Lana Del Ray

Lust For Life: Album Review

It’s been a busy two weeks. I worked two festivals and I have another one coming up this weekend. As a result the blog has taken a back seat. Luckily I have a little time to review the second album that came out July 21st from one of my two favorite artists. I haven’t had much time to listen to it because I decided to listen to Foster the People’s (the other July 21st release) latest first. I saw them at Lollapalooza last weekend and I needed some prep time with their new material. Yesterday though, I began listening to Lust For Life, Lana Del Rey’s fourth full length album.

In late February, Lana released the first single from the album, “Love”, claiming that this album was for her fans and those who have supported her throughout the years. In the months following, Lana released two other singles from the album “Lust for Life” ft. The Weeknd and “Coachella – Woodstock on my Mind”. She also announced that the album would feature collaborations with A$AP Rocky, Stevie Nicks, Sean Lennon, and Playboy Carti.

Lana’s newest album offers music with a brighter feel than her sensual darkness heard in previous works. Her hypnotizing vocals are still a staple in Lust For Life though. The lyrics are what gives each song on the new record a more positive vibe. The music also gives a bit of a hip-hop/electronic feel.

As a fan of almost all of Lana Del Rey’s work, I think this album is a great comeback for the pop starlet. I fell in love with her because of Born to Die. I loved her even more after the Paradise EP. Ultraviolence was my go-to album for weeks after its debut, but then Honeymoon happened. I felt like I wasn’t into as many songs and I thought Lana was letting her music go downhill. So for me, Lust For Life is definitely a comeback with a sound that gives a nod to Born to Die as far as the hip-hop beats go.

Even though I’ve just started getting into this album because my listening binge began yesterday, I’m telling you it’s a good one. Is it at the level of Born to Die? I don’t think so, but it’s a damn good album. The amount of collaborations alone is a selling point. There are songs for everyone on it. My personal favorites are “In My Feelings”, “Coachella – Woodstock on my Mind”, and “Beautiful People, Beautiful Problems” ft. Stevie Nicks. It’s worth listening to. Even if you’re hesitant on buying it based on what I just said, listen to it on Spotify first. I’m sure it’ll convince you. Lana has come back with a vengeance and you don’t want to miss out!

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Honeymoon: Album Review

It wasn’t my intention to not post for the last month, but sometimes life happens. And so it goes. But, what better time to get back into the swing of blog posting than with the release of Lana Del Rey’s fourth studio album, Honeymoon?

Yesterday the pop goddess released her fourth full length to the masses of her adoring fans. As one of those adoring fans, I, of course, needed to buy it. Compared to 2014’s Ultraviolence and 2012’s Born to Die, Honeymoon is missing something for me. It feels like it lacks varying melodies and is less upbeat. Let’s be real though, Lana Del Rey doesn’t sing upbeat bubble gum pop music. She’s not Taylor Swift and she definitely won’t be shaking it off anytime soon. Still, even for her usual, many songs off the new album like “Honeymoon”, “Terrence Loves You”, and “God Knows I Tried”, are soft, slow and missing that little edgy background beat. Sure there’s still background music to her songs, but it’s slower than what we’re used to for the singer. This album focuses more on Lana’s powerful hypnotic vocals.

One thing remains true when it comes to Lana Del Rey: girl can sing. Focusing on the singing gives Honeymoon a different feel than her other albums where many of her songs are the whole package. Her choice of lyrics and themes also don’t stray much from standard Lana songs. None of the lyrics reach to the level of quality like “my pussy tastes like Pepsi cola” did, but there’s still some gems. I mean one of her singles off the new album is called “High By the Beach” with the line “all I wanna do is get high by the beach” repeated continuously throughout the song. One of my personal favorite lines comes from the song “24”, “if you lie down with dogs, then you’ll get fleas.” I also dig the chorus in “Freak”, particularly the lines that go “baby if you want to leave, come to California, be a freak like me too.”

Overall, I’ll probably fall in love with this album after listening to it a few times. For my tastes though, it needs to grow on me. I have no doubt it will. I love Lana Del Rey as a music artist, so it shouldn’t be a problem. If you love her as much as I do, I highly recommend purchasing the album.

My song recommendations (favorites) from Honeymoon:

  1. High By the Beach
  2. Music to Watch Boys to
  3. Freak
  4. Art Deco

Live Fast. Die Young. Be Wild. And Have Fun.

