What is Lana Del Rey’s next phase going to be? As the trailer and three singles from Lust for Life began to grace us with their presence, I kept asking myself that question; the trailer was suggesting a “witchcraft” theme, and I was hoping she was going to release a black metal album about earth magic and getting banged by hot daddies, but no, that didn’t seem likely. Maybe a drug- and sex-fueled, 60’s occult, psychedelia motif—Invasion of the Thunderbolt Pagoda meets Pet Sounds? No, that can’t be it either. Questions…
“Love” was released first, and even though I do enjoy the song, it seemed like a safe single, free of any spoiler alerts. Then “Lust For Life” came out but was musically and thematically different than “Love”; it was also really good. Then (god I can barely even type this song title without burping up barf), “Coachella–Woodstock In My Mind”, which has to be one of the worst songs and analogies ever conceived, was unfortunately unleashed on the masses, and I think we all collectively wish it was shoved back into its cage.
Even Sarah McLachlan would leave this puppy in a kill shelter.
In the end, this eclectic trilogy answered zero questions and ended up just raising more.
Then Lust for Life was bequeathed upon the human race…like Honeymoon, this album took some patience…was it worth the wait? Absolutely!
At first glance, musically, it was not much of a stretch for Lana; the songs are dreamy and hazy, sun drenched in her usual summertime worship—literally like being “High By the Beach”. When you close your eyes, you will feel the warm breeze of the ocean and the smoke from your blunt lightly brush your face as they swirl through your ears singing “Love”, “Lust For Life”, “Summer Bummer”, “Groupie Love”, “In My Feelings”, “Heroin” and “Get Free”.
All of these tracks sound like the long-haired children of Born To Die and Honeymoon in all the right ways.
In true Lana style, her forlorn and perpetually heartbroken ghost roams the lands and shores in search of salvation and true love; I have never done anything to hurt Lana, but “13 Beaches” still makes me feel like I did.
Like, what kind of person am I? And on “Cherry”, I go and ruin all of her fucking peaches? Like the worthless shit I am? Then Lust for Life ends and like waking up from a nightmare you thought was real, I remember what a complete fag I am and none of those songs could even have been about me. Then I go back to looking at videos of the vocalist from Harm’s Way.
And pretending that he is singing “Young and Beautiful” to me in an empty, steamy locker room at a power lifting gym while the average-sized gym towel he is wearing barely covers his massive thighs and the only words I can barely muster at the sight of this are “hurt me”…so make sure you check out the new Harm’s Way album coming out later this year, their follow up to 2015’s Rust For Life.
One of the most exciting and anticipated tracks on Lust for Life is Lana Del Rey’s duet with the great Stevie Nicks.
“Beautiful People with Beautiful Problems”. Lana’s melancholy vocals guide you through the dimly lit first verse and chorus; on the second verse Nick’s crooning comes crashing in like the Kool-Aid man through your living room wall, and even though I have no idea what the fuck she is singing about, I teared up immediately. As dreary as this song is, the warmth radiating from the familiarity of Stevie’s vocals is such a pleasant feeling, reminding me of the magic that is Nicks.
Other tracks such as the ominous “When the World Was At War We Kept Dancing” tackle the backed-up toilet that is our current government, and the disses on “In My Feelings” and the simplicity of “White Mustang” were pleasant surprises that helped keep the album from stumbling on monotony.
My only gripe with Lust for Life is the length of the album; 14 songs in 72 minutes is a lot to take in.
Especially when there are a couple of total duds, like “Coachella–Woodstock in Hell”. “God Bless America–And All the Beautiful Women In It”, may be a great song lyrically, but the music is not, and the nod to MIA’s “Paper Planes” gunshot sample and the “God Bless America” chorus come off as super corny. “Change” and “Heroin” are nice songs and all but could have been safely used as B-Sides.
I mean, Lana Del Rey, Lizzy Grant, Jay Mailer and whatever other aliases she has used have more songs combined than all of Anal Cunt and Pig Destroyer; in other words, she can safely shelve these tracks.
I hope Lana Del Rey keeps continuing on her vision quest and persists as one of the best vocalists of this shitty decade.
Her music is always soothing, intimate and unique with a new aesthetic built around each of her albums in a way that keeps things interesting. James Pligge is the vocalist from Harm’s Way and should come to Providence and let me ruin his peaches.