Lana Del Rey’s still got sum­mer blues, but lusts for life

Muscat Daily - - FEATURES -

Lana Del Rey emerged on the mu­sic scene as a haunt­ing fig­ure. She was Born to Die, in the words of her break­through al­bum, and dark­ness per­me­ated her sound and world­view.

Five years af­ter Born to Die, the pro­lific singer on Fri­day put out her fourth ma­jor-la­bel al­bum, whose ti­tle - Lust for Life - would ap­pear to show the in­verse mind­set.

Yet for the 32 year old singer, sor­row and joy are in­tri­cately in­ter­con­nected. On Lust for Life, she en­joys the world’s plea­sures all the while feel­ing cursed by their ephemer­al­ity.

Lana car­ries the al­bum through her quickly recog­nis­able voice, breathy and co­quet­tish yet saun­ter­ing with echoes of Nancy Si­na­tra. Lust for Life builds on Lana’s sig­na­ture cine­matic style, melan­cholic with an aura of clas­sic Hol­ly­wood, yet the al­bum also shows touches of hip-hop swag­ger - most ap­par­ent in seam­less ap­pear­ances by rap­per A$AP Rocky.

The ti­tle track - no re­la­tion to punk icon Iggy Pop’s clas­sic Lust for Life - brings in emerg­ing R&B su­per­star The Weeknd, who in his mel­liflu­ous falsetto at times reaches a higher range than Lana.

Even if the song cel­e­brates life, it opens with a dark al­lu­sion to a Hol­ly­wood sui­cide be­fore find­ing joy in the here and now.

Take off / Take off all your clothes, Del Rey in­tones, as The Weeknd sings, They say only the good die young / That just ain't right.

Lana teams up with other ma­jor names on the al­bum. Ste­vie Nicks, her sandy voice smoothly com­ple­ment­ing Lana’s, joins for Beau­ti­ful Peo­ple, Beau­ti­ful Prob­lems, while Sean Len­non brings a gen­tle beauty to To­mor­row Never Came.

If Lust for Life largely stays true to the sound honed by Lana, the New York-born singer reaches into new ter­ri­tory as she speaks out, in her own way, on pol­i­tics.

Lana has hardly be­come a protest singer. But she be­comes a uniquely ef­fec­tive voice in turn­ing her for­lorn sound into a re­flec­tion on the Amer­ica of Don­ald Trump.

On God Bless Amer­ica - And All Beau­ti­ful Women In It, Lana’s gloomi­ness gives way to up­lift as she finds sol­i­dar­ity in the masses of women who took to the streets af­ter the shock of Trump’s elec­tion.

May you stand proud and strong / Like Lady Lib­erty, shin­ing all night long, Lana sings.

The of­ten dour Lana is again star­tling op­ti­mistic as she reaches into his­tory on When the World Was at War We Kept Danc­ing.

“Is it the end of an era? Is it the end of Amer­ica? No, it's only the be­gin­ning. If we hold on to hope, we will have a happy end­ing,” she sings.

In a re­cent in­ter­view with Elle UK, Lana said it was im­pos­si­ble in the cur­rent mo­ment to es­cape pol­i­tics: “It would be weird to be mak­ing a record dur­ing the past 18 months and not com­ment."

Yet her lyri­cism more of­ten takes up lone­li­ness than com­mu­nity. The singer who scored an early hit with Sum­mer­time Sad­ness re­turns to sim­i­lar ter­ri­tory on Sum­mer Bum­mer.

Lana Del Rey

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