By Carlos Chavez
Artist: Lana Del Rey
Album: Lust for Life
Release Date: July 21, 2017
It is hard to believe that it has been six years since famous singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey released her homemade vintage music videos for “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans”. Her mysterious, but compelling persona made many young souls fall head over heels with the self-proclaimed “Coney Island Queen.” Since the release of those videos six summers ago, Del Rey has had considerable amounts of international success: 16 awards, 17 singles and sold out tours throughout the world.
Lust for Life is Del Rey’s fifth studio album, with 17 tracks on the gem, and it is her longest album to date. She continues to carry her old soul and ageless aesthetic from album to album, and Lust for Life is no exception. Lana is a rare artist that can create her own universe where she glamorizes things that are normally disdained upon such as sex, drugs, money and power and makes it into a work of art.
Since the release of her first single off the album, “Love” back in February, Del Rey has released a myriad of singles, teasers and puzzle pieces to the final treasure that is Lust for Life. The two most iconic ones being the Lust for Life trailer shown below, and the release of the album title single, “Lust for Life”, in collaboration with The Weeknd.
From Born to Die to Lust for Life, Lana takes on a more heartening and hopeful approach on life in this album, and puts a slight hold on the recurring themes of the sad girl and toxic relationships. Instead, she focuses on singing about happiness, freedom and optimism. In the current political climate, Del Rey – like many other artists – sing about current issues in the world to help the little light at the end of the tunnel shine a bit brighter. In “Coachella – Woodstock in My Mind”, she expresses sadness and concern over tension between countries, where she sings that she’d “trade it all for stairway to heaven.” In an interview with BBC Radio 2, Del Rey discloses a sense of awakening and incitement, reassuring her fans that they are not alone in these dark times:
“I started out thinking that the whole record was gonna have a sort of a ’50s-’60s feeling, kind of some kind of Shangri-Las, early Joan Baez influences,” she explained. “But I don’t know, as the climate kept on getting more heated politically, I found lyrically everything was just directed towards that. So because of that, the sound just got really updated, and I felt like it was more wanting to talk to the younger side of the audience that I have. I guess it’s a little more socially aware. It’s kind of a global feeling.”
Along with the political stance she is taking, Del Rey also made another daring career move: inviting her friends to duet and collaborate on the record. She has never done so in previous albums, but this leap of faith booked famous artists and legends like Stevie Nicks, The Weeknd, A$AP Rocky (can they get married already?), Playboi Carti and Sean Ono Lennon. Whether it’s the hip-hop influenced beats and rhymes A$AP brings to both “Summer Bummer” and “Groupie Love,” the fatigue sounding love story of “Tomorrow Never Came” with Sean Lennon (who knew he sounded so much like his father) that will make you reminisce over your ex-lover or the cutting edge ballad of “Beautiful People Beautiful Problems” with Stevie the White Witch, these collabs ultimately make this record one-of-a-kind.
This album continues to paint Del Rey as the portrait of the American dream, freedom, sad girls and bad boys, just now with a more sense of “wokeness.” Lana composes her own bliss, her own paradise and her own dreams in this record, but it is unreal; and that’s what makes it beautiful. When you listen to this album, she makes you want to be a part of the life she represents. The look that surrounds her, her voice, her melancholic aura, all coming naturally, eliciting a delusive world that can make you feel both wistful and on top of the world.