Prior to listening to Lana Del Rey's album, I had said I was not sure if I was sold on the album as a whole what with the singles that had been let out, and I was teetering on the edge of not caring. My opinion drastically changed, however, when I finally got a listen on Spotify. While some songs fell short, there were many, many songs that were quick to impress.
The introduction track to Lust for Life is Del Rey’s single “Love” which was released earlier this year on February 20th as part of the promotion for the album. The song, from what i gather when I hear lyrics such as the opening verse, is a dedication to her fans and sets up an opportunistic look to the future, which is the same vibe she carries throughout multiple other songs on the record. It still reigns as one of my favorite original songs of the five that were released. Del Rey’s knack for sound effects is admirable as she incorporates camera shutters within the chorus, a signature move of the artist from the very beginning, dating back to when she made her own music videos for other classic songs. While there are better songs on the album to be the introduction track to the rest, it does set the vibe for the rest of tracks to follow.
Following “Love” is the second single from the album that was released in advance on May 22nd of this year. “Lust for Life” starts of just as hypnotic the ten thousandth time as it does the first. Truth be told, and as cliche as it may have been, “Lust for Life” is one of the tracks that should have been to considered to either start or finish the album, depending on the direction she wished to go with how she wanted audiences to feel afterwards. For instance, the title track sets the mood for the album and so in “Lust for Life’s” case, even the title is optimistic; in contrast, it could finish the album as a way to move on to better and happier moods in the future.
That being said, the song itself is still phenomenal after listening to it for the past few months, and it never fails to get even the strongest Lana fans to sing along due to it’s reference to older songs through the one lyrics- “my boyfriend's back, and he’s cooler than ever”. It really encapsulates the freedom of her fans throughout the whole song which gradually builds to a bigger climax just before the bridge hits. It starts subtle and builds to a grand close, and while there was talk prior to the album's release about the number of collaborations Lust for Life includes, her collaboration with The Weeknd in “Lust for Life” s done subtly so she is not overpowered on her own song, yet incorporates his voice well to emphasize both talents well.
3. “13 Beaches”
“13 Beaches” was one of the songs I was most anticipating on the album since I heard the samples that were released earlier in the week. Del Rey states that the song is about how sit took thirteen beaches before she was finally free of paparazzi, which is an ongoing theme from her song “High by the Beach” from her album, Honeymoon, as lanadelrey.wikia.com pointed out. It starts off with a monologue that I can not quite make out at the moment, and then follows into the first verse. It should come as no surprise that the vocals are haunting, and they, as well as the instrumentals, remind me of one f her earlier songs, “Born to Die”. With this comes lyrics that I have not been able to listen to without having chills, such as “ but you still can find me if you ask nicely underneath the pines.” It is not a favorite on the album, but it lived up to the hype that Lana fans instilled.
“Cherry” first debuted earlier in the year at KROQ’s Weenie Roast festival, however the quality was low in many videos I attempted to watch, and so I planned to not listen to it at all until the record came out much later. Of all the comments on the videos, it appeared to already be a fan favorite, but with all the hype comes big expectations. When the record came out, it was one of the songs that i was scared to listen to because of said expectations, but I did- and I loved it. “Cherry” is sensual, romantic, explicit, and just as exciting as I had projected it to be.Lyrically, the piece phenomenal as Del Rey has a gift of mixing the explicit with the elegant; vocally, she leaves no verse untouched from emotion, and touches every note with feeling.“Cherry” is one of the more powerful songs on the record due to the range of emotion she conveys through low and high notes from beginning to end. It is safe to say, I can see why it was so highly anticipated, and I predict it will be on reply for another two weeks or more.
5. “White Mustang”
“White Mustang” was one of the songs I was most anticipating from the snippets that were leaked towards the beginning via her Instagram stories. I had predicted either “White Mustang” or “Groupie Love” to be a personal favorite form all the samples that I had heard, and to listen to this excited me when the time came. “White Mustang” is the epitome of innocence in the new Lana Era, and there’s something about her soft singing that draws listeners in and keeps the attention until it builds to it’s bridge. It wasn’t until I heard the whistling at around 2:20 that I was hooked; that was an excellent touch.
