Indie-pop songstress Lana Del Rey released her new album, Lust for Life, on July 21. The gloomy gal lightens up on the lengthy 16-track record. Del Rey's labor of love has its magnificent moments of luster mixed with lackluster tunes that sometimes feel laborious to get through. Lana shines when she's embracing sunnier sounds.
The title track featuring The Weeknd sets the scene for Lust for Life as the album's stunning centerpiece. Del Rey lets the light in among shimmering synths and towering beats, unleashing her new outlook. "And a lust for life keeps us alive," she sings. The Weeknd's angelic vocals make this even more of a heavenly offering. Lana bewitches on "Tomorrow Never Came," a hypnotic and psychedelic ballad with Sean Ono Lennon, late Beatle member John's son. Del Rey dials it back to the '70s with a little help from Lennon.
Del Rey teams up with hip-hop producer Metro Boomin on "God Bless America - And All the Beautiful Women In It," her brighter "National Anthem." Spanish guitar, cinematic strings and gunshot blasts back Lana saluting the country's ladies. "May you stand proud and tall like lady liberty shining all night long," she croons. Del Rey makes Americana great again. In these politically-charged times, Lana extends her adoration to the world on the beaming and booming "Love." She repeatedly coos, "Don't worry, baby." Lana playfully shakes off the negativity on the swinging standout, "Get Free." Atop doo-wop-inspired beats, she sings, "I wanna move out of the black into the blue."
A$AP Rocky drops in on two tracks: the trap-lite delight "Groupie Love" and the drably monochrome "Summer Bummer" with Playboi Carti. Elsewhere, Lana's wonder emporium hits hard times when she tries to recapture the trip-hop magic of 2012's Born to Die on "Coachella - Woodstock in My Mind" and "When the World Was at War We Kept Dancing," which are both languorous and long as the song titles themselves. Stevie Nicks sings gorgeously on "Beautiful People Beautiful Problems," but Lana's problem is a flat performance next to the Fleetwood Mac legend.
Del Rey does her best to hold the spell in place that's had fans charmed since the beginning. She's simply irresistible when giving greener, uncharted pastures a chance while the previously treaded territory is becoming to sound tired and uninspired. Lana's stunted brilliance on Lust for Life could benefit from more life.