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Ghost

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  1. Day Two: Demi

    SEPTEMBER 2 DEMI DEMI LOVATO REVIEW: Anyone who listens to radio or follows popular music in the slightest (or, I guess, enjoyed 2008 Disney Channel) knows the name and voice of Demi Lovato. The 25 year-old singer, whose sixth LP, Tell Me You Love Me, comes out later this month, already has a decent array of hits under her belt -- among them "Heart Attack," "Cool for the Summer," "No Promises," and more. But despite her pop influence, listening to 2013's Demi was my first time sticking with Lovato's music for an entire album. I'd also like to preface this review with the notion that I'm not the biggest fan of pure pop music, so some of my feelings about the record may be more a result of personal preference than technical imperfections. As a whole, Demi is a solid pop album. I didn't feel a story being told throughout, and jumps from tracks like the spare, heartfelt "In Case" to the much more boisterous "Really Don't Care" are questionable, but, thematically, I appreciate the way Demi juggles both a carefree persona musing on love and hookups as well as a more somber outlook reflecting on abuse and hardship. Musically, there's a number of good songs on this record. My favorite by far is "Shouldn't Come Back," a heartfelt acoustic track rich with feeling. "In Case," too, is successful in its solemnity, while tracks like "Fire Starter" and "Without the Love" are among the album's best pure pop tracks. My biggest issue with the album, however, is its production. Demi, despite whatever unfair criticisms may come from being a "Disney kid," has a powerful voice, and there were points during this album where the blaring, made-for-radio, pop instrumentals bothered me because of how they obscured Demi's vocals. "Neon Lights," for example, is annoyingly EDM, and "Nightingale," despite being one of the less dressed up tracks on the album, would benefit so heavily from a more stripped back production. Some of the tracks are flawed without regards to production (the way Demi drags out "hurt" in the chorus of "Never Been Hurt" is simply confusing), but I feel like this album might find some strength in a more alt-pop production for some of its tracks. Personally, Demi's voice is one I'd most like to hear in an alternative setting, anyway (which is probably why I so enjoy the track "Stone Cold" from 2015's Confident), so, naturally, I enjoyed this album less than someone who digs in-your-face pop. Demi is undoubtedly skilled, and with a more alternative sound and more lyrical maturity, this album would probably be a winner. I do appreciate, though, the handful of good tracks on it, and I'll be sure to check out Tell Me You Love Me when it drops in a few weeks. RATING: 6/10 HIGHLIGHTS: Shouldn't Come Back, Fire Starter, In Case, Heart Attack, Without the Love, Made in the USA, Something That We're Not LOWLIGHTS: Never Been Hurt, Neon Lights, Two Pieces, Really Don't Care WOULD I LISTEN AGAIN? DEFINITELY NOT PROBABLY NOT* MAYBE PROBABLY DEFINITELY *I might revisit tracks like "Shouldn't Come Back" or "Fire Starter" from time to time, but as a complete body of work, Demi simply doesn't do much for me. If anyone has any Demi recommendations that are more like "In Case," "Shouldn't Come Back," or "Stone Cold," let me know! LISTEN IF: You like radio-friendly pop with attitude and strong vocals, as well as a fair share of deep, personal lyricism.
  2. Day One: Big Fish Theory

    i'm doing this alongside a friend (she's picking all the even-day albums) so 9/2 is demi's self-titled album & 9/3 is alvvays's debut album (also self-titled). hoping to get those two up sometime today and still waiting on my friend to lmk what we're listening to for 9/4. glad you liked this though!
  3. Day One: Big Fish Theory

