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

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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

ANNOUNCEMENT: working on a reflection for T2!

In response to my first post Returning to Trainspotting: The Release of T2 I am working on a reflection of T2 which I did go and see a couple days ago. All I can say right now is, heart-wrenching. 

I hope to have the reflection polished, done and posted within the next few days. It will appear on my homepage and under the tab ‘Film, Music, Art’.

Thank you!

-Alina

P.S. On a side note, I am also working on another reflection in response to a suggestion given by a follower, “...phenomenology and its effect on how we treat the body in poetry“. THANK YOU FOR THE SUGGESTION tmbenjamin10 !!!

Returning to Trainspotting: The Release of T2

Trainspotting Poster

(photo source: imdb.com)

Trainspotting directed by Danny Boyle came out in 1996. I was just a toddler when it was released but first saw it in my teens. It was accompanied with a slew of movies that were deemed ‘classic’ by my friends and family which included  A Clockwork Orange (1971), SLC Punk (1998) and Fight Club (1999) among others.

I remember watching Trainspotting, being disgusted and slightly horrified but intrigued by its appearance and dialogue. It would later become one of my favorite movies and I would watch it over and over again, collect Irvine Welsh books (writer of the original story)  and hang a poster up on my wall. I found myself coming back to Trainspotting periodically, attracted by its message, its grittiness and the magnetic pull it had on me.

Recently I’ve become aware that I admire things from past generations (big surprise, so does everyone else) but specifically movies and music from twenty years ago (just like everyone else my age). For me my love of this era came from my parents and relatives, they did good in letting me listen to the hundreds of CD’s they had collected and watching their favorite movies with them. I grew to admire these things not from forced exposure but from my sponge like ability to absorb and process everything I came across.

So can I relate to Trainspotting ?

Since I am twenty years younger than the generation that it was intended for, I am left out and find myself admiring from a ‘time’ related distance. But I feel like our generations are two stages of the same evolution. Youth adapting to technological advances, to drugs, crime and money (or lack thereof) due to city life and the decay that can be seen within society and the world.

The basic instincts of youth are still there. “I want to be somebody, I want money, I want satisfaction.” Mix in the addictive life associated with my generation (instant satisfaction and a life broadcasted on social media) there is a bridge between time and a connection is found.

I cannot speak for my entire generation and I am not attempting to either.

But it is my own perception (and others) that we are an addicted generation (obsessed with superficiality and technology) that we differ in degrees of extremes (we may want to fix the world and make change or make money and become famous). Maybe it has always been like this? (Yes) But it feels like because of the technology available to younger and younger generations our lives are being drastically changed at supersonic speeds. We are overloaded with information, addicted and obsessed, we are connected to millions of people through technology and exposed to them at the same time.

Blah, blah, blah. This may not make any sense. I may be rambling off into the distance and I know that if I were to back up my claim that Trainspotting is relatable for my generation because we are dealing with the same pain and decay as the characters were twenty years ago, I would need some actual evidence and research.

But this section on my blog is specifically for reflection and simple analysis. (Or I guess my horrendous ramblings!)

To put it short,

Trainspotting is an important influence on my life (creatively and personally) as a writer and artist I’ve found it and similar works to be priceless. Trainspotting helps to inspire, to expand the mind and delve deep into the darkest parts of the heart and soul.

So I plan on seeing T2 soon.

I am thrilled, hopeful and scared to see it. I cannot wait to find out just how much it’ll add up, if not, hopefully contribute to Trainspotting.

I may post a response to T2 and this post after I see it. If I decide to, it will be posted in about two weeks.

Comments are welcomed below. If you have thoughts, experiences or more to add on my brief reflection please do so.


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!

Thank you!

-Alina