being beamed through a transistor radio from an alternate universe into our own, making it one of Del Rey's finest (and saddest) covers.

The Other Woman www.youtube.com

1. Chelsea Hotel No. 2

In 2013, Lana covered this famous Leonard Cohen piece, which tells the story of the time that Cohen spent a night with Janis Joplin at New York City's legendary Chelsea Hotel. The hotel also happened to house Patti Smith, Allen Ginsberg, Madonna, Arthur Miller, Dylan Thomas, Sid Vicious—who killed his girlfriend Nancy Spungen there in 1978—and many more luminaries, and though it's been under construction for years, it's expected to re-open in 2019. With its beatnik history and dark, drug-addled, Old Hollywood-style lore, the Chelsea Hotel is a natural landmark in Del Rey's melancholic, nostalgic universe, right alongside the Chateau Marmot, Coney Island, and the back of every motorcycle owned by a man older than 60. Later on, she sang this cover at a Leonard Cohen tribute event with Cohen's son, Adam, making that version doubly meaningful. This cover is so heart-wrenching, so vintage New York, and so glamorously faded, it ranks among her best work.

Lana Del Rey - Chelsea Hotel No 2 (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com

BONUS:

Del Rey has also covered Oasis's "Wonderwall" and The Doors' "Roadhouse Blues" during live shows, but the recordings aren't quite good enough to merit them a place on this list. Still, check them out below:

Lana Del Rey covers Leonard Cohen, Oasis, The Doors & Kasabian www.youtube.com


Culture Feature

Drew Brees Exemplifies How NOT to Be a White Ally

The quarterback said "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country." And then he tried to apologize. And only made it worse.

Drew Brees, a man who makes literally millions of dollars for throwing a ball, has come under fire for insensitive comments he made about NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality.

"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees said in the interview with Yahoo Finance. He clarified that this was in part because he envisioned his grandfathers, who fought in World War II, during the National Anthem. He continued, saying, "And is everything right with our country right now? No. It's not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together. We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution."

This isn't the first time Brees made it clear that he cares more for the idea of a make-believe unified America than he does for actual human lives. In 2016, he criticized Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the anthem, saying it was "disrespectful to the American flag" and "an oxymoron" because the flag gave critics the right to speak out in the first place.


Colin Kaepernick Kneeling Colin Kaepernick kneeling in protest of racist police brutality


Of course, the flag's alleged ideals have been proven to only be applicable to wealthy, white men—men like Brees. Sure, his grandfathers did a noble thing when they fought under the US flag during WWII, and no one, including Kaepernick, has ever said that sacrifice isn't worth respecting. Thanks to the sacrifices of many people (including the enslaved Black backs upon which this country was built, including the scores of routinely abused Black soldiers who fought for American lives), America has offered opportunity and peace for many, many people. In particular, Ole' Glory has been very kind to men like Brees: rich, white men who still control the majority of the power and the wealth in the United States.

But what about the rest of us, Drew? What about George Floyd whose neck was crushed by a police officer who kneeled on him so casually that he didn't even take his hand out of his pocket? What about Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot for the crime of being Black and going for a jog? What about Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was murdered by police in her home in the middle of the night for a crime that had nothing to do with her? What about Tony McDade, Drew–have you heard his name? Have you heard about the 38-year-old Black trans man who was gunned down in Florida last week? Do you understand why these people's family's may harbor just a bit of disrespect for your precious flag?

Is it possible for you to realize, Drew, that your wish for "unity" is not a wish for progress, but a wish to maintain the status quo? When you call for unity under the American flag, you're talking about your flag, the flag that represents a long, sordid history of racial oppression and violence. There is no unity where there is no justice. When you say that "we are all in this together," what you're saying is that we all have roles to play in the version of society that has served you so well. For your part, you'll be a rich, white man, and for Black people's part, they'll continue to be victims of state-sanctioned murders– but hopefully more quietly, hopefully in a manner that doesn't make you uncomfortable?

When you say, "We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution," what you mean to say is that POC and their allies are at fault. Sure, you probably agree that Derek Chauvin took it a bit too far, and you probably feel a little self-conscious that he's brought all this "Black rights" stuff up again. But when you say "all," you place blame on the victims who are dying under a broken system. And what, exactly, do you expect POC to do differently, Drew? Ahmaud Arbery was just out jogging, and still he died. George Floyd was just trying to pay a cashier, and still he died. POC and their allies try to peacefully protest by marching in the streets or taking a knee at a football game, and still white people condemn and criticize. Still the police shoot.