Enigma. It’s a word that means someone or something that is difficult to explain (according to Merriam-Webster Online). When I was in middle school we had a word study class to help prepare us for SAT’s. We had a new word list every week and we would do exercises to help us become familiar with the words and their meanings. This was my first exposure to the word enigma. But only in recent times can I think of someone to perfectly fit the description: Lana Del Rey…or if you want to get technical, Elizabeth Grant.

Maybe a name change is the first clue to the perplexing modern day singer, Lana Del Rey. In fact she started to get bigger once she made the change (she released an album under the name Lana Del Ray called A.K.A. Lizzy Grant). The world’s first exposure to LDR, mine included, came in 2011 when she released the single “Video Games” and shortly after made a highly criticized appearance performing it on SNL.

I must admit I downloaded the song prior to seeing her SNL appearance, but the song never stood out to me. It was one I would skip while listening to my most recently added songs on iTunes during that time period. Up until the following summer I didn’t really hear much about her but as the record states, she released her “debut” album in January 2012, Born to Die (she bought back the rights from that 2010 A.K.A. Lizzy Grant one and pulled it from the shelves hence the quotations around debut). The summer of 2012 is when she hit me though, like a ton of bricks near the end of June. I watched her video for “National Anthem” and I was hooked.

See the thing is the 4th of July is my favorite holiday. Years prior to hearing “National Anthem” I created a playlist for the 4th of July of songs that referred to or mentioned the holiday, fireworks, or anything else that had to do with Independence Day. For instance, I’m in no way a Katy Perry fan, but I listen to her song “Fireworks” around the 4th every year just cause it has something to do with the holiday. So you can understand why I found an instant attraction to “National Anthem”. Not only that, but it was/is a pretty good song (believe me…I have songs on that playlist that aren’t that great but they made the cut cause there are limited 4th of July songs). After listening to “National Anthem” repetitively for weeks, even after the 4th holiday, I bought Born to Die. It was about a month after I first heard “National Anthem”. I fell in love with the album and loved Lana Del Rey ever since.

But let’s get back to enigma. Why is Lana an enigma? If you have ever read an article about her or listened to an interview with her, you’d understand why. She’s made some interesting decisions in her life. Her life also always seemed to be filled with controversy. She spent time living in a trailer park (not because she had to for lack of resources). Her song lyrics glorify violence, sex, money, and degradation of women. She’s made statements that disregard feminism. There’s even questions about how she or whoever came up with name Lana Del Rey. She’s just an entire mystery. But maybe it’s just the case that she’s entirely misunderstood.

I love Lana Del Rey, but I disagree with a lot of the meaning behind her lyrics. I disagree with her views on feminism and I probably wouldn’t engage in the same questionable behavior she does/did (I have my own fair share of strangeness anyway). Yet I still love her. I’ll buy a new record if she releases one. I’d go to see her again if she had a show near me (saw her last spring…it was amazing and she was amazing). Why? Because I don’t take her statements/lyrics/decisions/etc. too seriously. I honestly don’t think she takes her words or behavior seriously either (I could be wrong but it’s just an opinion). At least not as seriously as most of her critics do. She’s an artist. She’s trying to make and create art with and through her music. Instead of over-analyzing her songs and videos about what they represent, I just take them for what they are. Artwork. She bases her music/videos on what she feels and what inspires her and that’s something we can’t take away from anyone. Sure sometimes her lyrics can seem pretty ridiculous, but her music is deep, alluring, and hypnotizing. It has an old school vibe to it too. It creates a nostalgic sensation like you could have heard something similar in the 60’s or 70’s. So despite any negative views associated with her, you still have to credit her for the way she sounds and the artistry she demonstrates. I think that’s the sure way to fully appreciate the enigma that is Lana Del Rey.

(As a side note, Lana Del Rey released an EP and another album since Born to Die. In the fall of 2012 she released the EP Paradise along with Born to Die: Paradise Edition which contained all the songs on Born to Die as well as the Paradise EP and a few additional songs. In June 2014 she released the full length album Ultraviolence. She also wrote and starred in her own short film in 2013, Tropico. This summer she’ll embark on The Endless Summer Tour.)

Lana Del Rey Song Recommendations:

1. “National Anthem”

2. “Diet Mountain Dew”

3. “Ride”

4. “Money, Power, Glory”

5. “American”

6. “West Coast”

7. “Brooklyn Baby”

8. “Cola”

9. “Blue Jeans”

10. “Young & Beautiful” (Song from The Great Gatsby Soundtrack)