The queen of bluesy pop, Lana Del Rey (real name Elizabeth Woolridge Grant), has done it again. She just dropped the second song off her upcoming album "Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd."
Dubbed "A&W" and produced alongside Jack Antonoff, this seven-minute song has nothing to do with root beer.
So, what does "A&W" mean? We've unpacked the lyrics below. Keep reading for all the details.
What does 'A&W' mean?
“A&W” stands for “American Wh-re,” which is a title Lana gives herself in the song.
The lyrics start off reflecting her childhood, as well as how she has changed as an adult. She sings: "I haven’t done a cartwheel since I was nine. I haven’t seen my mother in a long, long time. I mean, look at me, look at the length of my hair, my face, the shape of my body. Do you really think I give a damn what I do after years of just hearing them talking?"
It's clear that Lana has a strained relationship with her family.
Then, in the pre-chorus, Lana tells us that she has been living in a Ramada hotel in Rosemead, Calif.
And finally, we get to the chorus where she defines "A&W" for us. "Call him up, come into my bedroom. Ended up we f--k on the hotel floor. It’s not about having someone to love me anymore. This is the experience of being an American wh-re."
According to Merriam-Webster, a whore is a person who engages in sexual intercourse for pay. It can also mean a promiscuous or immoral woman. In "A&W," Lana is inferring that she's inviting men to her hotel room to have meaningless sex.
In the next verse, she nods to the 2015 movie The Diary of a Teenage Girl, which is a film about a 15 year old who begins an affair with her mother’s boyfriend. She questions whether she is like the main character of the movie.
"Watching Teenage Diary of a Girl. Wondering what went wrong I'm a princess, I’m divisive. Ask me why I’m like this. Maybe I’m just kinda like this don’t know. Maybe I’m just like this."
In the third verse, Lana tells us that she has been sexually assaulted and reveals the devastating reason why she never came forward. The lyrics read: "I mean, look at my hair. Look at the length of it there and the shape of my body. If I told you that I was raped, do you really think that anybody would think I didn’t ask for it, didn’t ask for it? Didn’t testify, already f--ked up my story."
In another degrading line about herself, Lana says: "Did you know a singer can still be lookin' like a side piece at thirty-three?"
It's clear that Lana doesn't like who she has become and feels she has no power. "I’m invisible, look how you hold me I'm invisible, I’m invisible I'm a ghost now, look how you hold me now," read the lines of the last verse.
Is 'A&W' two different songs?
About four minutes and three seconds into "A&W," the tempo changes, and Lana goes into the second part of the song titled, "Jimmy." Through her lyrics, she tells another story about a past lover who was addicted to drugs. She uses language from the 1959 song “Shimmy Shimmy Ko-Ko Bop” by Little Anthony & The Imperials to help tell this story. It is possible that Lana included this bit in the song to give a peak into her past and reveal the relationship that led her to her current lifestyle.