I had written a review about “Summer Bummer” a few weeks ago in which I had said :
I can not blame “Summer Bummer” for not being like “Ridin’” because of the different eras and maturity, but it fell flat from all the hype.(... ) The song is not by any means bad, the vocals are good and as mentioned before, I do love ASAP and Lana’s collaborations, but overall the most amazing part of the track is the bridge, which is short lived.
Over the course of a couple weeks, however, I can’t bring myself to skip the song. While the collaboration is more on Rocky than Del Rey, “Summer Bummer” is one of those songs that it takes awhile to enjoy. I think that the more lyrics one knows of the song, the more they are able to enjoy, whereas other songs on the album can be enjoyed regardless if they are memorized. Even though it is not my favorite collaboration on the album, it has grown on me immensely.
“Groupie Love” was also featured in the article referenced above. In the article, I say that is sounds cohesive with “Love” and brings back memories of listening to unreleased song “Never Let me Go”. When I wrote about “White Mustang” above, I said I predicted this track to be my favorite on the album. While that is not the case, it is up there in my personal top five. The vocals are soft which sounds amazing coming after “Summer Bummer” ,and much like “13 Beaches”, it still manages to send chills on the tenth listen. ASAP Rocky does his part justice as well, and I would go as far to say as it is better than “Ridin’”.
8. “In My Feelings”
Truth be told, I never saw much talk of “in My Feelings” prior to the record being released, which lead me to not think much on it. I was pleasantly surprised to hear how strong it starts out. “In My Feelings” is the song every girl needs when going through the end of a relationship because the instrumentals are are strong, but not overpowering to the point where Del Rey is outdone. It is haunting just how much emotion she can vocalize in this one song alone, which is interesting considering the rumored subject of it all is G-Eazy, a love interest she had only recently taken up at around the time of Coachella.
Speaking of Coachella, “Woodstock in my Mind” follows, which is the last song briefly mentioned in my past article. I had said,
Although I was not fond of it at first, after a few listens I finally came to terms that the song was actually good. It is not quite my favorite, but I do think it does encapsulate the same sense of projection as that of John Lennon’s “Imagine”
While I would skip the song now since I have heard it so many times, the bridge still manages to get me “in my feelings” if you will.
Hearing the placement of the song on the album, it’s as if Lana incorporated two albums into one- seeing as there were more songs on Lust for Life than any of her past records. “Coachella-Woodstock in my Mind” kicks off part two: first part being romance, second part being the future of both personal and humankind.
“God Bless America-And All Beautiful Women in it” was yet another song I had not heard many things for, and the same thing will apply to the rest of the songs as the album comes to a finish. It starts low and at first I was not sold on it because it sounded like every other gorgeous Lana Del Rey song out there, and so I simply enjoyed it. When it hit the chorus is when I was able to fully appreciate it. I’ve said it before but she truly has a gift for sound effects in the chorus for that iconic Del Rey flare.
“When the World was at War We Kept Dancing” is one of my top five song songs on the album if only for the chorus. By now I have started to notice it is an ongoing theme for Lana’s songs to make me feel a whole new spirit just entered. From the moment it begins, it is the most haunting sound Del Rey has let out to this date. It is dark, it is beautiful, the vocals are phenomenal and intimate, and instrumentally it resembles something apocalyptic and of all the songs this is one I hope to see a music video for in the future.
I was skeptical when it was first announced that there would be an abundant amount of collaborations to be featured on the album, and I had never been a fan of Stevie Nicks- not because I did not like the music, but I simply never cared enough to listen- so it should come as no surprise that “Beautiful People, Beautiful problems” was one song I was not sure I would take to, but was willing to give it a shot. The way Nicks’ and Del Rey’s voices sound together can only be described as one of three words: sad, classic, and nostalgic. They both have very unique sounds to each of them and it came as a shock that I enjoyed it as much as I did.”Beautiful People, Beautiful Problems” takes me back to the Ultraviolence era, and adds to it.
