The Retrospective Portentousness of “Terrence Loves You”

Perhaps it has to do with the anachronistic sageness of being Lana Del Rey–or maybe it was simply chance. Whatever the case, “Terrence Loves You,” released on August 21, 2015 (a month before the Honeymoon album came out), possesses the sort of interplanetary connection to David Bowie that only an ethereal soul like Del Rey could hope to have.

With a serene opening that shows subtle respect to the stripped down sound of Bowie’s second album–titled simply David Bowie–released in 1969, “Terrence Loves You” is a song that mourns the metaphorical (and possibly literal) death of someone, indicated by the lament, “I lost myself when I lost you.” The cosmic reciprocity of the song relates to Bowie in more ways than simply the sampling of the lyrics “Ground control to Major Tom” from “Space Oddity,” but also in the fact that the name Terrence relates to Terry Burns, Bowie’s half brother who committed suicide in 1985 and later inspired the tracks “All the Madmen” and “Jump They Say.”

With an intro that asserts, “You are who are you/I don’t matter to anyone,” it could be argued that Del Rey was subconsciously prostrating herself before the icon months before his January death, worshipping his greatness in the face of her comparative mediocrity. The reference to listening to the music of someone she loves comes when she admits, “I still get trashed, honey, when I hear your tunes,” adding, “I put the radio on, hold you tight in my mind/Isn’t strange that you’re not here with me…/Trying to transmit, can you hear me?” In this way, it was almost as though she was anticipating the passage of his soul to another realm (or, to put it more bluntly, his death).

Her ardor for the person she has lost indicates someone who was not necessarily close to her in physicality, but rather, on a higher emotional plane. Even if Del Rey isn’t specifically referring to Bowie, there is something all too remarkable in the portentous vibes of “I lost myself and I lost you,” paired with her selection and use of Bowie’s lyrics from what is ostensibly his most iconic track. Whether you believe in Del Rey’s powers of prediction or not, “Terrence Loves You” has a retrospectively arcane sort of knowledge about Bowie’s demise that no one and nothing else did.