By Hayden Wright
When Lana Del Rey burst onto the scene in 2011, many listeners and critics weren’t quite sure what to make of her: The self-proclaimed “Gangsta Nancy Sinatra” served epic, cinematic pop compositions with a benzodiazepine haze. This earned her a cult following in the millions, slightly left of mainstream pop but beloved on the Internet. Her work since then has eschewed the EDM and bubble gum trappings of the day in favor of a wistful, retro, sometimes mournful aesthetic—with sneaky humor and anthemic melodies.
Since her debut Born to Die, subsequent releases Ultraviolence and Honeymoon have only deepened and enriched her persona and unique point-of-view.
Del Rey’s penchant for irony and noirish arrangements don’t fail her on Lust for Life, her excellent new album that finds the singer-songwriter sticking to what she knows best. With 16 tracks and major collaborators like the Weeknd and Stevie Nicks, Lana continues to make music on her own terms.
Here are five of our favorite songs on Lust for Life:
“Beautiful People Beautiful Problems” featuring Stevie Nicks
Lana Del Rey’s style is an unapologetic jukebox of influences, from Hollywood’s Golden Age to the sunny California rock of the 1970s. On “Beautiful People Beautiful Problems,” Lana teams up with Stevie Nicks for a haunting, bewitching duet. “Working on your song has changed me forever because I’ve learned from you. We are witchy sisters and that’s it,” Nicks told Del Rey in V Magazine.
“Summer Bummer” featuring A$AP Rocky & Playboi Carti
Del Rey’s lackadaisical vocals get a jolt of energy on “Summer Bummer” when A$AP Rocky and Playboy Carti turn up on their rap verses. Special guests are a welcome addition and lend variety to Lust for Life.
“God Bless America – And All The Beautiful Women In It”
The runaway success of the remix for “Summertime Sadness” should keep Lana fans on the lookout for tracks that lend themselves to club versions, this is that song. On “God Bless America…” Del Rey pays tribute to her homeland and its women in particular, riffing on the Americana she’s explored since her debut.
“Lust for Life” featuring The Weeknd
Lana Del Rey’s aesthetic has the power to make ordinary situations feel like the experience of a lifetime. “Lust for Life” is a seductive example: She and the Weeknd’s pure, clean vocals turn foreplay into a resplendent hymn. It’s no wonder why “Lust for Life” anchors and titles the album.
“Coachella – Woodstock in My Mind”
Lana carefully documented the conception and songwriting process for this song on social media—and it was completed this spring. After a rejuvenating weekend at Coachella, the singer pondered the magnitude of global instability and wrote this hopeful, honest track. Now fans can enjoy her complete meditation.