National Anthem (Lana Del Rey song)

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"National Anthem"
NationalAnthem Artwork.png
Single by Lana Del Rey
from the album Born to Die
Released July 6, 2012 (2012-07-06)
Length 3:51
Lana Del Rey singles chronology
"Summertime Sadness"
"National Anthem"
"Blue Velvet"

"Summertime Sadness"
"National Anthem"
"Blue Velvet"
Music video
"National Anthem" on YouTube

"National Anthem" is a song recorded by American singer and songwriter Lana Del Rey for her debut studio album, Born to Die (2012). It was released as a single on July 6, 2012, through Interscope Records. The song serves as the album's fifth single. The music video for the song premiered on June 27, 2012. It is directed by Anthony Mandler. It depicts Del Rey as Marilyn Monroe and Jacqueline Kennedy and ASAP Rocky as John F. Kennedy.[1] It portrays the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Critical commentary accompanied the song and video. Positive reviews noted the song's critical evaluation of lavish lifestyles, saying it fit together with the lyrical structure of the entire album.


In the chorus, Del Rey sings, "Tell me I’m your national anthem/ Red! White! Blue's in the sky! Summer's in the air, baby heaven's in your eyes"[2] At the close of the recording is a multi-layered narrative treatment.[2] The introduction features the classic rendition "Happy Birthday Mr. President" as performed by Marilyn Monroe.[2] Unlike the other songs on Born to Die, Del Rey employs an alternative rapping technique, hip hop beat and heavy basslines, similar to that of "Off to the Races"[3] and "Diet Mountain Dew".[4] Pitchfork Media said the rapping technique was almost "chatting".[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Vocally, NME observed that Del Rey sings like a "perfect mannequin" on "National Anthem", criticizing the track for baldly revisiting the beat-driven chorus of "Born to Die". Further, NME praised certain elements of the track, saying: "As she sings of a relationship of a well-heeled man and a blank canvas woman, she invokes not only the dreamland of the monied classes (The Hamptons) and their could-be motto 'Money is the anthem of success' but also invokes the spectre of Vietnam with a reference to 'The Queen Of Saigon'."[2] Digital Spy called the running theme of Born to Die, "demonic Stepford moll", which "National Anthem" fit into.[6] The track was praised for having a: "laconic, anaesthetised vocal that conjures up images of her swigging from a bottle of Hendricks. There's a deep sadness underneath the sweeping string section and gangster hip-hop beats, but it's the chorus's fleeting glimpse of euphoria that'll keep you coming back."[6]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "National Anthem" was directed by Anthony Mandler in May 2012.[7] It premiered on June 27, 2012.[8] Mandler stated the concept was Del Rey's and that she was "really interested in exploring this loss of innocence, this idea that what you think you're experiencing is maybe not what it's always going to be. Because when you say 'Kennedy,' that immediately evokes something, just like when I say 'It's a Romeo and Juliet story.' So I think using that power, that pedigree of the story is a really fascinating place to show the loss of something, the breakdown of something."[1]

It begins with Del Rey as Marilyn Monroe in a re-enactment of Monroe's 1962 performance of "Happy Birthday, Mr. President". The rest of the video depicts Del Rey as Jacqueline Kennedy and African American ASAP Rocky as John F. Kennedy in re-enactments of home videos.[9] The video ends with a re-enactment of the infamous Zapruder film showing Kennedy's assassination and Del Rey reading a monologue as Onassis concerning her and Kennedy's interracial relationship.

Mandler described the video as being seen "through [Onassis'] eyes, seeing this kind of castle crumble in the moment, and that shot where she's coming up out of the car, and the pain in her eyes, that destruction, it's like the whole castle is crumbling around her."[1] Del Rey cited the video as "definitely the most beautiful thing" she's ever done.[10] Del Rey wrote the treatment for herself and ASAP Rocky saying "he'd be really perfect to star in it."[10]

In January 2015, Billboard named the video as one of the 20 best music videos of the 2010s (so far).[11]

Track listing[edit]

Digital EP[12]
  1. "National Anthem" – 3:50
  2. "National Anthem" (Fred Falke Remix Edit) – 3:46
  3. "National Anthem" (Tensnake Remix) – 3:43
  4. "National Anthem" (Afterlife Remix) – 3:48
Picture Vinyl[13]
  1. "National Anthem" – 3:50
  2. "National Anthem" (Breton Labs Remix) – 5:23

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Born to Die liner notes.[14]


Chart (2012) Peak
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[15] 40
France (SNEP)[16] 152
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[17] 92
US Rock Songs (Billboard)[18] 37


Year Awards ceremony Award Results Ref
2012 UK Music Video Awards Best Pop Video - International Nominated
Best Styling In A Video Nominated

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
Ireland[20] July 6, 2012 Digital download – EP Universal
United Kingdom[21] Polydor
United Kingdom[22] July 9, 2012 Limited edition 7" picture disc


  1. ^ a b c Montgomery, James. "Exclusive: Lana Del Rey's 'National Anthem' Director Tells All". MTV. Retrieved June 27, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d Elan, Priya. "Lana Del Rey - 'National Anthem'". NME. IPC Media. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  3. ^ Nellis, Krystina (30 January 2012). "Lana Del Rey Born to Die Review". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 3 March 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Zoladz, Lindsay (30 January 2012). "Lana Del Rey - Born to Die - Review". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  5. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (January 27, 2012). "Lana Del Rey: Born to Die". Slant Magazine. Retrieved January 27, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Copsey, Robert. "Lana Del Rey: 'National Anthem' - Single review". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  7. ^ "Lana Del Rey Channels Jackie O In New 'National Anthem' Still". MTV. June 26, 2012. Retrieved June 26, 2012. 
  8. ^ Montgomery, James. "Lana Del Rey, A$AP Rocky 'National Anthem' Video: Rewriting History". MTV. Retrieved June 27, 2012. 
  9. ^ Martin, Dan (June 21, 2012). "Lana del Rey and A$AP Rocky to portray Jackie and JFK". London: Guardian UK. Retrieved June 26, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Makarechi, Kia (June 27, 2012). "Lana Del Rey 'National Anthem' Video: Singer Is The Jackie O To A$AP Rocky's JFK". The Huffington Post. AOL. Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
  11. ^ "The 20 Best Music Videos of the 2010s (So Far)". Retrieved January 15, 2015. 
  12. ^ "National Anthem: Lana Del Rey". Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Nation Anthem (Vinyl): Lana Del Rey". Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
  14. ^ Del Rey, Lana (2012). Born to Die. Interscope Records. 
  15. ^ " – Lana Del Rey – National Anthem" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  16. ^ " – Lana Del Rey – National Anthem" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  17. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  18. ^ "Lana Del Rey - Chart History - Rock Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 24, 2012. 
  19. ^ 2012 UK MVA Nominations Archived 2016-01-16 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved October 8, 2012
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ "National Anthem: VINYL". Retrieved February 8, 2015. 

External links[edit]