Ever since Lana Del Rey first graced the radio airwaves with “Summertime Sadness,” everyone has been hooked by her sultry voice. The irresistible dark mystique of the singer has garnered fans all across the United States as she has explored the meaning of what it is to be an indie and Americana singer with multiple albums and collaborations.
Lust for Life, her most recent album, comes after a nearly two year gap without new Lana music. Every song is unique, as is typical of the singer and now Lana reminds me once again to never underestimate her innate talent.
The first of the songs to be released and also first up on the track list is “Love,” and it’s ultimately the pinnacle of the album. While it sticks true to typical Lana, it also introduces us to a shift in message and style obviously developed over time. She seems to sing a lot about the young and new generation as she wonders about one thing: the future. However, there is no fixation on it. We still are granted the nostalgic, retro vibes embedded in sound and music. “Don’t worry baby,” a repetitive line, is one strong indicator of this.
“Coachella – Woodstock In My Mind” is also a good representation of this pattern. As the title indicates, there is a mixture of the current events while reminiscing and remembering the past. In this case, it’s Coachella versus Woodstock. However, until you dig deeper within the lyrics, there is little to indicate the giant allusion within. The storytelling aspect is just one part that contributes to this poem like song. It relates to the listener that yearning for peace and worry over the current global atmosphere without saying it too outright. It’s a way to keep the integrity of the song without sounding too influenced by politics, a part that I appreciate.
The titular track “Lust for Life” (with The Weeknd) is the gateway for listeners to the modern sound of Lana Del Rey. Before this, her defining sound had been known as being almost depressing but real and down-to-earth with a mixture of vintage throwbacks. All of this has continued while there has been an addition of hip-hop influences in a discrete way. It isn’t too audacious, not twisting or warping the classic sense she always has. While on a few tracks in the background, it’s been slowly added to the mix and the most obvious example is this song. Other than this new news, the vocals between his falsetto with her wispiness make for a balanced duet that brings out the best in both singers. As usual, the Hollywood and icon-centrism Lana Del Rey has is brought out, specifically in the music video.
The ballad “Change” is a simple move that makes the most of the singular use of the piano and brings out once again a delicate and gentle side. While the lyrics may have been edited over and over, it feels like Lana Del Rey has sang this song for a lifetime across her whole career. The effortlessness of the piano only adds to the fragility and vulnerability her lyrics and vocals give. “13 Beaches” has a similar attitude, while the emphasis on the orchestra in the beginning seems like a throwback to the record Honeymoon.
Overall, it’s through-and-through a classic Lana Del Rey album with a few twists. While I certainly wish every song of hers was in-tune with some of her old stuff, it was time for a update and one I welcome. The deep meaning and symbolism behind every word brings life to the songs and brings up topics we can all relate to on some level.