Lana Del Rey's New Album, 'Lust for Life,' Is Nothing Short of Dazzling
'Lust for Life' is iconic.
Unique, sincere, poignant, symbolic: These are all words I'd use to describe Lana del Rey's fifth full-length album, Lust for Life. And by symbolic, I quite literally mean that it's rife with layers and layers of symbolism for the listener to unpack.
All the same, though, the album doesn't take itself too seriously. The fact that Lana is able to pull off a song about Coachella and Woodstock in "Coachella – Woodstock in my Mind," of which we all know she is the reigning queen (sorry, Paris Hilton), speaks volumes to the culturally iconic status the singer has reached.
And, while Lana has been lambasted in the past for lyrics like "They say that the world was built for two // Only worth living if somebody is loving you," among other controversies surrounding her Born to Die album, it seems evident the mysterious pop icon stands in a different place today, at least in terms of her personal growth and happiness.
She's evolved. That is, if anything related to Lana's emotional state can be gleaned from the fact that the glamorous "Summertime Sadness" singer is actually smiling (!) on her new album cover, one that was certainly not missed by this longtime fan and intrepid lifestyle editor.
Lust for Life takes us on a journey, this much is true: From Lana to her listener, from interior landscape to exterior –– through a changing mindset and, ultimately, a turbulent political landscape. This is all done without the album being overtly political in and of itself, which is commendable.
It does, however, lend fans a hand with which to pull themselves up from the endless turmoil garnered by that political landscape and the interminable quicksand that today's news and social media outlets can often feel like.
Now, Lana gives us lyrics like, "Is it the end of an era? Is it the end of America?" in the retro-inspired "When the World Was At War We Kept Dancing."
She's retired the American flag visuals, folks. This shit is real.
That being said, Lana's dreamy, angelic vocals, rich sound, and powerful lyrics, as always, pack a dazzling punch. Altogether, it's clear that her image and perspective have shifted; the vagaries of which will certainly not be specified by the artist herself. Are they ever?
So, I'm left to speculate, to crawl deep "In My Feelings" so-to-speak, and to point out that I find the album completely breathtaking. Not only does it soothe, inspire, and electrify, it even incites –– if tracks like "Get Free" and "Change" are any indication –– a call to action, and a reminder that there is still hope, even through the process of all this change.
While there is art that reflects life (and a life that's been constructed to reflect art, as Lana's does), and while there is music, there is hope. While there are satisfyingly self-aware pop culture references in Lana's roster of hauntingly beautiful, Hollywood-centric material, there is hope. And yes, while there are people with flowers in their hair at Coachella, we can all still have hope.
Or, even if we choose to shirk this sentiment as naive –– an artifact of the past, that's forever romanticized by today's pop ballads –– we can still let Lana distract us with her melodic and dizzyingly beautiful lullabies. I, for one, am happy to hold onto that while listening to her tracks like "Love," "In My Feelings," and "Beautiful People, Beautiful Problems" (with Stevie Nicks, no less) over and over and over again.