This Weeks Music Video with Beck, Lana Del Rey, Radiohead, Wolf Alice, Shamir, Stone Sour and Depeche Mode

Lana Del Rey – Lust For Life Review


Six years ago, twelve-year-old me sat on her bed listening to Now That’s What I Call Music 80 on her pink CD player, and heard Video Games by Lana del Rey for the first time. At first she didn’t understand why anyone would choose to listen to this over the recycled pop of Maroon 5 or The Saturdays etc, but even at that young and innocent age, it was difficult not to be enticed by its haunting beauty. Still now I’m enamoured by the way del Rey managed to fashion a hugely hard-hitting track alongside such a strong sense of vulnerability, with eerie vocals presented against a mere piano and glistening of strings. Six years later, Lana del Rey is four albums down, with her latest release – Lust for Life – being considered her most up-beat, pop-inspired album. But if this is what we’re labelling as pop these days, it certainly doesn’t match the stuff I was listening to at twelve.

What I admire so much about del Rey’s music is that she doesn’t just write songs, she writes stories. Each track is an invitation into a universe of happy-go-lucky consumerism, the glamour of Hollywood, dystopian America, a careless relationship, and so on and so on. The first glimpse of Lust for Life we received came in the form of single Love, which has a glimmer of 1950s to it, via echoing bass, climatic percussion and delicious harmonies. And despite its slowness, it has a youthful effervescence that only Lana could capture. It transports us to somewhere happy, somewhere care-free. Superficially del Rey’s decelerated numbers sound depleted, depressing, but there’s usually something innocently hopeful that underpins each track. This is true of titular track Lust for Life too, alongside The Weeknd. There’s a sense of grandeur in the lyricism – ‘climbing the H of the Hollywood sign’ is the kind of brilliantly young and reckless imagery del Rey often paints, mingling ideas of movie-like relationships and pop culture to curate mature, dreamy additions to her tracklist.

Though her songs often depict the typical topics of love and relationships, del Rey has a political side too. When The World Was At War We Kept Dancing deliberates President Trump’s first months in office and probes at his choices, yet remains somewhat optimistic in the way it urges us to keep dancing. Coachella – Woodstock In My Mind illustrates the euphoria of the eponymous festival, with an underlying guilt being felt as she enjoyed herself at a time of world tension. Instrumentally, there isn’t much diversity about the LP, but del Rey’s talent lies in the way she can put across different messages and different worlds through her evocative, lingering songs.

The circulating ‘pop vibe’ idea that has spread about this album could be down to the artists that feature. As well as The Weeknd, A$AP Rocky makes an appearance on both Summer Bummer (with Playboi Carti) and Groupie Love. Neither are the album’s greatest achievements, but the former is undeniably catchy in its bubbling bassline and shuffling percussion, though the best part of the track is the echoic vocals towards the end that recall Lana’s original style. Diverting from the pop resurgences, Sean Ono Lennon gives his vocals to Tomorrow Never Came, a Beatles tribute. It is slightly similar to the legendary band’s style, with shaky guitar and Ono Lennon’s voice deriving some likeness to his father’s. It’s one of the barest tracks on the album, one that exposes the powerful vulnerability that I fell in love with on Video Games. Lastly comes a collaboration with Stevie Nicks on Beautiful People Beautiful Problems. Their voices marry gorgeously, and the symbolism of two female, musical powerhouses of different eras joining forces gives extra magnificence to this already-wonderful track.

It may not compare wholly to the basic beauty of Born to Die, but the sheer distinctness and poignancy of everything Lana del Rey does will never not be impressive. She is the kind of female icon that needs a wider following – one that is known for her amazing and irrefutable talent over anything else. Props to her.

Lana del Rey – Lust for Life: 8/10

Eleanor Chivers

 

Single Review – Lana Del Rey – Summer Bummer feat. A$AP Rocky and Playboi Carti

New Single ‘Summer Bummer’, a title that feels like the crude rhyming of a five-year-old, is absolutely everything we’ve come to expect from Lana Del Rey. Residing firmly in her unchanging pouting murmurings ‘Summer Bummer’ whispers into life, building from faint piano keys to wisps of Lana’s trade mark, if grumpy cat could sing, style. As always, Del Rey’s theme of summer is a clouded love story. Opening line; ‘It’s never too late to be who you wanna be’ quickly unfurls towards a story of drug temptation and an unhealthy pool-side relationship. Though I’m personally unsure of exactly what went wrong during the long hot summers of Lana’s past, every year she creates a new shaded offering of dead romance and jilted lovers. Things momentarily snap into a harsher life, through Del Rey’s haze of heat exhaustion, as A$AP Rocky applies his lyrical expertise to the track, attempting to define the story of hedonistic failings. Despite some pretty gloomy themes however, as always with Del Rey’s summer singles, ‘Summer Bummer’ does end up feeling like the kind of track that fits within this time of year, particularly on those uncomfortable drowsy days. 

