"Mariners Apartment Complex" (stylized in sentence case) is a song written by Lana Del Rey, produced by Jack Antonoff and engineered by Laura Sisk. It is the lead and first single from her sixth studio album Norman Fucking Rockwell!.
Background and writing
On September 7, 2018, Del Rey announced on her Instagram and Twitter profiles that she was going to release two new songs - "Mariners Apartment Complex" and "Venice Bitch" - to close out the summer.
The song premiered on September 12, 2018 on BBC Radio 1's "Future Sounds with Annie Mac" show and the music video was released shortly afterwards. During the radio interview, Del Rey gave details on the song's meaning. On how the main focus of the song came about, Del Rey explained:
- "Well, this song is kind of about this time that I took a walk late at night with the guy I was seeing. We stopped in front of his friend's apartment complex, and he put his hand on my shoulder and he said: "You know, I think we're together because we're both similar, like, we're both really messed up." And I thought that was the saddest thing I ever heard. I said "I'm not sad, I didn't know that that's what you thought you were relating to me on that level", and I said to him, "You know, I'm actually doing pretty good" He was upset and that was when I wrote this song, 'cause I thought I've had to do this so many times where I had to step into that role where I was showing the way and I was sort of being, like, the brighter light."
She went on to say how she was pleasantly surprised that she was able to premier the song via radio - originally she expected the song would have a smaller release, saying:
- "I sort of thought I would just put it out and it would be one of those things that I felt good about just to have out there for myself, but it's cool to be able to share it with people too."
In 2019, the song was deconstructed and discussed in an episode of Mix with the Masters by Jack Antonoff. He elaborated on his creative process and walked the viewer through his production techniques, showcasing various stems from the final and early demo versions of the song. Antonoff also deconstructed "The greatest".
"Mariners Apartment Complex" is a soft rock ballad with surf influences with running at an approximate 76 beats per minute in E major for 4 minutes and 6 seconds.
Lyrically, it sees Del Rey refuting her image as a tragic, weak figure and instead encouraging her partner to see her as a faithful, complicated and dependable companion and to be more grateful for the beauty in the world around them.
The instrumentation is relatively stripped back, featuring organic and laid back drum beats, accentuated by electric guitar, strings and piano. The track opens with a piano and guitar before being joined by the strings, it closes with heavy delay on Del Rey's vocals wherein she reprises the first few lines of the second verse before concluding the track with the question "Are you ready for it?"
Del Rey performed the song live for the very first time on March 22, 2019, at the BUKU Music + Art Project festival in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was also a part of the tracklist for the Norman Fucking Rockwell tour.
|Released||September 12, 2018|
|Location||Los Angeles, California|
|Vevo views||25+ Million views|
Along with the announcement of the track, a snippet of its music video was shared by Del Rey. It stars backup dancers Ashley Rodriguez and Alexandria Kaye, and was shot and directed by Chuck Grant. The video was released simultaneously with the track and shows Del Rey and her two female co-stars playing with butterflies while shots of the surf crashing onto rocks are interpolated throughout.
On January 11, 2019, Del Rey posted a snippet of the music video for "Happiness Is a Butterfly" on Instagram, and it revealed that clips from that video were featured in the "Mariners Apartment Complex" and "Venice Bitch" music video.
Behind the scenes
- The "I ain't no candle in the wind" lyric is similar to "I'm no longer a candle in the wind" in "Yosemite" and "I'm no candle in the wind" in "Tulsa Jesus Freak", the three of them are a direct reference to the Elton John 1973 song "Candle in the Wind".
- Direct reference to "Resistance" and "Venice Bitch".
- Similar themes of being the "brighter light in the relationship" in "Black Beauty".
- Lightning is also mentioned in "Happiness Is a Butterfly", "Carmen", "Blue Banisters" and "White Mustang".
- Thunder is also mentioned in the song of the same name and "Caught You Boy".
- An apartment complex is also mentioned in the poem "SportCruiser".
- Beaches is a recurrent theme, prominent in songs like "High By The Beach", "13 Beaches", "Summer Bummer" and in poems such as "Salamander", "Happy" and "Paradise Is Very Fragile" among others.
- Jesus is mentioned in directly mentioned in "I Talk to Jesus", "Tulsa Jesus Freak", "Body Electric", "Diet Mountain Dew", "Move", "Cherry Blossom" and many others.
- The sea is also mentioned in "Get Free", "Queen of Disaster" and "Yes to Heaven".
- Both darkness and deepness, but in different variation, are also mentioned in "The Blackest Day".
- Album version — 4:07
- Instrumental version — 4:06
- Single version — 4:06
- Lana Del Rey — songwriting, production, vocals
- Jack Antonoff — songwriting, production, piano, drums, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, synthesizer, programming
- Laura Sisk — engineering, programming
- Jon Sher — recording
- Serban Ghenea — mixing
- John Hanes — mix engineering
- Chris Gehringer — mastering
- Will Quinnell — mastering
- Mastered at Sterling Sound
- Recorded at Conway Recording Studios, Los Angeles, United States
- Mixed at MixStar Studios, Virginia Beach, United States
- Lana Del Rey on Instagram: "Two end of summer jams for ya out next week/The first is called/Mariners Apartment Complex"
- Lana Del Rey on Instagram: "Mariners Apartment Complex @jackantonoff @yourgirlchuck"
- Lana Del Rey (@lanadelrey). "Norman Fucking Rockwell @yourgirlchuck @follow_ashley @missalexkaye". (January 11, 2019). Instagram. [Access date: January 11, 2019]