Lana Del Rey's leaky ship continues to sail, this time with the premature unveiling of "Black Beauty." Over a warm-sounding keyboard with atmospheric drums and a gauzy guitar, Del Rey evokes Mazzy Star's doomy romanticism, singing, "I paint the house black / My wedding dress black leather, too / You have no room for light / Love is lost on you."
"It's a little more stripped down but still cinematic and dark," she told the BBC in February, saying that a video is already in the works for this song. "For some reason the videos are still the easiest things that come. As soon as I write the words to a song, I can paint exactly what I want the picture to look like. I have a song called 'Black Beauty' and I've already talked to people about making it."
The demo's nuanced production is another step away from the overworked hip-hop bells and whistles that marred her 2012 debut Born to Die. Discounting the gauche Gatsby glamour of "Young and Beautiful," late-period Lana has been smartly restrained. Her covers of O.G. Nancy Sinatra's "Summer Wine" and Leonard Cohen's "Chelsea Hotel No. 2," along with original demo "Queen of Disaster"'s smooth Motown swing, show Del Rey's tastes are maturing.
"Black Beauty" may or may not appear on a rumored sophomore LP, details of which are scarce. But if her new material continues along this same trajectory of growth, Del Rey may have another certifiable hit on her hands.