Lana Del Rey : Lust for Life REVIEW

(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 albumwas 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:

White Mustang

Summer Bummer

In My Feelings

Tomorrow Never Came

Heroin

 

SIDE NOTE:

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!

-Alina

Announcement: Films, Music, Art Topics

Hello Readers!

I plan on posting a few things this week, here is what to expect,

Poetry: Post that includes 1-3 poems that I am currently working on.

Short Story: Post that includes a short story that I am currently working on.

 

Films, Music, Art: Here are the topics I am considering writing on, would love your input or vote in the comments below as well as suggestions!

 

Movies: Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Evil Dead (1981) or (2013)

Fight Club (1999)

The Twilight Zone (1959-1964) ANY EPISODE

American Psycho (2000)

American Mary (2012)

 

Music:    Iggy Pop (selected album)

Black Sabbath (selected album)

MARILYN MANSON (selected album)* could expand heavily on

 

Art: Egon Schiele

Robert Mapplethorpe

Frida Kahlo

 


Thank you for any suggestions! I hope you return in the future!

-Alina

Response: Phenomenology/Body/Poetry

This is a response to tmbenjamin10 ‘s suggested topic from my post National Poetry Month , “…I’ve been recently wondering and reading around the subject of phenomenology and its effect on how we treat the body in poetry. Please feel free to take a stab at the subject…” .

This is a big subject and a lot to chew on so it’s taken me while to compose a response but I hope that my insight/reflection helps.


 

First, I want to break down the word ‘Phenomenology’, it is a long and complicated term that means simply ‘the study of phenomena’ which is often related to Philosophy (dictionary.com)

The Philosophical study of Phenomenology can be defined as, ‘…the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view.’ (plato.stanford.edu)

I want to stick to these two definitions of Phenomenology as I apply the body in poetry to this term.

The body in poetry can sometimes be used to represent or express what is happening internally with the ‘subject’ of the poem. The body can also represent what is happening externally. It is the relationship of subject and representation in poetry that can be linked  to phenomena and the body.

 

For example,

 

                                               (The body has become a physical interpretation for the                                                       decay of the city)

“The body breaks    

away with

the rubble of

the city”

(my own words)

(Body is representing phenomena in the outside                                                                      environment regardless if the expression and event are                                                      linked by action or not)

 

Second Example,

 

“Thunder rumbled above me,                  ( Here the outside event -phenomena- is linked                                                                         to the body, expressed in a reaction that can be                                                                       deciphered as either emotional or physical)

my body static with electricity,

 

vibrates.”

(my own words)

 

Another example that came to my mind, when I read the words phenomenology, body and poetry in the same sentence, was the ancient belief that there were gods that could control natural forces (i.e. Greek and Roman Mythology) and that if you pissed off the gods they would kill you (often by natural forces; earthquakes, floods, storms). So if I were to apply the same principles to poetry and the body it would be something like this,

phenomena/natural forces+body/response (internal/external)= poetry

I can also switch around ‘body’ with ‘gods’ and ‘phenomena’ with                                               ’emotions/expression/poetry’.

Overall, it depends entirely on what you want to do with the ‘body’ in a poem and how you want the ‘body’ to relate (either internally or externally) to the outside world (phenomena/natural forces) in this way the body has the ability of being both God and Human, either expressing how the God can manipulate the environment or vice versa.

 

Here’s another example that crossed my mind after thinking about Gods. The movie Carrie (1976) Directed by Brian De Palma, is about a teenage girl with psychic powers (imdb.com). Carrie as a body in a poem can directly influence her environment through phenomena and in another way the supernatural events that happen around Carrie can be related to phenomena affecting the body (the emotions of these events would be Poetry).

I am not sure if this last example really helps. In my mind I think of Gods and Poltergeists when I read about the study of Phenomenology. I think that a good literary example of how there is a close connection between poetry, body and phenomena would be ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man‘ by James Joyce. Although it is often thought of as a difficult and dense text, it can be related to these subjects easily through an analysis of the technique and style that Joyce uses to tell the story of young Stephen Dedalus.

Well, tmbenjamin10 please let me know what you think of my response (if you get a chance to read this). I really appreciate your suggestion and Thank You for helping me contribute to NaPoMo!!!

 

sources: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/phenomena

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/phenomenology/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074285/      (‘Carrie’ original story by Stephen King)


 

If you are reading this THANK YOU for taking time out of your day to read my writing! I hope you return in the future!

