"God Bless America - and All the Beautiful Women in It" (also known simply as "God Bless America") is a song by Lana Del Rey. It was co-written with Rick Nowels and co-produced with Nowels, Kieron Menzies, Dean Reid and Metro Boomin. It is featured on her fifth studio album and fourth major-label studio album, Lust for Life.
Background and writing[edit | edit source]
Del Rey first talked about the song during an interview with Elle magazine UK during 2017. She stated that she wrote the song before the Women's Marches that took place in January 2017, but she mentioned that the track was in relation to the current political scene in the USA at the time: "I wrote God Bless America [a track on the album] before the Women's Marches, but I could tell they were going to happen… I realised a lot of women were nervous about some of the bills that might get passed that would directly affect them. So yes, it’s a direct response in anticipation of what I thought would happen, and what did happen."
During an interview with Flaunt magazine, Del Rey revealed that she wanted to release it as a single but her manager, Ben Mawson was reluctant about this. Moreover, she states that the song has a strong message and some "New York feel":
She describes the song, of which Mawson shared earlier his reluctance to release as a single, given the tendency of Del Rey to net the mentioned public polarization, "It has some strong messaging," she says nodding. "Some iconography, with Lady Liberty, fire escapes and the streets, and I do get a little New York feel when I listen back to it." I tell her the song feels grandiose in production, anthemic in verse… very New York in fact, a sparkling pile of empire and accomplishment. And while New York (and its banks) have churned out the free world leader and a boys club not so concerned about everyone therein being blessed, moreover the "beautiful women in it"—reminding us that grandiosity has its pitfalls—"God Bless America" could easily ascend the ladder as a 2017 rally cry. I ask her if she feels the appropriative nature of the song title may stir any pots of sorts. "Well, it’s the God word," she says measuredly. "But the phrase has wider meaning. It’s more of a sentiment. When I wrote it I didn’t feel like it was confined to a traditional portrait of the Lord, as some sects might see it. It was more like, 'fucking God bless us all and let’s hope we make it through this." She further explains the genesis, "When all the Women’s Marches were happening, I had already written this song, because I had been hearing a lot of things online. And I have a sister, and a lot of girlfriends, who had a lot of concerns about things that were being said in the media by some of our leaders. And I saw an instant reaction from women, and I was like, 'Wow. There is no confusing how women are feeling about the state of the nation.' And so without really trying to, I felt compelled to just write a song and say we are all concerned. And it really made me think about my relationship with women. And I felt proud of myself, because I do love the women in my life. And I take care of them, and I ask them what they think about music, and guys, and problems, and I thought it was so cool that I’m really right there in the same boat with them".
Live performances[edit | edit source]
Del Rey performed the song live for the first time at her Lust for Life listening party and performance hosted by Spotify at No Vacancy in Los Angeles, California, on July 20, 2017. On January 21, 2018, Del Rey performed an a cappella version of the song in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as a part of the LA to the Moon Tour.
Cross-references[edit | edit source]
- The phrase "God bless America" was at one point considered to be a potential title for Del Rey's first major-label studio album, now known as Born to Die. It is also referenced in "Ben" and "Wild One".
- Lady Liberty is also mentioned in "Axl Rose Husband", and seen in the Lust for Life album trailer.
- Subtle reference to the song "Get Free".
- "Beautiful people" is a phrase also found in the song "Beautiful People Beautiful Problems".
- The phrase "God bless" is also found in "Mermaid Motel".
- Del Rey pleas someone to save her in "Off to the Races" and "Daddy Issues".
- America is thematically referenced in "When the World Was at War We Kept Dancing", "American" and the "Ride" music video monologue. Americana imagery is present throughout much of Del Rey's work, however, her previous work reflects on it in a nostalgic, idyllic way. This song in particular seems to refer to Del Rey's love and pride for the progressive community of America.
Official versions[edit | edit source]
- Album version — 4:36
- Instrumental version — 4:42