Lana Del Rey drapes a few pieces of jewelry across her neck in the 10-minute-long music video for “Candy Necklace,” but none of them are made out of chalky, compressed sugars. They’re strings of pearls and high-quality silvers encrusted with diamonds and gemstones — the dressings of a true Hollywood starlet.
Over the course of the visual, directed by Rich Lee, Del Rey undergoes transformations into leading ladies like Marilyn Monroe and others who never made it to the big screen, including Elizabeth Short, otherwise known as the Black Dahlia. She switches out blonde wigs for brunette ones and high up-dos for bouncing curls. All the while, with Jon Batiste on piano, the singer falls into step in front of the camera and takes control behind it.
“The whole thing about the video — why it was all supposed to be behind the scenes — was because all these women who changed their names and changed their hair, like me,” Del Rey explains at one point in the video, addressing the crew working to bring her written vision to life. “It’s like they all fell into these different snake holes. So the whole point is like, how do you learn from that and not fall into your own thing?”
The footage being captured of Del Rey in character plays a secondary role to the behind-the-scenes clips that make up the majority of the video. The singer spends more time in hair and makeup than she does being filmed behind a microphone or next to Batiste at his grand piano.
Toward the end of the visual, it cuts away from her entirely. Instead, the screen captures diamonds and rubies falling and splashing into a deep red liquid, too thin to be blood but carrying a weighted symbolism all the same. In the next shot, a bloodied garment hangs out of an open car door, possibly a nod to Short’s brutal murder in 1947.
When Del Rey returns to the screen, she’s on the ground pressing her hands into the ground to be photographed as she receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The black and white video fills with color, and the singer returns to reality.
“Candy Necklace” appears on her latest studio album, Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd, released in March.
“The one thing I’ve never been spared from is having these normal, somewhat contentious relationships. It’s not like if you become a singer, when you date people, they feel like they have to be nice to you because if they’re not, maybe they’d be called out. That never happens. They’re still themselves completely,” Del Rey told Rolling Stone UK earlier this year. “And I think that’s why some people might call some of my stuff polarising, because either you’ve been in a contentious family dynamic or interpersonal relationships, or you haven’t.”
She added: “So, if you haven’t you might use the words or phrases I’ve heard like ‘feigning fragility,’ or ‘glorifying being submissive.’ OK. Maybe it’s also just trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel? You’re writing what happened but you’re also trying to lift it up a little bit, maybe melodically in the chorus.”