Its not every song, but there are a handful of Lana Del Ray’s songs that kick my ass. “Happiness is a Butterfly” is one of those songs.
The post-Valley girl/Cali-speak/whatever we can call this when we’re looking at the lyrics, would normally drive me away… but here, it just works. The joy, the pain, the tentative resolution she finds – it’s perfect.
Happiness is a butterfly
Try to catch it, like, every night
It escapes from my hands into moonlight
Part of her talent is in the contrasts she makes. On one hand there’s the musical and instrumentation choices, on the other it’s within the lyrics: Life and death, serial killers and their prey vs. forlorn lovers. Her songs have stakes and they are high.
If he’s a serial killer, then what’s the worst
That can happen to a girl who’s already hurt?
I’m already hurt
If he’s as bad as they say, then I guess I’m cursed
Looking into his eyes, I think he’s already hurt
He’s already hurt
And when it’s not the music or the lyrics, it’s her pauses that say everything.
Baby, I just wanna dance
When Lana Del Ray gets it right, she kills it.