    SEPTEMBER 1 BIG FISH THEORY VINCE STAPLES REVIEW: Big Fish Theory, the latest LP from California rapper Vince Staples is my first experience with the rapper's work outside of 2015 track "Norf Norf" and his collaboration with Jhené Aiko on 2013's "The Vapors," so while I wasn't nervous, I also didn't know what exactly to expect. Overall, I enjoyed the record, which is an easy listen not surpassing 40 minutes. It certainly has a masterful cohesion to it, and there is a dark, eerie, sometimes gritty, sometimes woozy sound to the production. Unfortunately, however, there were many points throughout the record when there seemed to be a disconnect of sorts between the production and Vince's voice -- both great on their own, but something didn't click when they were put together. Furthermore, many of the tracks had killer verses but were brought down by lackluster hooks, so much so that I found myself waiting during some stretches of the album for a song that I enjoyed in its entirety. Despite its flaws though, Big Fish Theory certainly holds its own as a record thanks to Staples' unabashed lyricism (tackling everything from blackness to poverty to love), which emerges center-stage, even with hit-or-miss features and backing vocals from Kilo Kush, Kendrick Lamar, and others. RATING: 7/10 HIGHLIGHTS: BagBak, Big Fish, 745, Party People, Yeah Right LOWLIGHTS: Love Can Be..., Homage WOULD I LISTEN AGAIN? DEFINITELY NOT PROBABLY NOT MAYBE PROBABLY* DEFINITELY *While Big Fish Theory may not be the first thing I turn to when I'm in the mood for an extraordinary hip-hop album, the record does have some very strong tracks. "BagBak," my favorite track, has been on repeat since I first heard it, and songs like "Big Fish" and "745" caught my attention enough for a second listen as well. I also get the sense that this album as a whole has a potential to grow on me, so I may revisit it for that reason, too. LISTEN IF: You like darker, moodier hip-hop that feels like a part of a bigger whole and that indulges in politics as much as it indulges in romance.
  4. Achievement LWYMMD is the fastest video to hit 200m views

    and fastest to 1b, right?
  5. Discussion Coachella-ify Lana's song titles

    1. You And I - We Were Born to Die 2. Light of My Life - Fire of My Loins 3. Love You More - Than Those Bitches Before (Say You'll Remember) 4. It's You - It's You - It's All For You - Everything I Do (I Tell You All The Time) 5. (You're No Good For Me But) Baby I Want You - I Want You - I Want You - I Want You - I Want You - I Want You - I Want You 6. Wining and Dining - Drinking and Driving - Excessive Buying - Overdose and Dying 7. Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah - Ah (That's How You Sang It) 8. Life is Sweet - Like Cinnamon 9. The Boys - The Girls - They All Like Carmen 10. One for the Money - Two for the Show (So Why is My Heart Broke?) 11. (I Got That) S - S - S - S - S - S - S - S - S - S - S - S - S - S - Summertime Sadness (Oh - Oh - Oh) 12. Skipping School - Drinking on the Job (With the Boss) 13. Hello? Hello? - C - C - C - C - Can You Hear Me? 14. Kiss Me - In The - D - A - R - K - Tonight (D - A - R - K - Do It - My Way) 15. Every Now and Then - The Stars Align
  6. Discussion Coachella-ify Lana's song titles

    i'm cackling at this thread
  7. Review Lust for Life: A Track-by-Track Review by Ghost

    don't get me wrong i love "love" lmao, it wasn't so much flaws in that song as that i felt other tracks were better. and i can tell "get free" is gonna grow on me. still can't forgive you for your blasphemous words about "change," but other than that ... we can agree to disagree
  8. Review Lust for Life: A Track-by-Track Review by Ghost

    bruh when i edit it the post preview keeps showing it as fine but then .... it's not edit: i just got rid of them entirely oops
  9. Review Lust for Life: A Track-by-Track Review by Ghost

    i screwed up the spoilers i hate myself gimme a second
  10. Review Lust for Life: A Track-by-Track Review by Ghost

