Lana Del Rey: Off to the Races Meaning
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Song Released: 2011
Off to the Races Lyrics
But I can't deny the way he holds my hand
And he grabs me, he has me by my heart
He doesn't mind I have a Las Vegas past
He doesn't mind I have a L.A crass way about me
He loves with every beat of his cocaine...
I think the song is in the point of view of "Lolita", a character from the popular book published in the 1950s. The lines "light of my life, fire of my loins," which are the opening lines of the book. She says "I'm your little harlot, scarlet" which implies that she's this man's sexual partner. She says she "needs you, breathes you" which implies she's been brainwashed by this man. Lolita was brainwashed at a young age that having sex with an older man was ok. She says her old man is a bad man, but she still loves him. I believe she's talking about Lolita also because of the young girl voice she impersonates and Lolita was quite young.
anonymous Jun 10th, 2013 6:12am report
She has even said this song is about the book Lolita.
anonymous Aug 13th, 2013 8:33pm report
I believe this song might have been inspired by the book "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov. Which is about a man who is the stepfather of a young girl named Lolita. In the song it says "my old man" which could be referring to the stepfather. I immediately made this connection in the beginning of the song when a chorus of young girls is in the background. In the song it seems to say that he is obsessed with her. Which indeed does happen in the book. The stepfather is obsessed with Lolita because she reminds him of Annabel, the young from his childhood whom he claims he loved but died at an early age. Im not saying the song is necessarily about the book but it might have been inspired by it, since there are a lot of similarities.
anonymous May 4th, 2020 5:06pm report
it always reminds me of the joker and harley relation. from the harley quinn perspective. It talks about he knows her past and it talks about how he is a theif but she loves him, and that she cant live without him. also their is a mention of she serving at the rikers island and now he will come to save her, like joker comes to save harley quinn, also that he knows all about her tar black soul also the whole town chases harley quinn, if you have seen birds of prey youll know. its what i think this sing most relates to but perspectives can be different. so its open to your imagination but well think about it once, and tell me if you disagree.
anonymous Nov 24th, 2019 11:38pm report
Off to the races is about the novel Lolita. Lana Del Rey has even said it herself
"Cipriani's basement" Is a metaphor to Clair Quilty's basement, a man who "saves" Lolita from Humbert Humbert but in reality Lolita herself said Quilty wanted to shoot pornographic movies with her.
"Love you but I'm going down" Is Lolita saying how she loves Humbert buy feels miserable and Trapped.
"Light of my life, fire of my loins" Is even from the fucking novel.
It isn't about drugs, alcohol abuse. It's about fucking Lolita.
"Kiss me on my open mouth" Is when Lolita kissed Humbert in the movie
"Singing in the garden" Is when Humbert met fucking Lolita in the garden.
anonymous Feb 16th, 2019 2:11pm report
This song is inspired by Lolita, but its more than that. Its a story about a girl getting caught up in a high class prostitution ring. The man with the tarblack soul is her lover and a fatherfigure but ultimatly her pimp.
Off to the races is a slang for getting johns at exclusive clubs.
anonymous Aug 27th, 2018 8:06pm report
I prefer to view this as a satirical view of the relationship between Mario and Princess Peach.
anonymous Jun 25th, 2018 6:07pm report
I’m so simple to think that she is a young and beautiful girl who is prostitute/stripper and drugs/alcohol addicted. She met this old man who has a lot of money from illegal activities(drug, guns) and he gets to pay all her time with luxuries activities, that’s why she loves him. Sometimes she gets so wasted with her friend she got lost in her city NYC because she references being queen of Coney Island, they do a lot of parties and being wasted in Cipriani’s basement and even gets into trouble and gets incarcerated in Rikers (Facing time again at Riker's Island And I won't get out) but this guy with a lot of money always gets to take her out and even takes her to Las Vegas to get money and more wasted......