“Much like her song with Stevie Nicks, I was skeptical, and had never taken to the Beatles’ sound nor had I any thought on Sean Lennon as an artist. I would say my reaction to “Beautiful People, Beautiful Problems” were almost identical in how I was pleasantly surprised I liked the couple’s voices much more than I had presumed much earlier, but the difference lies in the lyrics of the voice. I prefer “Tomorrow Never Came” to “Beautiful People, Beautiful Problems” because the chorus hits harder and is much more tragic, and with the pair’s voices it leaves a very strong impression, and thus is another top favorite because it makes me want to cry over a long lost love I never had.
While many, if not most, fans have said “Heroin” is one of their favorites on the album, I just don’t understand the hype truth be told. The first couple minutes are elegantly monotonous, and I can sit and enjoy it but it doesn’t make me want to sing along or enjoy life until a little over halfway in. When the bridge hits at 3:25 it really begins to register why someone would enjoy the song, I only wish that it would carry on with the same energy throughout the entire track. After the record wa released, and Lana had begun to perform the song accapella, I have found an appreciation to it. Without the bridge, the instrumental is just distracting.That being said, it is not a bad song, I just don’t see where the factor is that set’s it apart and amps it to “favorite” status.
Starting right after “Heroin” is when I just wanted to go back t the beginning, but I figure I would miss good songs if I did not, and so after one listen to confirm they were at the very minimum “good”, I had begun just to repeat the record when “Heroin” ends. I say this because I have not listened to “Change”, nor have I listened to “Get Free” many times, and so my thoughts on them are not quite as appreciative as I would like them to be.
Much like “Heroin”, it was difficult to find something that differentiates the song from just another ballad, and it takes up until after the chorus to hear just what makes it all work. The magic truly happens when it reaches the chorus, but otherwise it is simply just a slow resting ballad to come down after all of the high energy summer bops and hopeless romantic tracks prior. I find the magic to be found lyrically, and one might even say it is found to be sentimental meaning, and that is where the power is in “Change”. While listening to it may not be quite as exciting as others, the lyrics:
Everytime that we run
We don't know what it's from
Now we finally slow down
We feel close to it
There's a change gonna come
I don't know where or when
But whenever it does We'll be here for it
Are where the song soars. Even so, it takes more than that to appreciate a song in it’s entirety, and thus makes it my least favorite song on the record.
16. “Get Free”
“Get Free” keeps surprises going due to how slow it starts, which I figured would be something much like “Change” where it was another slow and contemporary ballad, but it doesn’t take long until the song shows exactly how much potential it lives up to. It reminds me very much of the opening credits to the HBO serie, Magic City, while ironically painting the same exact setting of a 1950’s paradise.
“Get Free”, vocally, is the epitome of a freedom track, and pays homage to another classic Lana Del Rey song, “Ride” through lyrics:
Sometimes it feels like I've got a war in my mind
I want to get off, but I keep riding the rideI never
And it continues to amaze through the rest of the chorus.
really noticed that I had to decide
To play someone's game or live my own life
It is a song that, when listening to the record, I sometimes forget just how good it is until I sit through it once more and am able to appreciate it once again.What really makes the song is how listeners get to hear the “baby” voice from older songs (“Radio”, “Off to the Races”) in the middle of the chorus as she says “Out of the Black, into the Blue”.
One thing that truly irritates me (and I say “irritate” with the loosest of meanings) is how the album would have also been perfectly concluded with “Tomorrow Never Came”, but if we are to believe what Lana says herself, the optimism in “Get Free” was not a horrible close by any means, and perhaps it was just my listening to it on Shuffle first that sets that idea in my mind.
Overall, the album in itself does not disappoint and is a drastic shift from the older Lana Del Rey while also paying homage to older eras with mentions of pearls, the theme of the color blue, and the ever so noted “my boyfriend's back”. I will say, however, that perhaps the number of songs was a little overbearing because although the last two tracks were well done, it proved a lot to sit through. Maybe if one is busy while listening to the record, it would not be too noticeable.
Congratulations, Miss Del Rey! You did it again, a solid five albums, and we are already looking forward to what you have in store for the future!