After much criticism, Brees did attempt an apology on Instagram, where he posted a hilariously corny stock photo of a Black and white hand clasped together. His caption, though possibly well-intentioned, made it even clearer that his understanding of the movement for Black lives is thoroughly lacking.


Highlights of the "apology" include his immediate attempt to exonerate himself from culpability, claiming that his words were misconstrued, saying of his previous statement: "Those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character." Unfortunately, Drew, white people like you are the "enemy," as you put it, because by default you are at the very least part of the problem. No one is accusing you of being an overt racist, Drew; no one thinks you actively and consciously detest Black people. But your lack of empathy, your apathy, and your unwillingness to unlearn your own biases are precisely what has persisted in the hearts and minds of well-meaning white Americans for centuries.

Next, you say, "I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the Black community in this movement." No, Drew. Just no. Black people don't need white people's savior complexes to interfere in their organizing; what they need is for us to shut up and listen. What they need is for us to get our knees off of their necks.

Finally, you say, "I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy." This, Drew, is suspiciously similar to saying, "But I'm one of the good whites!" The fact of the matter is that feeling the need to prove your allyship is not about helping a movement; it's about feeding your own ego. Not only that, but your emphasis on "ALWAYS" does a pretty good job of making it clear that you don't think you have a racist bone in your body and that you have taken great offense at any accusations to the contrary. I have some news for you, Drew: Every white person is racist. Sure, the levels vary, and while you may not be actively and consciously discriminating against POC, you have been brought up in a racist system, and your implicit biases are as strong as any other white person's. Your job now is to unlearn those biases and confront those subtle prejudices in yourself and in other white people. Maybe the first step in doing so is just shutting your f*cking mouth about kneeling at football games. Maybe you should even consider taking a knee yourself.

For other non-BIPOC trying to be better allies, check out one of these 68+ anti-racism resources.

Escaping the daily grind has always been a hassle. Now that we're cooped up at home, I knew I needed a break. Determined to find a safe option that wouldn't involve traveling too far, I asked a couple of my friends for recommendations, and that's when they told me about Getaway. Getaway has what they call "Outposts" all over the country. These clusters of little cabins are located a few hours outside of major cities and are designed to help you switch off and really connect with your partner.

Getaway was created to offer a way to disconnect from the distractions of everyday life by providing cozy cabins that immerse you in nature. This sounded like exactly what I needed, but I was skeptical. I thought the drive to the cabin would be far, I was worried I might get lost in the woods, and I expected that booking an entire cabin would be expensive. To my surprise, I learned that they were only 2 hours away from where I lived and their pricing started at just $89 a night. So, my partner and I decided to give it a try.

I was a bit apprehensive about traveling with everything going on and wanted to make sure that Getaway would still be a safe option for us. I checked their website and read their Journal posts about the situation, plus I emailed their team for reassurance. They eased my concerns by sharing their new cleaning procedures and assured me that we would be at least 50-150 ft away from the next cabin. Plus, there's no check-in desk, so we could go straight to our cabin without interacting with anyone during our stay. It was as simple as driving straight from our home to the cabin!

Ahead of our stay, we received a few emails with information on what to expect, how to pack, and of course the address, cabin name, and lock code for our stay. We even got material about activities we could do in the area, such as hiking.

The scenic drive to the Outpost was so beautiful; we already felt the distance from work and enjoyed having a little breathing room. When we got there, we could see the cabins scattered throughout the trees. Our neighbors were far away and it really seemed like we were by ourselves. Our cabin had a huge window that made us feel like we were really sleeping outside but with all of the comforts of staying indoors. It also had a cell phone lockbox, a private bathroom, hot showers, running water, a two-burner stove, a pot, a pan, playing cards, books, and the most comfortable queen-sized bed and fresh linens. The outdoor picnic area had a table, fire pit, and a grill grate, which is everything we needed for our stay.

My girlfriend and I locked up our phones for the weekend, turned on some music, and started grilling. We spent time enjoying the crisp breeze and relishing the fresh air all around us. We went on a few hikes with incredible views of the mountains and finished our day with a refreshing beer by the campfire.

Thehours flew by as we made s'mores and played games. This was the perfect way for us to spend some quality time together. Thanks to Getaway, we found a way to escape reality for a while and relax, and we'll definitely be coming back to the little cabin nestled beneath the trees.

Plan Your Escape With Getaway! Book One Month In Advance And Take $20 Off Your Spring Adventure With Code SPRING20!

Offer Expires In