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Album Review: “Lust For Life” by Lana Del Rey

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Lana Del Rey released her fourth studio album this summer called, “Lust for Life.” Her new music is classic Lana with a new twist. Overall, I really enjoyed it.

I first discovered Lana Del Rey after purchasing her first studio album (Born to Die) back in 2013. I was instantly hooked, and I was so ecstatic when she released her next album (Ultraviolence) that following year in 2014. I was even happier when she released her third album (Honeymoon) in the summer of 2015. Understandably, she took a bit more time to release the fourth. Just two years later, and Lana has gifted us with even more music. She truly spoils her fans – especially the impatient ones like me.

It is quite difficult to describe the unique style of Lana Del Rey, however I will try my best. Her music is dreamy and hazy; it takes you to another world and another time. She has a gospel voice that takes you back to the 30s, American pride that takes you back to the 50s, a psychedelic vibe that takes you back to the 70s, hip-hop beats and minimalistic electronica that takes you back to the 90s, and a modern way of mixing it all together to keep you grounded in the present day. Along with that, her lyrics are brutally honest and she is completely self-aware of how crazy she is (after all, the greatest artists are always the craziest.) Her lyrics carry the wisdom of an old sage as well as the crude humor of a teenager. Although each album is slightly different, these are the common themes that carry on throughout her music.

“Born to Die” can be best described as hip-hop alternative rock with a nostalgic touch. “Ultraviolence” is dreamier and hazier, as well as more “alternative” than “pop” compared to her earlier work. Both albums have a sense of darkness to them – but not in a depressing way, more like in a romanticizing way. Onto her third album (Honeymoon), there is still a theme of rainy day gloominess, however there is also a strong sense of positivity and hope.

I was curious about her new album – would Lana’s new music slope back into total darkness, or continue growing with light? Prior to the release date, she made a note to her fans on social media about “the dark times” we have been facing these past several months, specifically regarding the U.S. election – which has been a great inspiration for her new music. Well, it seems like these dark times have inspired Lana Del Rey, the queen of darkness, to find greater hope.

This new album, “Lust for Life,” is certainly Lana Del Rey’s most inspiring album. The album artwork shows Lana with a giant, toothy grin on her face. (It should be noted that her past three albums display her with a blank, toothless expression.) Something distinctly different about this album is that it includes featuring artists on several tracks. I was a little disappointed when I first found out she would be collaborating with others – Lana Del Rey is such a strong and unique artist who can sing on her own. However, she made it work, and I’m glad she tried something new.

“Lust for Life” begins with the track “Love,” which sets a theme of hope for the entire album. It emphasizes the power of love over worry & anxiety. It is about embracing the moment as a new beginning and a blank slate, verses fear of what could go wrong in the future. “Doesn’t matter if I’m not enough for the future or the things to come, cause I’m young and in love.”

The next track is titled “Lust for Life,” featuring The Weeknd. The message of the song is straightforward: a lust for life keeps us alive. “We’re the masters of our own fate, we’re the captains of our own souls.” It’s another hopeful track, possibly even more positive than the previous one. As the line “take off, take off…” is repeated, I believe on a deeper level it refers to taking off the invisible masks we wear in life to protect ourselves, which holds us back from experiencing living life to the fullest.

“13 Beaches” is dreamy, catchy, and peaceful. It reminds you of being on the beach… all by yourself. “Cherry” is completely random, but is also another track with an uplifting message about the power of love. “Summer Bummer” and “Groupie Love” both feature rapper A$AP Rocky.

The following tracks (“Coachella – Woodstock in My Mind,” “God Bless America – And All The Beautiful Women In It,” and “When The World Was At War We Kept Dancing” continues with the optimistic and positive vibes. Her lyrics state that the world is constantly crumbling but the human race still goes on with faith.

“Tomorrow Never Came” and “Heroin” are sadder songs that easily fit onto older Lana Del Rey albums. However the album ends by swinging back onto happier feelings with “Change” and “Get Free.”

Lana Del Rey continues to satisfy with her new music. I can’t say that this album beats her previous ones – however it is still spectacular! I am happy to see a greater theme of hope in Lana Del Rey’s music while she still carries on with her romanticized, dreamy despair. She acknowledges that war and conflict is a part of life, and once you accept that, you can begin to make a change.

Overall rating: 4/5 stars