Upon the release of her album, Honeymoon, for some (can you believe it?), it didn’t pack that punch they felt when they first landed up on tracks like “Video Games” or “This is What Makes Us Girls” in Born to Die. With Lust for Life, the entire album is one big road trip, exploring various facets of who Lana Del Rey is or may be. Lana Del Rey smiles outside of the Born to Die car, no longer looking dead inside, but primed and prepped for something. It appears she’s grown into what suits her. Released on July 21, 2017, Lana’s fifth album is a mixture of old, new, and upcoming. Here are some standout tracks on this 16-track album.
We start off with “Love.” The soft hum of the vibraphone, and plucking of the mellotron, Lana sings of a world so dramatic and simplistic, with people happy and in love. The build suddenly drops after the chorus begins, leaving the listener wanting more even after the song is over. “Don’t worry baby,” this album has plenty more satisfactory auditory experiences.
Like any new trip, we have a “Lust for Life” (featuring The Weeknd). Here, both show a “Prisoner” part two, but after the darkness. This song sounds hopeful and tense at the same time. In their previous joint effort, both spoke pitfalls of an environment thriving on sin. But here, they speak of that iconic illusion (Hollywood), dance it up with Shangri-Las harmonies, Iggy Pop and poetry by William Ernest Henley. The Weeknd’s vocals are smooth, complimentary, and the production revisits Born to Die standards.
We reach “13 Beaches,” along with an orchestral opening, and a sample from Carnival of Souls. This particular beach could be just that, or referring to Lana’s music. No, it’s not Normandy, but Lana sings as though she had to go through a lot, just to find one place she can find some bit of happiness. As a listener, I interpret exasperation and a small tone of victory escaping intrusion or disconnect. Maybe even the attention overall. Even in the background, a modem runs, a device used for transmitting or establishing a connection. Lana is reaching out, but internally, there’s a bit of a disconnect in what she intends and what others perceive.
Lana sings of a world so dramatic and simplistic, with people happy and in love.
For lunch, we’ll have a “Cherry.” This fruit symbolizes a lot, only in this case, Lana sings about her fruit completely spoiling, due to an external force: “them.” This person is destructive, no sweet ingredients for ‘summer wine’ but maybe a Patsy Cline record spinning, because they don’t add anything except regret. The vocal effects, and Lana’s singing style combined with the quick cries of profanity at the realization makes quite the experience.
We find a “White Mustang.” It’s lush, smooth, and layered with trap elements from the first minute in. Lana sings of a person who can’t contain his energy. Not a coincidence this song is one of the shortest on the album. Meeting “Beautiful People Beautiful Problems” (featuring Stevie Nicks) is always a treat. Stevie Nicks adds her own flair to a well-crafted track continuing in vibes until the very end. It’s self-loathing but not distractedly so. Everyone’s got problems and it’s up to you if you want to fix it.
Unfortunately “Tomorrow Never Came” (featuring Sean Ono Lennon). The harmonies, the vocals, the instruments materialize a dream, that only was just that: “I just wanted things to be the same/You said to meet me up there tomorrow/But tomorrow never came.” A person who didn’t keep their promise, but the idea of it is nice to think of. This is a standout track.
Near the end of the trip, the route does a “Change.” Lana has had her share of fumbles, when it comes to expressing herself. However, in this song, she teases that there’s a chance for something different. She’s trying to speak on her desire for consistency: “There’s a change gonna come, I don’t know where or when/But whenever it does, we’ll be here for it” With a piano, few effects and Lana’s vocals, the song speaks about being simply present in any way shape or form. Finally, we’ve arrived at the beach with “Get Free,” exuding peace and optimism. In “Ride,” Lana spoke of a war in her mind, yet here she sings while emerging from the trenches: “And now I do, I wanna move/Out of the black/Into the blue.”
Lana has had her share of fumbles, when it comes to expressing herself. However, in this song, she teases that there’s a chance for something different.
Concluding Lust for Life, Lana Del Rey delivers another solid piece of work, with careful production and track list structure.
Survey Says? On Repeat.
Pretty much everything else, but check out “Heroin” for the hazy and daunting (“It’s hot, it’s hot!“) and “In My Feelings” (“You wanna make the switch, Be my guest, baby.“
There’s something here for those who want the ‘old,’ and those who want more of the ‘new.’ You can even catch a few 180s such as wanting the “Money Power Glory,” to giving it all away, post-Stairway to Heaven in “Coachella – Woodstock in my Mind.” The album is distinguishable from her other work, and a platform to spring start any form of soul-searching, and an additional library for lush pop music.
‘Lust For Life’ by Lana Del Rey Album Review: Photograph courtesy of Interscope Records