When I think back to 2012, all of pop culture seems to be tinted by Lana Del Rey coloured glasses.
Her debut album, Born To Die, was a success, charting at No. 2 On the Billboard top 200 list (following Adele in the number 1 spot), and having over one million copies sold in the U.S. alone by the end of 2014.
Though she was new to the world, It didn’t take long for Del Rey to become a cultural icon. It appeared teenage girls all over the world were attempting to set their hair in loose curls, were buying more vintage clothing, and Instagramming pictures of Diet Mountain Dew. “It’s a Lana Del Rey thing” read a caption accompanying a picture of Diet Mountain Dew as posted by a girl from my high school).
Young girls finally had the perfect album to listen to post-breakup, and it felt as though young girls were being given permission to feel sad and dreary, yet sexy and capable all at the same time. I like to think of this as the Lana Del Rey affect.
Lana’s music has always contained a somewhat sad glamour. If Born To Die didn’t emphasise this enough, her single ‘Young and Beautiful’ for Baz Luhrman’s “The Great Gatsby” made that obvious. Though her music can often be grounded in heartbreak, Del Rey has a way of making this heartbreak sound sexy, intriguing, and as previously mentioned, glamorous, which is something I, and I’m sure many others have always loved about her. It’s this glamour that surrounds Del Rey and all that she writes that fuels her appeal, and it’s this sad glamour that has pulled me in yet again.
Del Rey has just released her fifth studio album, Lust For Life, and it’s everything I could have wanted. She takes the listeners on a journey through love, lust, and heartbreak. She takes us to bars, to Coachella, and to a park bench in the city, creating a feeling that the listener is in a movie or a dream. With a setting of war, her album can feel borderline apocalyptic at times, which somehow makes every song feel that much more romantic. After all, “When the world was at war before, we just kept dancing.” Though, this romanticism doesn’t always lead us to happy endings.
But while her lyricism is impressive, what I have found most thrilling about this new album is her unique ability to collaborate with so many different artists from across the musical spectrum and somehow make the album flow and feel like a complete body of work. The first half of her album enlists contemporary artists, The Weeknd, A$AP Rocky and Playboi Carti. Then, as the album seems to become more nostalgic, she calls upon Stevie Nicks and Sean Ono Lennon to help transport listeners back in time and play upon their heartstrings.
Del Rey has again successfully built a world in where listeners can lose themselves. With her honest lyricism packaged inside a sound that forces audiences to think her unreachable, she is inviting people to dive into a world of drama and lust, heartbreak and destruction.
Words by Sara Santora