I consider this song to fall in the category of folk rock based on what we’ve said about folk in class. Folk music often has a simple melody, a political message, acoustic guitar (although here it’s electric, hence “folk rock”), and a message of hope. The instrumentation is very minimal and the emphasis is on the lyrics and the vocal delivery. Del Rey’s vocal articulation (for the most part) is laid back and there is a repeating “hook” (“It’s just a dream I had in mind.”) But this song also borrows from the blues genre. There’s a very distinct baseline present in this song, but I think it’s hard to hear. (The volume needs to be super loud in order to hear the bassline in the beginning of the song.) The chord progression reminds me a lot of the twelve bar progression common in many blues songs. Another obvious element of blues is lyrical content, which is often melancholy, lamenting, and/or complaining. I’d also like to argue that “Looking for America” borrows from the gospel genre. In certain places during the refrain/hook “It’s just a dream I had in mind,” Del Rey’s vocals are stacked in harmonies which sound very angelic. Even though her vocals aren’t powerful (she’s just not a “powerhouse singer”) I would still consider this gospel. The many layers create the sense of a choir. The lyrics are also very hopeful in the refrain, which is another element of gospel music (hope for peace, heaven, etc.)

While I wasn’t able to pin down an article referencing the song’s genre, I thought it was important to include this article about how “Looking for America” represents a lyrical shift for Del Rey, one that is more political. Stern, the author, also explains the lyrical style Del Rey is shifting from, which is what she is synonymous with: Americana. Or more specifically, as Stern puts it, “idyllic America.” In the past, she has sung “National Anthem,” “West Coast,” and “Old Money.” All these songs romanticize the idea of America, and Lana Del Rey (as a brand) is all about Americana. But “Looking for America” is not the first time that Del Rey has written a more realized, political, actualized song about America. “When the World Was at War We Kept Dancing,” “Coachella – Woodstock In My Mind,” and “God Bless America – And All The Beautiful Women In It” are all songs from “Lust for Life,” Del Rey’s fifth studio album that contain elements of political commentary, and a kind of artistic coming to terms that America isn’t as idyllic as Del Rey (the brand) would like to believe.