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Lana Del Rey - Lust For Life (Album Review)

Wednesday, 09 August 2017 Written by Milly McMahon

Thwarted in her attempts to discover a redefining love that might heal each painful loss she has endured, Lana Del Rey defiantly pursues that which she cannot have. Purring her siren songs, the irony in her every lyric is poetic.

An exquisite and mystical creature, Del Rey has reinvented herself time and again for the purposes of her art and still offers no explanation as to what or who she is. On her fifth album, ‘Lust For Life’, the artist remains a concept: the timeless composer with zero tangibility yet truly impactful sex appeal.

Outwardly it appears that ‘Lust For Life’ is Del Rey’s ‘happy’ album. On its sleeve she is photographed in portrait, her hair decorated with flowers as she smiles exuberantly in front of a pickup.

But what differentiates this body of work from what has come before is her separation of self from the majority of the tracks and an almost dread-infused sense of the inevitable.

She holds a mirror up lyrically, describing what she sees rather than simply how she feels. When The World Was At War We Kept Dancing is a take on our dystopian present, viewing Donald Trump’s degradation of the US. “Is it the end of an era?” she sings. “Is it the end of America?”

Del Rey’s tear-stained rendering of silver screen Hollywood denies a disposable modernist approach to art and politics. But, at the same time, her constant amplifying of the raw beauty of the heart’s desires often causes the rest of the world to evaporate.

Reality and time do not have a solid footing in Del Rey’s world, such is the power of her aesthetic. She embraces hurt and darkness, challenging her listener to suspend judgement and forget normality. The album opener, Love, mutes surrounding sounds to bring a soft spotlight onto the powerful loneliness and melancholy that lurks within.  

Heroin is another dark gem. “I’m flying to the moon again, dreaming about heroin and how it gave you everything and took your life away,” she sings. Del Rey sees no need to play it safe here; she swears more freely and openly speaks on her desires. “Taking all my medicine to take my thoughts away,” she sings.

Cherry is arguably one of the defining moments of her career to date. It doubles down on her signature grandiose, cinematic sound. Never before has she painted a picture of spurned love more graphically, while it is decorated with the most penetrating metaphors and musical crescendos.

A word also on Del Rey’s continued collaboration with producer Rick Nowels. Between them they have marshalled a raft of co-producers and guest spots from A$AP Rocky, Playboi Carti, Sean Ono Lennon, Stevie Nicks and the Weeknd, with all falling perfectly into place. That is quite an achievement given those artists' own existing stylistic capital.

The closer, Get Free, leads us back to what Del Rey has been trying to tell us from her earliest lyrics. She whispers: “Sometimes it feels like I have a war in my mind.” We are united as a performer and audience. ‘Lust For Life’ allows Del Rey’s fans to understand better the way the she sees the world, as opposed to solely the personal. That is an exciting progression for America’s modern sweetheart.

Lana Del Rey Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue August 22 2017 - LIVERPOOL Echo Arena Liverpool
Wed August 23 2017 - GLASGOW SSE Hydro

Click here to compare & buy Lana Del Rey Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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