Lana Del Rey saves lives

Benjamin Garcia

Lust For Life is a life-saver.

Lana Del Rey is about to cure the depression she gave us in high school with her new optimistic lyrics; but the sound is not for everyone.

In these dark times– when there is a fascist sitting in the oval office, our rocky relations with North Korea are hastily becoming rockier, the environment is deteriorating before our eyes, the corporate overlords are deregulating business and taking advantage of the noble proletariat– it is the job of the artist to uplift and give hope to the people.

As Lana Del Rey puts it, that is “an artist’s worthiest contribution.”

Del Rey, in accordance with her statement in the Lust For Life album trailer, released the single Lust For Life in an official audio video, which was published on Wednesday, April 19.

The song showcases that same vintage feel that the original “lipsters” fell in love; with a 60’s kind of chord progression (C major, E minor, A minor, G major) and a harmony reminiscent of the great Doo Wop tunes of The Ronettes– but it also features The Weeknd singing the counter-melody, a call and response style.

Her first single off the Lust For Life record– Love– showcased a similar sound but offered a hipsters meet the space age aesthetic, the singer herself posed as the most beautiful flower child; which was lovely.

In an Instagram Live session before the release of the music video for Love; the Summertime Sadness singer announced that the album will showcase a “retro sensibility with a futuristic flair,” before asking herself “Did I just say that?”

The latter (futuristic flair) is evident in the social commentary and by how Del Rey’s sexy breathlessness, haunting elegance and timelessness of style (as noted by her use of bells, orchestral percussion and lofty lyrics) is combined with The Weeknd’s electronic sound, soulfulness, sincerity of tone and sexual naughtiness.

With these combined effects, a track has been made so eclectic that it scares away the lukewarm Lana Del Rey fans; despite the fact that Del Rey is returning to a version of the Born To Die aesthetic, which is unarguably her most popular aesthetic.

With this single that has the essence of what the fans want (sonically), a deep cut (lyrically) and that of a generic pop song (thematically), Del Rey is attempting to attract new fans and rekindle the flower crown-wearing, chola lip-lining, rock star-imitating fans– who are used to the defeatist, yet soaring and lush lyrics– and leading us into the light.

This new mood of optimism and humanism is exactly what young people need.

‘Cause we’re the masters of our own fate.
We’re the captains of our own souls.
There’s no way for us to come away
‘Cause boy we’re gold, boy we’re gold.
And I was like:
Take off, take off,
Take off all your clothes.
-Lana Del Rey, Lust For Life

Later in the song she says it “ain’t right” that “the good die young” because she and Abel Makkonen Tesfaye (The Weeknd) are “having too much fun.” Whereas in other songs (such as God Knows I’ve Tried), she explains that since she has no goals or pleasures, she doesn’t see the point in living.

In Love, she sings:

You get ready, you get all dressed up
To go nowhere in particular–
Back to work or the coffee shop.
Doesn’t matter ’cause it’s enough
To be young and in love,
To be young and in love.

And later in the song, “don’t worry, Baby,” bringing warm hearts and smiles to her fans.

The lyrics for Lust For Life have been criticized for being boring, overly simple or borrowed from old songs of hers.

Though the lyrics are simple and repetitive (like a meditation mantra), they are also filled with meaning especially since they connect to the on-going narrative of a woman’s relationship with a man (or group of men).

As far as officially released songs go, one of the arches– self-esteem in relation to the love interest– National Anthem was the first to tell the story of an immature girl with an unearned sense of high confidence, “He said to be cool but I’m already coolest.”

In Brooklyn Baby, she showed contempt for the man who was abusing her, singing: “Yeah my boyfriend is pretty cool but he is not as cool as me.”

Now at last, she has found her equal in “Lust for Life,”with the lyrics: “My boyfriend’s back, and he’s cooler than ever.”

Keep in mind that the video released on Wednesday, April 19 is not a music video per se, but a video of Lana Del Rey doing basically nothing in-front of a camera (as usual) with music dubbed in. However, there is still some symbolism to take in.

First, she is sitting on the “H” of the Hollywood sign. Why she picked the “H” is still debated.

Perhaps because if she picked an “O” or “L,” people would have asked which one; picking the “D” would bring on the connotation of the phallus, or “dick” if you will.

The “H” is a symbolic letter. Heaven and Hell both start with “H.” In the Lust For Life trailer, she lives in the horizontal line connecting the two vertical ones.

In the monologue in her short film “Tropico–” Del Rey describes Los Angeles to the gateway to the underworld, though it can feel like paradise. I take this connection to mean that the witch character Del Rey is playing lives between Heaven and Hell.

She is also dressed as a Lolita type for most of the video, which is another connection to the Born To Die record– which has a track titled Lolita. On the record, Del Rey sings about a girl who looks for love in all the wrong places and ultimately suffers because of the foolishness she shows.

In the video Lust For Life, this girl finally finds true love in The Weeknd; the two look into each other’s eyes, longingly; Del Rey writes in her journal. The video mainly captures the action in the stillness of a moment, as two lovers look at the moon, stars and arm of the Milky Way over Los Angeles.

This added relevance adds to the feeling of happiness that Del Rey wishes to share with us.

At the very end of the video, the witch from the trailer holds the Hollywood sign in her hand (with Del Rey as Lolita and The Weeknd) still sitting on it; and hearts fall from her gaze, spreading love across Hollywood and the world.

Lana Del Rey is a legend in the making. This video, along withe Love, are setting precedent for an album ready to change and empower a generation.