Off to the Races (song)

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Lana Del Rey
Writer(s) Lana Del Rey
Tim Larcombe
Producer(s) Patrik Berger
Emile Haynie
Alternate producer(s) Shawn Lee
Released December 20, 2011
Length 4:49
(See official versions)
From Btdogo
Single(s) "Video Games"
"Born to Die"
"Blue Jeans"
"Summertime Sadness"
"National Anthem"
"Dark Paradise"
Promotional single(s) "Off to the Races"
Born to Die track listing
"Blue Jeans"

"Off to the Races" is a song written by Lana Del Rey and Tim Larcombe and produced by Patrick Berger and Emile Haynie. Taken from Del Rey's first major-label album Born to Die, the song served as the album's first promotional single worldwide.

Writing Edit

In a 2012 interview Del Rey described "Off to the Races" as song where you could tell by the energy of the song that she was right in the middle of a relationship where times were happy but also chaotic. She continued about the relationship by saying: "We were traveling between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, he was gambling, I was just swimming, and yeah I mean, I used to indulge in a lot drugs and dark poetry, and pop culture, and amazing music, but I've quieted down a lot but I just reminisce about it. I live a really simple life today". That describes what "Off to the Races" was written about.[1]

Background and live performances Edit

"Off to the Races" was released in the UK as iTunes Single of the Week on December 20, 2011.[2] It was then released as a digital single in the Netherlands on January 6, 2012 on the iTunes Store.[3] On November 4, 2011, at the Ruby Lounge in Manchester, United Kingom, Del Rey performed the song live for the first time, before it was officially released. It was the final song of the set.[4] She also performed the song on the Endless Summer Tour (2015) and Festival Tour (2016).

Composition Edit

Del Rey employs an alternative rapping technique, hip-hop beat and heavy basslines, similar to that of "National Anthem" and "Diet Mountain Dew" in the song.[5] Pitchfork said the rapping technique was almost "chatting."[6] The song references the novel Lolita, with lyrics such as, "Light of my life, fire of my loins".[7]

One of the track's demos was produced by Shawn Lee and features military style snares during the chorus and has a completely different vocal track. A fan asked Lee if he could share the demo but he was not allowed by the label to do that. However, the demo was available on Del Rey's Soundcloud account for a period of time but it was downloaded only by an user.

A demo of the song, labeled "Mix 9", which had previously only been available on out-of-circulation promotional EPs sent to press, leaked on July 25, 2016. This version contained slightly different instrumentation. Another demo, labeled "Early Mix", leaked from a French sampler of Born to Die leaked on August 14, 2016. This version is similar to the "Mix 9" one, but with slight differences in the background instrumentation.

Critical reception Edit

"Off to the Races" has been lyrically described as "a freak show of inappropriate co-dependency",[8] Giving the song a negative review, indie music website Pitchfork said it "...aim[s] for chatty, sparkling opulence," adding that she "doesn't have the personality to bring it off."[9] The Guardian wrote that "Off to the Races' turns Del Rey from vintage siren to R&B hoochie most convincingly. There's jazz in Del Rey's dextrous vocal, and new territory in the swoop and pow of Haynie's undertow." [10] Comparing the song to "Video Games" and "Blue Jeans", The Huffington Post blogged that the song was "...pretty good...and it sounds just as catchy..."[11] Of the song's music video, reviewer Robbie Daw commented: " seems the video’s producer was off to find the cheesiest footage of old shoot-'em-up '80s B-movies for this clip."[12]

Cross-references Edit

Music video Edit

Music video Information


Released December 22, 2011
Length 5:04
Director Lana Del Rey
Filmed N/A
Location N/A
VEVO views N/A

Background and description Edit

On December 22, 2011, Lana Del Rey uploaded a homemade music video for "Off to the Races" on her YouTube channel. It is composed of film clips, and does not feature Del Rey herself. The video features Latin American gangsters, femme fatale figures with guns, and a race track. It has since been privatized for unknown reasons, although unofficial uploads still exist around the web.[13]

Official versions Edit

  • Album version – 4:59
  • Radio edit – 3:54
  • Instrumental version – 4:58
  • "Mix 9" demo version – 5:05
  • "Early Mix" demo version – 5:10
  • Shawn Lee demo - 5:02


My old man is a bad man
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 me with every beat of his cocaine heart

Swimming pool, glimmering darling
White bikini off with my red nail polish
Watch me in the swimming pool
Bright blue ripples, you
Sittin', sippin' on your black Cristal, oh yeah

Light of my life, fire of my loins
Be a good baby, do what I want
Light of my life, fire of my loins
Give me them gold coins
Give me them coins

Now I'm off to the races, cases
Of Bacardi chasers
Chasin' me all over town
'Cause he knows I'm wasted, facin'
Time again at Riker's
Island and I won't get out
Because I'm crazy, baby
I need you to come here and save me
I'm your little scarlet starlet
Singin' in the garden
Kiss me on my open mouth
Ready for you

My old man is a tough man
But he got a soul as sweet as blood-red jam
And he shows me he knows me
Every inch of my tar-black soul
He doesn't mind I have a flat broke-down life
In fact, he says he thinks it's what he might like about me
Admires me, the way I roll like a rolling stone

Likes to watch me in the glass room, bathroom
Chateau Marmont
Slippin' on my red dress
Puttin' on my make-up
Glass film, perfume, cognac, lilac
Fumes, says it feels like heaven to him

Light of his life, fire of his loins
Keep me forever, tell me you own me
Light of your life, fire of your loins
Tell me you own me, gimme them coins

And I'm off to the races, cases
Of Bacardi chasers
Chasin' me all over town
'Cause he knows I'm wasted, facin'
Time again at Riker's
Island and I won't get out
Because I'm crazy, baby
I need you to come here and save me
I'm your little scarlet starlet
Singin' in the garden
Kiss me on my open mouth

Yo, I'm off to the races, laces
Leather on my waist is
Tight and I am falling down
I can see your face is shameless
Cipriani's basement
Love you but I'm going down
God, I'm so crazy, baby
I'm sorry that I'm misbehaving
I'm your little harlot, starlet
Queen of Coney Island
Raisin' hell all over town
Sorry 'bout it

My old man is a thief, and I'm gonna
stay and pray with him till the end
But I trust in the decision of the
Lord to watch over us
Take him when he may, if he may
I'm not afraid to say that I'd die without him
Who else is gonna put up with me this way?
I need you, I breathe you, I'd never leave you
They would rue the day I was alone without you
You're lyin' with your gold chain on,
cigar hanging from your lips
I said, "Hun, you never looked so
beautiful as you do now, my man"

And we're off to the races, places
Ready, set, the gate is
Down and now we're goin' in
To Las Vegas, chaos, Casino Oasis
Honey, it is time to spin
Boy, you're so crazy, baby
I love you forever, not maybe
You are my one true love
You are my one true love

You are my one true love



  • Guitar — Patrik Berger
  • Strings arrangement — Carl Bagge
  • Percussion — Patrik Berger
  • Drums — Emile Haynie
  • Drum programming — Patrik Berger
  • Keyboards — Emile Haynie
  • Synthesiser — Patrik Berger
  • Sampler — Patrik Berger
  • Bass — Patrik Berger
  • Violin — Fredrik Syberg
  • Viola — Erik Holm
  • Cello — Pelle Hansen
  • Mixing — Dan Grech Marguerat for 365 Artists
  • Mixing assistant — Duncan Fuller

Charts Edit

Chart (2012) Peak
US Alternative Digital Songs (Billboard) 22
US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard) 40

References Edit


Btdogo 2

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