BBC TV’s music mainstay Later… With Jools Holland put it down for fans of downcast pop outliers in its most recent episode. Shadowy PBR&B man the Weeknd performed on Tuesday night’s show, and so did the ghost of Jacqueline Onassis, albeit whilst possessing the purse-lipped form of Lana Del Rey.
Abel Tesfaye can be seen above, backed by the most minimal-yet-sizable television band since Bon Iver did Saturday Night Live. He pulled out a censored rendition of “Wicked Games” for his captivating appearance, and seemed to hold the crowd rapt while punctuating the Trilogy cut’s longing sadness with emphatic hand gestures. Around the three-minute mark, the drums start to pound (ever so slightly) and two female backing singers pick up his call: “I need confidence in myself.” He might start by wearing brighter colors.
And below, we have Miss Del Rey performing her ode to motorcycle riding and wistful patriotism, “Ride.” Thanks to a live string quartet and grand piano, the clip highlights the Paradise EP opener’s orchestral leanings, and Lana does her part to enhance the epic-ness with lots of longing looks into the camera interspersed with downward glances at her shuffling shoes. She runs into a little microphone feedback at the beginning, and misses the high notes. It’s not the train wreck that was her mottled trip to SNL, but nerves are clearly still an issue for the singer.