Lana Del Rey's latest album, Lust for Life, explores new themes beyond her signature melancholy aesthetic. Del Rey's much-anticipated album dropped on July 21 where she surprised fans with songs dedicated to celebrating life and lyrics filled with affection.
Fans can still expect Del Rey's faded Hollywood glamour, distorted Americana and at times, her seemingly toxic relationships. However, Del Rey is able to take these themes to a new, even more grandiose, level.
Lust for Life is Del Rey's longest album to date with 16 tracks and also her first to feature other artists.
"Love," the first single released from the album, is an example of Del Rey's shifted perception of the emotion that has driven her records. Rather than focusing on the downsides of love: the heartbreak, the obsession and how transient it can be, Del Rey reassures that love can still lift and overcome.
Del Rey is singing to her listener's in "Love" and gives them unlikely advice one wouldn't expect when listening to her past songs. "The world is yours, and you can't refuse it, seen so much you could get the blues, but that don't mean that you should abuse it," she sings. Critics worried Lust for Life would explore more political themes, but rather it discusses the results of change, not the actions that cause it.
Lust for Life is filled not only with iconic pop culture references but also some of music's most famous artists like Stevie Nicks, A$AP Rocky, Playboy Carti, The Weeknd and the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
What separates this album from the past is how self-aware Del Rey has become. On "Coachella - Woodstock In My Mind," the most typical Lana Del Rey sounding song to date and also the most eye-rolling inducing, Del Rey reflects on the past and present at a music festival while looking at all the flower crowned covered heads. It is by far her most meta song, a nod to the aesthetic she knows she represents.
"Tomorrow Never Came" featuring Sean Ono Lennon is filled with references to Bob Dylan, Scott F. Fitzgerald, and Elton John. Del Rey uses the chance to idolize The Beatles while also creating a tender lost-love song.
Del Rey's sensual and vintage voice is what draws listener's in and it is no more apparent than in "Cherry" and "White Mustang." However, Del Rey saves her most inspired and arguably the best two songs until the end of the album.
Producer, Rick Nowles, revealed to genius.com Del Rey recorded "Change" the night before the album was due. The song is simple, Del Rey's voice and a piano. She sings about the unpredictability of change and being prepared for whatever that change entails.
"Get Free" is the last song on Lust for Life and sums up Del Rey's mission for the whole album. "Finally, I'm crossing the threshold/From the ordinary world/To the reveal of my heart," sings Del Rey.
Fans anticipated this would be Del Rey's "happy album" especially when comparing the cover of Lust for Life featuring a smiling, seemingly happy Lana Del Rey to the exact opposite of her pose on her first album, Born to Die. Lust for Life is not so much a representation of happiness from Del Rey but more of a promise of change in the right direction.