Lana Del Rey delivers more lyrical diversity on Lust For Life
Being a fan of Lana Del Rey comes with some great perks. Admitted, she is hard to catch live as she does not really tour much at all, but she is one of those artists who much rather spends time in the studio than on stage. It is only five years ago that she launched her major label breakthrough record Born To Die and this week she already drops album number 4, Lust For Life. After the excellent singles ‘Love’ and the title track featuring The Weeknd, Del Rey shows more lyrical variation on this record, than ever before.
Lana Del Rey is certainly known for having her own style going on. Her ‘Hollywood Sadcore’ was mostly built on light hiphop beats on Born To Die, while sophomore effort Ultraviolence leant more towards indie rock and third record Honeymoon sounding more orchestral, all maintaining her signature sound. The numerous collaborations on Lust For Life seem to have invited her to experiment a bit more. The hiphop beats return on two A$AP Rocky features (‘Summer Bummer’ and ‘Groupie Love’) while she sounds like a proper folk singer on the gorgeous, guitar based ‘Tomorrow Never Came’ with Sean Ono Lennon. The most powerful collaboration however, is the duet ‘Beautiful People Beautiful Problems’ with Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks. Their voices sound completely different, but work magic together.
Lyrically, Lana often talks about dysfunctional relationships and unconditional devotion to her partner and while ‘Love’ and ‘Lust For Life’ deliver a more uplifting narrative, heartache is never far away. The beautifully produced and typical Lana track ’13 Beaches’ is as much about her life in the public eye as about being unable to leave behind a love interest who isn’t good for her: “It hurts to love you, but I still love you. It’s just the way I feel and I’d be lying if I kept hiding the fact that I can’t deal.” On ‘White Mustang’ she seems to be on autopilot a bit too much with a predictable Lana by the numbers track as a result. She shakes up the narrative on ‘In The Feelings’, that could be described as a sassy break up anthem that playfully pushes her to her vocal edges.
Things do get even more exciting on the second half of Lust For Life where some of the songs carry a political meaning. The previously released promo single ‘Coachella – Woodstock In My Mind’ discusses her mixed feelings of having a good time at the festival while the USA seemed to be heading to a war with North-Korea. The insanely catchy ‘God Bless America – And All The Beautiful Women In It’ is an ode to sisterhood and looking out for each other in times where the leader of the country does not seem too bothered by women’s rights. ‘When The World Was At War We Kept Dancing’ captures the hippie spirit in one of those endless chorus that serves hook after hook, like only Lana can write them.
Towards the end of the album, the focus shifts back to Lana’s personal experience with the touching ballad ‘Change’, followed by the subtly uptempo and cautiously optimistic ‘Get Free’. “I never really noticed that I had to decide to play someone’s game or live my own life. And now I do, I wanna move out of the black, into the blue.” With Lust For Life Lana Del Rey drops her most consistent, sonically and lyrically most diverse and interesting album to date, without compromising any element that makes a quintessential Lana record.