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Lana Del Rey Debuts Her Masterpiece: “National Anthem” (Video Premiere)

How much do I love thee, Lana Del Rey? Let me count the ways…

The nearly 8-minute Anthony Mandler-directed video for “National Anthem” has arrived…and it’s a masterpiece.

Beginning with a Marilyn Monroe-inspired intro, the video traces the romance between Lovely Lana and A$AP Rocky–turned Jackie O and JFK. But sandwiched in between all the preppy, idyllic imagery is a distinctly hip-hop flair–gold bling, playing craps on the White House floor, even Lana booty dropping!–perfectly representing the cut ‘n’ spliced vintage American nostalgia-meets-modern swagger of Lana Del Rey’s sound, her image, her persona…her everything.

Every single aspect of the video–the gorgeous cinematography, the acting, the styling, the ingenious blend of past and present symbolism–is just brilliant to its core. Additionally (spoiler alert!), the decision to mute the horror of the actual assassination avoids what could have very, very easily been a tacky effort to revisit history. Instead, the clip for “National Anthem” tastefully honors and re-imagines a tragic tale of love–even beyond death.

It’s mesmerizing, devastating, and not only is it Lana’s best work (easily), but it might well be the best video of the year.

I am in awe.

(Be sure to read the transcript of the chill-inducing closing monologue below the video, courtesy of Ben. Just beautiful.)

“It’s a love story for the new age…”

And I remember when I met him, it was so clear that he was the only one for me. We both knew it, right away. And as the years went on, things got more difficult- we were faced with more challenges.

I begged him to stay. Try to remember what we had at the beginning.

He was charismatic, magnetic, electric and everybody knew it. When he walked in every woman’s head turned, everyone stood up to talk to him. He was like this hybrid, this mix of a man who couldn’t contain himself. I always got the sense that he became torn between being a good person and missing out on all of the opportunities that life could offer a man as magnificent as him.

And in that way I understood him and I loved him. I loved him, I loved him, I loved him.

And I still love him. I love him.