I was taken with the song Video Games by Lana Del Rey the very first time it graced my ears. I was living in midtown Minneapolis and had a housemate and friend named Jerred who was a bit of a mess. He was always unemployed, his bedroom looked like the remnants of a hurricane, and he nearly burnt the house down everytime he tried to cook. We were renting from and living with a mutual friend, and every month when the rent was due, unable to pay, Jerred would disappear to the shelter of one of his girlfriends.
That was the thing with Jerred, he had beautiful girlfriends. Most of which were, young and stylish with enough mommy instinct to want to take care of him. On one particular humid summer evening, he asked me if I wanted to come meet him and his new girlfriend for beers at Leaning Tower of Pizza in uptown. Always curious to meet the next woman in Jerred’s life, I obliged.
I arrived at the same time they did and found Jerred standing outside smoking cigarettes with a tall redhead in a skin tight silver dress named Alysa. We sat at the bar and chatted while eating pizza and drinking beers. At one point in the conversation Alysa asked me, “have you ever heard Lana Del Rey?.” I had not. “She is my favorite artist,” she said . She put her earbuds in my ears and I was blown away by the smoky female voice, lush orchestration and visceral lyric. “Wow, I can see why.” I said.
A few days later I was pulling up to Pizza Luce’ in the Seward neighborhood when I heard the song again playing on the radio in my car. Although I was ravenously hungry for a slice, I had to sit in the car and listen until the song was finished. I was even more affected than the first time. As soon as I got home I looked up the song online and began figuring out the chords on the guitar and writing down the lyrics.
A few weeks later I was playing a set at The 331 Club in northeast. It was just me and my acoustic guitar. The front tables were mostly filled with my male musician friends, including Jerred who plays and sings with Elliott Smith-like timbre. All of the ladies were sitting in the back booths chattering away and paying me little mind. I was thinking to myself, ‘how do I get these women to engage with the music?’ The answer was simple. Video Games! I began playing the song and saw some heads in the back of the room turn toward the stage. By the time I finished there were five woman standing up by the stage. The song ended to a warm applause and I have been playing it ever since.
artist: Ian Alexy
song: Video Games
producer: Dylan Nau
recorded by Dylan Nau and Christopher Blood
writers: Lana Del Rey, Justin Parker