I have a not-so-secret confession to make: I am obsessed with Lana Del Rey. If you’ve never heard of her, I am thrilled to be your introductory guide, starting with her latest album ‘Lust for Life,’ which was just released July 21st. The prolific Del Rey has been absolutely relentless in her song writing, churning out five albums in the last five years, and racking up a huge number of unreleased tracks which are just as polished and brilliant as anything else she’s produced. (Ask me about “Serial Killer,” “Velvet Crowbar,” or “Driving in Cars with Boys”) But we’re here to talk about ‘Lust for Life,’ which longtime fans of Lana will positively rejoice over, arguably being the singer’s best album to date. The production value is stellar, reminding me a lot of her debut album “Born to Die,” with plenty of multi-layered instruments and samples that make for something sublimely dynamic when heard though headphones or the vinyl edition of the record.
The record kicks off with the single “Love,” an epic, instrumental ode to young love that has a feel similar to her track “Young and Beautiful.” “Lust for Life” is next, another single off the album featuring Lana’s longtime friend The Weeknd, who sounds similar to a young Michael Jackson in this number. In fact, the record offers several collaborations, including two trap influenced tracks with A$AP Rocky, whom Lana has worked with on a number of occasions, including her “National Anthem” video, which featured the two as JFK and Jackie O. The slick and smooth “Summer Bummer” is catchy from the go, and is reminiscent of some of her early, unreleased songs such as “Back to Basics” and “Ghetto Baby.” On the flip side, “Beautiful People, Beautiful Problems” showcases Lana’s love of folk and features none other than rock legend Stevie Nicks. She continues her ode to vintage eras and 60’s counter culture with songs such as the sway-worthy “Coachella – Woodstock in My Mind,” “Tomorrow Never Came” (featuring Sean Ono Lennon), and the magnificent “When the World Was at War We Kept Dancing.” “Is it the end of an era?” Lana asks dazily during this song. “Is it the end of America?” noting that during the bygone Vietnam Era, rather than battling each other, as Americans have been doing lately, the people chose to unite, rather than fight.
Two major standouts for me however, are the sultry “Cherry,” (in which the singer hits the registers of a young Tori Amos) and “In My Feelings,” the later of which could very well be my favorite Lana song to date. Her lyrics “I’m smoking while I’m running….I’m crying while I’m cumming” brings about such raw, vivid melancholy, that you will want to sob and rejoice, both at the same time. In short, Lana will make you feel ALL THE FEELINGS. “Lust for Life” is Lana at her absolute best so far, and thankfully we’ve seen far from it all from Ms. Del Rey. She’s the brilliant blend of Joan Baez, Stevie Nicks, and all Americana. She’s green grass between your toes, sunshine in your face, and raindrops on your soul. ‘Lust for Life’ is pure, and purely Lana. She may not be “rock,” but she’s not really any genre in particular, and that is what I love about her. After all, how many other artists can feature rappers and rock icons on the same album, while remaining authentic and cohesive? ‘Lust for Life,’ much like Lana herself, may be genre-less, but that’s exactly what make both she and her albums terrific and timeless.