Seasoned Lana Del Rey followers remember her cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel No. 2.” It was one of those covers that seemed like it should’ve existed much earlier than we heard it, a perfect match of the old and the new as her treacly, husky voice embodied Cohen’s tale of an intimate encounter in the famed Manhattan residence that once housed Cohen, Patti Smith, William S. Burroughs and more of the most romanticized poets of a bygone era Del Rey borrows from repeatedly.
Her single “Mariners Apartment Complex” feels like a spiritual sequel to Cohen’s classic. Oppressed by figures of beauty in the same way as Cohen and his song’s subject (Janis Joplin, as it was revealed years after the song’s release), Del Rey finds herself recounting a disheartening conversation with a lover. In an interview with BBC Radio 1, she detailed that the man she had been seeing spoke with her outside of his friends’ apartment complex assumed they got along because they were sad in similar ways. In the ways Cohen is looking to find that connecting sadness with his lover, Del Rey has chosen to disparage such a notion.
“I fucked up. I know that. But, Jesus/Can’t a girl just do the best she can?” she delivers with almost sullen confidence on the song’s second verse. Negating her earliest works, growing out of her previous attitudes and forsaking the image of the Good American Girl looking for a figure to make her feel wanted, desired and cool, this Del Rey has “become the daddy,” as a viral tweet stated. She’s your man, and that heart is a legend.
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