Unless Lana is so deep and this is really about Lolita and whenever she refers to get wasted it’s because she is wasting her youth with this man and “facing time in Rikers” is about her prison with this old man who will never let her go .........now I’m confused
anonymous Mar 6th, 2018 3:12am report
A theory that I really like is that she’s involved in drugs and she’s been caught on the wrong side of the law so she runs to this older crime lord who gives her protection in exchange for sexual favours. Like, she’s aware she’s being manipulated and exploited but she’s also exploiting him to gain her freedom.
The interpretations about the alcohol, incest, and her and an older man having an affair as in he buys things for her body in exchange makes sense. They all make sense so that's why I'm having trouble interpreting this. But "off to the races" could mean that she is with an older man doing illegal car/motorcycle races. A lot of the lyrics make sense in this scenario but who knows. There's many logical reasons to this song.
anonymous Aug 27th, 2013 8:38pm report
I think the song is talking about her dad that had a lot of money and he seems like a good man to others but he does have secrets I believe he did drugs and he forgets himself and rapes her. but she loves her dad and she hates him at the same time. she know its the drugs but after awhile she got used to it and got brainwashed into it being a normal thing. but she hates him because deep down she knows this isn't how love suppose to be. but at the end she believes him.
I think she says its about the book because she doesn't want people to truly know lol :)
anonymous Aug 8th, 2013 8:47am report
I too believe that this song is about alcohol addiction.
'My old man is a bad man but I can't deny the way he holds my hand'
So she knows it's bad but can't deny how it has supposedly helped her.
'Chasen' me all over town cause he knows I'm wasted'
So basically when she gets drunk she's consumes more alcohol.
'I need you to come here [jail?] and save me'
And she wants alcohol to 'save' her from sobriety
'Im not afraid to die without him'
'You are my one true love'
Again, referring to her need and love of alcohol
There's a bunch of other references to it
anonymous Jul 19th, 2013 7:28pm report
I think it is about her being addicted to alcohal .. but I'm honestly not sure so if someone could figure out the real meaning id be glad to hear it ha.
anonymous May 27th, 2013 5:43pm report
Yeah, most of you are wrong. It's a metaphor about her addiction to alcohol. Her "old man" is alcohol. She's describing how its a bad relationship but he loves her no matter what. And in every description of "him" there's some reference to alcohol. He watches her in the swimming pool with black crystal, she's always on "Bacardi chases" running all over town trying to get more wasted. And alcohol loves her even more when "he knows I'm wasted". He loves that she has a flat broke down life because then she goes running to him. The line "kiss me on my open mouth" is referring to her drinking-- hence, her open mouth.
anonymous Mar 27th, 2013 3:43pm report
The song does have uncanny resemblances to the book 'Lolita'.
'My old man' - usually a term given to a father figure, however in this song, she calls her love interest by this name.
'Chasing me all over town' - does this not seem appropriate for when Lolita disappears from the hospital, and therefore Humbert travels all over town to try and find her.
Also, the high pitched, almost child like singing voice of the chorus reflects Lolita, who was a child herself.
Well, I love the song. It's in my top 3 list of the best LANA DEL REY songs.
anonymous Jan 23rd, 2013 1:39am report
My interpretation of it is, she's a twisted young woman who is falling for her pedophile.. "likes to watch me in the bathroom, glassroom...says it feels like heaven to him.."
"Chasin me all over town, cuz he knows I'm wasted..." Etc.
In other words he follows her to see her drunk and do stuff...but she obviously enjoys it...
anonymous Jan 6th, 2013 1:57pm report
I think this bit:
'Now I'm off to the races, laces
Leather on my waist is,
Tight and I am falling down
I can see your faces, shameless
Love you, but I'm going down
God I'm so crazy, baby
I'm sorry that I'm misbehaving
I'm your little harlet, starlet
Queen of Coney Island
Raising hell all over town
I'm sorry 'bout it'
means that he might hurt/kill her eventually because she's 'raising hell all over town' and 'misbehaving' and she's trying to reassure him that she's still what he wants and that she's sorry
anonymous Dec 9th, 2012 12:22pm report
Am I the only one who thought this was about incest?
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