-Alina

T2: Response and Reflection

WARNING: SPOILERS ALERT

T2 Trainspotting Poster

(source: imdb.com)

The shots, cuts and camera angles used in T2 reflect the style and tone of Trainspotting (1996). Paired with a gritty soundtrack that ranges from classics-remixed or toned down- from Trainspotting and contemporary music, the film exudes in its technique the theme of T2; nostalgia and coming to terms with your past.

Returning to Edinburgh, Renton decides to make amends and pay back his friends whom he betrayed twenty years ago (except Begbie, who he avoids at all costs). What he finds is Sick Boy and Spud doing exactly what they were doing when he left, and Begbie still in prison (soon to break free).

T2 follows Renton and the crew ‘getting together’ one last time in an epic junkie battle of revenge and heart wrenching flashbacks of adolescent beginnings. Emphasizing on nostalgia for a past that has died and gone to junkie heaven, T2 artistically echoes key moments that made Trainspotting  unforgettable; ‘Choose Life’ speeches, Renton colliding with vehicles, Begbie and his love for violence, Spud as the loved and innocent junkie of the crew and Sick Boy (Simon) still working as a con artist and thief. Although it echoes similar actions in Trainspotting, it does not feel like T2 is copying these actions in an attempt to ride the waves of what made it popular in the first place. The repeated or similar actions feel like they stand on their own, echoing maybe the message that sometimes you are always doomed to repeat yourself.

What is added to the mix is the role of Veronica, a young twenty something whose expertise in sex and her partnership (girlfriend?) with Sick Boy puts her at the center of an old man dog fight over events that probably happened when she was just a toddler. Veronica in the book Porno (by Irvine Welsh, and sequel to Trainspotting) has more parts and prevalence as a sex worker who later works for Sick Boy in his venture of creating Pornographic films above his bar. These parts are changed and toned down in the movie T2 and Veronica is portrayed as a possibly more ‘clean’ woman to audiences but in the end she does exactly what she does in Porno; taking the torch from the generation before her of “First there is opportunity, then there is Betrayal.”(imdb.com). I think by toning down Veronica in T2 Danny Boyle may have taken into consideration just how much grit and slime audiences can take (creating an R-Rated film versus a neon flashing NC-17).

Although I was curious from the instant I heard about T2 and after reading the book Porno just how much of book would be in T2, I am satisfied with this cookie cutter version which is easier to swallow for most, although I definitely craved more of the book in the end.

Overall, T2 holds true to Trainspotting as an art device used for social critique and exposure of the disgusting but often real underbelly of modern life (a predominant trait of Irvine Welsh’s works). With added references and use of today’s technology and comments on how ‘conning’ can’t be done like how it used to be, T2 shows the evolution of  addiction, lies, and thievery in our present day in a heart-wrenching story of opportunity and betrayal among best friends.

 

I could write more on T2 and go into depth on certain key scenes/aspects that stood out to me but I will have to think about this. I do plan on seeing T2 again and in the theatre so I can enjoy the big screen experience and if after watching it for a second time I do decide to do another reflection I will post one, probably longer (long long read) and in a couple of weeks.

 

(sources: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2763304/?ref_=nv_sr_1, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117951/?ref_=nv_sr_2 )


 

If you are reading this Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing. I hope you return in the future!

-Alina

Free Hand #2: Poetry

Context:

The weather recently in Salt Lake City has been rainy. April is usually a stormy month but is highlighted with a few sparse days with sunshine. Recently a new law was passed that will be in effect starting next year.

Today is a rainy day.


 

Thunder echoing back against the sky, the grey clouds heavy with

rain, with snow, with the salty sadness that permeates this place.

And the white stuck to the mountain tops slides down, running water

at trickling speeds. Can’t hear the rivers rushing but the gutter will

be full soon enough, of wrappers and cans floating in sandy water.

And the flashes of lightning striking down upon us will illuminate

and desecrate this ‘promise land’. Bitterness in my heart towards

the laws that keeps a boot on my neck, shoveling beliefs in my face that

were never mine. Waiting for the rain to come and wash this shit city

away, glittering on its pedestal of ‘righteousness’.  That rumor I heard

that church and state are two different things was a fucking lie. This wasn’t

supposed to be a rant, this wasn’t supposed to be vengeful but the anger

in my heart is  there, echoing back against the sky, the grey clouds heavy

with smiling oppression.


 

Working on this piece. It’s more of a response to Governor Gary Herbert’s recent law that was passed. Starting next year anything .05% and above on a breathalyzer test (less than one beer) will result in a DUI. Next to the ridiculously strict liquor laws in this state (among other things) SLC is city were church and state are so obviously not separate.

 

If you’re reading this Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing! I hope you return in the future!

-Alina