Where To Start With.. Lana Del Rey
Of all the artists to emerge in the last decade, no one has polarised opinion like Lana Del Rey. When she emerged at the end of 2011 with hit single ‘Video Games’ it was as if she’d been transported directly from another era.
Her songs were slow and mournful, harking back to the days of Nina Simone and Billie Holiday, but with biting lyrical undertones. It wasn’t strident, it was vulnerable, every song was full of hurt and despair, there was so much to read into and so much to talk about with every song that emerged from the singer.
After three more successful albums, the most recent being 2015's Honeymoon, this week she returns with her fifth, Lust for Life. Co-produced by Del Rey and Rick Nowels, the album also includes additional production and songwriting from Benny Blanco, Boi-1da and Swedish hit-writing supremo Max Martin, who helped out with the album's title track.
On the guestlist front, Lust for Life features an appearance from The Weeknd on the album's title track and A$AP Rocky features on two of the album's 16 songs, 'Groupie Love' and 'Summer Bummer'. Elsewhere there are also appearances from Sean Ono Lennon, who contributes to 'Tomorrow Never Came', and Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks, who adds her unmistakable vocals to 'Beautiful People Beautiful Problems'.
The album is available in our online store here and you can find the video for title track 'Lust for Life' below. Beneath that we've picked out five of the finest moments from Lana Del Rey's career so far...
Del Rey’s self-titled debut album didn’t enjoy the easiest of releases. It emerged in 2008 and was only available to buy online for a brief window before being bought back from her then record label. There are still some quality cuts on there though, the best of them is ‘Kill Kill, which hints at the majesty that would follow two years later...
Del Rey’s breakthrough came suddenly and spectacularly at the end of 2011 with ‘Video Games’. When it first emerged online, no one was quite sure what to make of it, they just knew it was beautiful and strangely catchy. It sounded like nothing else and had this odd hypnotic power, on the face of it a sad ballad about a girl watching her boyfriend waste his time on video games, it had so much emotion and power contained beneath the surface, it demanded repeated listens and got them.
As well as being one of the finest tracks on Del Rey’s Born To Die, this one also enjoyed a second run in the charts after being brilliant remixed by Cedric Gervais. The remix strips away the song’s melancholia and swelling power, but keeps the main thing that makes it great, which is that enormous chorus.
‘Young And Beautiful’
The faded glamour, the sadness and sense of alienation amid incredible wealth and privilege, it’s unlikely you’d find two things more suited to each other than Lana Del Rey and The Great Gatsby. Her contribution to Baz Luhrmann’s lavish adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s is a mournful lament with a huge string underpinning, it’s a beautiful sigh and one of the best things Del Rey will ever put her name to.
2014’s Ultraviolence didn’t quite hit the heights of Born To Die, but there were still some absolutely wonderful tracks and ‘West Coast’ was the best of them. Built round a smoky groove which works its way to a smouldering chorus, this transports you straight to some glorious sun-kissed beach party in the heart of California...
Lana Del Rey’s new album Lust For Life is out now and available here in our online store