(photo by Neil Krug )
Just a few weeks ago, sad-pop singer Lana Del Rey released her latest album Lust For Life which contains 16 mind-blowing tracks that span a range of relevant topics but stick true to her ‘Summertime Sadness’ trademark. Lana Del Rey’s songs possess a nostalgia for an Americana landscape full of classic heroes and anti-heroes such as James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Jim Morrison and God. Lana Del Rey a.k.a. Elizabeth Grant often blurs the lines between her persona and her self (Lizzy) or so the public thinks. Evidence of these blurry lines can be seen on stage when she performs, her presence is intense and mimic’s tones found in her music videos but there is something there within her that is honest and very very personal as she sings.
Lana Del Rey is a bad girl who lives in a past-present time shift full of drugs and abusive men, attributes that are linked to Lizzy’s personal life which she has used to evoke her inner muse since the beginning. Lana holds the reigns for a the millennial generation that can relate(?) to hard love, drugs and crime (possibly). Old American styles, and Hollywood icons that have been canonized by American culture are used creatively to highlight and paint her music, making her work uniquely American. Relate-able or not, Lana is doing something that no other musician is at this time, she is synthesizing her experiences and music with specific themes that evoke another life all together. Simply put, the world that Lizzy creates from her influences such as Americana and old Hollywoodland gives her a unique style that can only be found in her music and Lana Del Rey persona.
What does Lust For Life do that Lana’s other albums don’t?
Honeymoon, Lana’s previous album, was released only two years ago but is a completely different animal from Lust for Life. It appears that Lana’s inward journey through reflecting on her romantic past is finally moving onto a social critique of a present day America. Can anyone blame her? In these troubling times it is more important than ever that cultural icons such as artists, musicians and actresses take a stand and speak out against ignorance and intolerance, they are the most viewed positions in our society for their relevance in our day-to-day lives (music/movies/performances) and they have the ability to speak to large audiences in monumental voices. It is evident that Lana is aware of this fact as she brings up socio-political issues in her songs while evoking past events such as ‘Coachella-Woodstock in My Mind’, the Beatles references (‘Tomorrow Never Came’) while at the same time nodding her head in recognition to one of her big influences Nirvana and Kurt Cobain (‘Heroin’). Her romances are still present and paint this album with darker blues in tracks such as ‘White Mustang’, ‘Cherry’, and ‘In My Feelings’. The handful of themes found within these tracks reflects moods that color the entire album as an intense vibrant experience full of love, life and worries. It’s as if the album is saying, I have my own issues with love and life but it’s worth it even when the world feels like it’s falling apart, this is evident in ‘When the World was at War we kept Dancing’.
Lust for Life also evokes more hip-hop tones that call back to Lana’s Born to Die album from 2012. There has been more discussion lately on cultural-appropriation in music and this topic is brought up in a recent interview with The Complex Cover.
Lana leaves us out of breath and bathing in a summer of blues and reflection as always but especially this year her album feels like a sucker punch to the gut chased with a hard drink leaving us dazed and close to knocked out for good.
MY PERSONAL RATING FOR LUST FOR LIFE : 4.5/5
I’ve been a Lana Del Rey fan since Born to Die, following Lana’s work closely for the past five years. I admire her skill to weave in multiple cultural references throughout her work while maintaining a strong theme and presence of self reflection. I love her blues and attitude towards the past which I find thought provoking. The only issue I have ever had with Lana is that she is not a feminist and the males in her songs are often volatile and abusive recalling a time (1950’s- ’60’s) when women were used up and treated as less than men (guess what….it’s still happening!!!). I respect Lana (Lizzy) as an individual and still admire her work regardless of her stance on feminist issues.
MY TOP TRACKS:
In My Feelings
Tomorrow Never Came
The only question I have for Lana Del Rey,
Is Lust For Life a reference to Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life song???
If not, cool, if so…suddenly my three favorite things can be connected Iggy Pop, Lana Del Rey, and Trainspotting!
If you are reading this Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing!
I hope you will return in the future!