Lana Del Rey – “Pretty When You Cry” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

Lana Del Rey’s “Pretty When You Cry” is a haunting exploration of a flawed relationship. The song delves into the emotional complexities of love and longing, specifically in a relationship that seems to be based more on the idea of love rather than its actuality. The singer struggles with inadequacy and waits for a love that never fully materializes. But she finds a twisted sort of empowerment in her vulnerability: “I’m pretty when I cry.” Essentially, the song speaks about a romantic entanglement where the highs are high but the lows are very low, examining the paradoxes of love and emotional dependence.

Hungry for an insightful journey through the twists and turns of a complicated love story? Stick around, because we’re digging into why Lana Del Rey believes she’s “pretty when she cries.”

“Pretty When You Cry” Lyrics Meaning

“Pretty When You Cry” is rich with the kind of lyrical depth you’d expect from Lana Del Rey. The opening lines, “All the pretty stars shine for you, my love. Am I the girl that you dream of?” set the stage. They evoke a dreamlike, almost ethereal love that feels too good to be real. And guess what; it is. The dream crumbles pretty quickly.

Del Rey captures the essence of an unstable relationship: “You make me feel like your whole world, I’ll wait for you, babe, that’s all I do, babe.” She’s stuck in a cycle, waiting for someone who “never comes through.”

The chorus is the crux of the song, and it’s also where the title comes in: “Because I’m pretty when I cry.” Del Rey is acknowledging her own vulnerability and the aestheticization of her pain. It’s like she’s saying, ‘Even at my lowest, I still hold power and allure.’ There’s a bittersweet empowerment in acknowledging her own emotional depths.

Now, let’s talk about the drugs. “They don’t mean shit compared to all your drugs,” she sings. Here she contrasts memories and emotional investment with the ephemeral highs her lover seeks elsewhere. Her love can’t compete with the addictive substances that capture his attention.

Towards the end, Del Rey asserts, “I’m stronger than all my men. Except for you.” It’s a candid admission. She’s strong, but he’s her weakness, a toxic love she can’t quite escape from.

The Story Behind “Pretty When You Cry”

Lana Del Rey is no stranger to creating songs that feel like mini-movies, layered with complex emotions and scenarios. When she wrote “Pretty When You Cry,” she was in a space where she was examining the complexities and paradoxes of love. It’s a song that captures the ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ aspect of certain relationships.

For Lana, the song reflects the emotional rollercoasters that can manifest in love affairs. It’s not just about someone making you feel on top of the world but also plummeting you into despair. At the time she wrote this song, she was wrestling with the idea of idealized love versus the harsh realities that often accompany intense relationships.

She plays with the concept of vulnerability, capturing a certain brutal honesty that is both confessional and observational. Her message isn’t just personal; it’s universal. The sentiment is relatable to anyone who has found themselves entangled in a beautiful and destructive love.

In a sense, “Pretty When You Cry” serves as a cautionary tale as much as it does an anthem for the vulnerable. It raises questions about what we’re willing to endure for love and how those experiences shape our understanding of what love actually is. This song epitomizes Lana Del Rey’s ability to give voice to the haunting, often unspeakable dimensions of love and desire.