    *NOTE: Please move this if it's not supposed to go in the artist section. I never really know what I'm doing. *NOTE #2: Sorry it took me so damn long to finish this. Also, absolutely no proofreading was done. If you see any egregious errors, please let me know. Hello, FOTP! It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted on here consistently, but, of course, I had to come back for the release of Lana Del Rey’s fifth studio album Lust for Life. I’d like to get back to posting on here more regularly, and I figured a review of Lust for Life was just the thing to get me back into the swing of things. I’ll be going track-by-track, including not only my thoughts on each track but also my personal interpretation of the album’s storyline, and it’s gonna be wordy, so many thanks in advance to those of you who stick around to read some/all of it. First, though, a little background on my relationship with Lana and her music. I first discovered Lana Del Rey back in mid-2013, when I heard “Young and Beautiful” in a trailer for The Great Gastby. I became obsessed with the song, and later that year, I began to delve into Born to Die and her unreleased material. And the rest is history. In the months between when Lust for Life was announced and when it was released, I was, obviously, incredibly excited. But, admittedly, I had doubts, too. Not too many of the pre-release singles really stunned me. The imagery of the era was inconsistent. And when I heard that the record would be 18 — then 16 — tracks long, I wondered how Lana would be able to create a cohesive body of work over such a long tracklist. I also made some predictions about my favorite songs, thinking that they would be "13 Beaches,” "White Mustang,” "When The World Was At War We Kept Dancing,” “Change,” "Tomorrow Never Came,” "In My Feelings,” and “Heroin” (in no particular order). (Also, I guess “Change” and WM are kind of cheating, as I’d heard snippets before the album was released). Throughout the three full listens I’ve had of this album since its release on July 21st, I’ve been surprised, proven correct, disappointed, and pleased all at once. Here are my thoughts. LOVE Lana opens the album with its first pre-release single: the lush, sweet, swooping “Love.” Contemplating the struggles of modern youth and how much they weigh against the joys of young love, Lana brings us a song that is noticeably different from her usual material. Instead of lamenting over lost lovers, she celebrates the pleasures of youth, talking more to her fans than about herself. By Lana’s standards (and probably objectively), this is a happy song, something most people, critics and fans alike, haven’t exactly come to expect from her. To be honest, this song didn’t exactly click for me until the first time I listened to it in the context of the album. I’ve always liked it, but listening to it as an opening track and not just a single somehow made it all the more appealing. It is bold yet light, universal yet personal, and experimental yet rooted in enough core Lanaisms ("vintage music," etc.) to make it familiar. Besides all that, it also has a bridge that, despite its simplicity, is irresistible. “Mm…uh huh! Don’t worry, baby.” In the context of the album’s storyline, I personally view “Love” as a point of idealism. The songs that follow it lead me to believe that it may not represent where Lana is now, but rather where she wants to be. It’s also quite fitting of her to open an album that she’s said is “for the fans” with a song that addresses them directly. Rating: 8.75/10 Favorite Lyric: “It doesn’t matter if I’m not enough / For the future or the things to come / ‘Cause I’m young / And in love.” LUST FOR LIFE Here’s a song that has grown on me quite a lot. I was excited initially to hear that Lana was collaborating with The Weeknd again; I hoped they’d each pull from their sexier, darker sides and make something fantastic and alluring. And really, when I first heard Lana’s seductive vocals sing the opening line of the song, I wanted to climb up the H of the Hollywood sign right with her. But from then on during my first listen (and many listens afterwards), it all went downhill. I didn’t really enjoy the song much outside of the verses, and the lyrical simplicity of the chorus and pre-chorus left me dying for more. To top it all off, I didn’t even feel like her voice blended super well with Abel’s, or that his feature “worked.” I was disappointed. But I didn’t hate the song, and I kept listening (though not very often). And of late, I’ve suddenly come to enjoy the song so much more. I still find the chorus and pre-chorus to be lyrically lacking, but it doesn’t