Hayley Miller

This Weeks Music Video with Foo Fighters, Lana Del Rey feat. The Weeknd, Arcade Fire, Liam Gallagher, Metallica, Radiohead and MØ

This Weeks Music Video with Beyoncé, Lana Del Rey, The Weeknd, Laura Marling, Little Dragon, Spoon, ZHU and NAO

Single Review – Lana Del Rey – Love

Lana Del Rey has released her first material in sixteen months with her new single ‘Love’. Her impending and as yet untitled fifth album is expected to be announced soon. Ultraviolence had flashes of inspiration, but for the most part it stuck with the cinematic themes that were the mainstay of her last album Honeymoon. Though both albums were expertly executed, another similar effort would be wearing it a little thin. With ‘Love’ Lana certainly maintains a cinematic aesthetic, but with a hint at an expansive and atmospheric sound. The echoed drums and lightly drawn out production meets with Lana’s wistful, quivering vocals. There’s scope for a natural development to her sound, but also scope to repeat what she’s already done with this track. We’ll have to wait and see how the album falls into place later in the year.

Owen Riddle 

Single Review – SOHN – Signals

SOHN is the stage name of London born and Vienna based producer Christopher Taylor. He is one of our most talented producers and musicians with Kwabs bringing him in to produce his brilliant debut album with Lana Del Rey and BANKS just a few others who have requested his services. His new single ‘Signals’ comes two years after his debut album Tremors and offers up a clear, yet natural progression to his sound. Spaced out and resonant synth chords chime gently across the track and its steady percussion. Chris’ vocals calmly sweep in to the setting with pitch shifted backing vocals providing a haunting backdrop. These gentle elements come to a colourful and bold fruition with greater volume and freedom from the initial arrangement into bursts of sound. It is a stylish and effortlessly delivered track which is now becoming the norm for SOHN.

Owen Riddle

This Weeks Music Videos with Lana Del Rey, Mark Ronson, Tyler The Creator, OK Go, Julia Holter, Son Lux and AlunaGeorge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Week’s Music Video with Sam Smith, Disclosure feat. Lorde, Lana Del Rey, Tyler The Creator, Youth Lagoon, My Morning Jacket and Guy Garvey

Lana Del Rey – Honeymoon Review

It’s been just over a year since New York’s Lana Del Rey released Ultraviolence; an album much more expansive and sophisticated than Born To Die and now with Honeymoon Lana will be aiming to build on the themes set in her last album with which she was taken a little more seriously as an artist in producing what was an improvement on her 2012 effort. What her previous albums have lacked is versatility amongst the album tracks and at times some ill-fitting vocals. Here she has to be careful to not just repeat the improvements made with her last album along with maintaining a strong vocal performance throughout and look to diversifying the content of the album whilst keeping to her chosen theme. She’s shown she’s a decent artist but is she anything more?

The title track suggests that she might be.  It’s a track reminiscent of the dark and theatrical sounds of her previous album with sleek string sections and lapping guitar riffs that go on to develop with military-style snare drums in toe. Lana’s vocal stays low in range and remains smooth and allows her vocal to soar and fall effortlessly to encapsulate a ghostly and soothing love song. It’s a track that maintains the retrospective, classy aesthetic she appears to be pursing, but it is simply a graceful and gently powerful track. Beyond the high sophistication and grace of the title track’s aesthetic and style, we find ‘High By The Beach’. This track is kept of a fragile edge by a light whirring organ and then a drum sample signals the a hazy and quietly atmospheric track which raises it’s soft reverberating production when it is gradually levitating it’s sound in a melodic and wistful fashion. It’s a cool and modern take on the retrospective style of the title track and again her vocals remain strong despite the more flexible nature of the delivery required.  ‘Terrence Loves You’ sees her revert back to the swooning ballads of the title track. In what is a familiar and simple song structure she is able to make it her own through her quivering melodies and through subtle echo and distorting techniques that make her melodies all the more haunting and intriguing against a structural backdrop that should promote a relaxing feel. It’s a much more organic atmospheric track as opposed to the boldness of ‘High By The Beach’ but it’s grace and audible beauty is very much appreciated.

‘Music To Watch Boys To’ sticks to the more engaging string-laden pop ballads with lustrous vocals combining with the rising strings with a secondary vocal that is delivered in a more ringing and distorted fashion. It strikes an in between middling the pure and graceful title track and the more modern trip hop of ‘High By The Beach’. A song that epitomises the sound of the album. ‘Art Deco’ also operates in the middle ground of the two overriding sounds featured on the album, but in this case the instrumentation and vocals are faded out to generate a more washed out piece of Dream Pop which this song becomes whilst keeping it’s Trip-hop beats. An combination that works and is used with ‘Freak in a powerful and potent way. ‘Blackest Day’ and Religion’ are a little too similar to other tracks in a way that wasn’t really needed again. ‘Salvatore’ is a ballad that plays upon Lana’s vocal highs brilliantly and combines a classical style with softened trap drops and whirring synths. It’s another odd combination that works well in isolation and with the theme of her album. ’24’ is done in a similar way and in a cinematic Spanish sound, but is perhaps a little too disjointed for it to work as well. Honeymoon is an undeniable improved effort and as an album it is so much more smoother with a greater grasp of variety and the emphasis on a strong vocal to make it work. It is done here brilliantly and is probably her best album to date. The only problem is that it is perhaps a little too long at fourteen tracks which means you hear the same method of track a little too often, making it easy to spot the album fillers, but even those tracks in isolation are well delivered and produced. She’s moved  beyond what can be perceived as a decent artist with this album.

Lana Del Rey – Honeymoon = 8/10

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995