Lana Del Rey released a video to Instagram of herself singing “Looking for America” in a recording studio. The video was posted on Aug. 5, 2019, and the official single was released on Aug. 9, 2019. Del Rey wrote and recorded the single with songwriter and producer Jack Antinoff, according to the video’s caption.

Here, while the song is being debuted to Del Rey’s fans, the role social media plays here is important to note. Del Rey’s caption preludes the single, provides context about the song, and conveys Del Rey’s own feelings about the messaging that she’s choosing to deliver with this single. “Now I know I’m not a politician and I’m not trying to be so excuse me for having an opinion […]” Del Rey writes in the caption. Here, she seems to acknowledge that it isn’t typical for her as an artist to make statements about politics, or current events. The role of this caption should not be overlooked in any analysis of this song.

As you can see from the screenshot above, “Looking for America” is directly connected with events of the Gilroy Garlic Festival (July 28) shooting, El Paso (August 3) shooting, and the Dayton (August 4) shooting that all occurred in the summer of last year. According to the New York Times, “[The Dayton shooting] was the second American mass shooting in 24 hours, and the third in a week.” Del Rey incorporates specific locations throughout this track that tie into the locations of the shooting. The first location mentioned is San Francisco, which is a little over an hour away from Gilroy, California. According to CBS News, Gilroy is actually within the “San Francisco Bay Area.” The next location is Fresno. Eerily, Fresno would later become the location of another mass shooting on Nov. 17, 2019. Gilroy is about halfway between San Francisco and Fresno. In this way, Del Rey integrates the context of the message into the song. And if it wasn’t apparent to the listener, she posts a caption along with an image of the single cover art stating that “all [her] proceeds from this song will go to Gilroy garlic festival victims relief fund, El Paso community relief fund and Dayton foundation.”

The song’s location messaging is followed up by verses that take a more direct stance on gun violence. The lyric “pullover to watch the children in the park/we used to only worry for them after dark,” unmistakably references the idea that there used to be a time when kids in America could play outside without their parents/guardians worrying about them getting shot.