feel like as much of a crime anymore, and I feel as though Abel’s feature “works” a lot better (though it’s by no means the best feature on the album). It’s, in my opinion, one of the weakest songs on the album as a whole, but there are moments in it that you just have to love, like Lana referencing "Brooklyn Baby” (“My boyfriend’s back / And he’s cooler than ever”) or the various “[Plural noun] forever” refrains at the end of the verses. The bridge as a whole is also pretty solid given the strength of the rest of the song. I also enjoy what it adds to the album’s storyline, serving as a reinforcement to the message of “Love.” Lana shimmers in this world of ideal happiness, of loving life, of needing to hold onto the good things. It takes the sweetness of “Love" and gives it a sexy flare, but still doesn’t feel very grounded in anything; it still feels like an unrealistic dream. After all, they’re dancing on the H of the Hollywood sign. Rating: 7.75/10 Favorite Lyric: “My boyfriend’s back / And he’s cooler than ever. / There’s no more night, / Blue skies forever. / I told you twice, / In our love letter, / There’s no stopping now: / Green lights forever.” 13 BEACHES With track 3, “13 Beaches,” the glamorous, shimmery world of love, youth, and fulfillment that Lana was building up in the first two tracks comes abruptly crashing down. Before Lana has even begun singing, we are met with an audio sample proclaiming “I don’t belong in the world,” and we are back in reality. In the verses, Lana sings of desperate real-life attempts to escape paparazzi and muses almost sarcastically on the perpetual camera-readiness that comes about as a result of being hounded by the paps. In the pre-chorus, she explains that, even being seen and chased by everyone, she is still lonely, haunted by some memory that she, lacking the strength to do away with it, allows to overcome her. I interpreted the “you” in this song to be a love interest (perhaps the one in “Lust for Life,” whom she has now lost), and I followed that interpretation throughout the album, but one of the things I enjoy about this song is that the “you” could be anyone or anything — the fame, her life before fame, etc. “13 Beaches” was one of seven songs that I predicted would be a favorite of mine, and I can say confidently that I was right on this one. The lyrics are gorgeous and heartbreaking (“It hurts to love you, but I still love you” is effortlessly universal), the melody is intriguing, and the production strikes an interestingly successful balance between subtle and assertive. The only things keeping this song from a 10/10 are that it lacks a bridge (I feel as though a bridge would’ve been killer) and that the second half of the chorus (from “And that I’ve been dying” onwards) doesn’t do a whole lot for me. Rating: 9.5/10 Favorite Lyric: “Can I let go? / And let your memory dance / In the ballroom of my mind / Across the county line?” CHERRY Lana continues the theme of “It hurts to love you, but I still love you” in “Cherry,” a noticeably more aggressive track in which Lana exclaims: “Darling, darling, darling, I fall to pieces when I’m with you.” Despite the pain and anguish she is caused by being with this lover, she stays by his side, for they have, or at least had at one point, Lana’s definition of “real love” — “feeling no fear,” “smiling when the firing squad’s against ya,” and the like. But the love, even with its benefits, is toxic, depriving Lana of any of life’s smaller joys — her “cherries and wine, rosemary and thyme,” and even her peaches, “dripping” just a track earlier, are now ruined. Furthermore, her “celluloid scenes are torn at the seams,” which leads me to believe even more strongly that the bliss in the album’s first two tracks was a dream or movie: unreal. Musically, Cherry is a very strong track — undoubtedly one of the best on the album. It is classic Lana with a newfound bite, just the right length, and a chorus that kills. The “bitch” and “fuck!” interjections were also a pleasant surprise not heard in the live versions of the song, and, quite honestly, make the song ten times better. I do wish, however, that the verses were better arranged. Sometimes the rhymes don’t work or it feels as though Lana tried to squeeze too many words into too short a verse. That’s the only thing I can think of keeping this song from a 10. Rating: 9.5/10 Favorite Lyric: “(Bitch).” WHITE MUSTANG Considering how short this song is, I’d already heard almost all of the verses through Lana’s Instagram posts, so I knew I would like this song. To me, if the album is broken into thematic sections, with “Love” and “Lust for Life” being the dreamily ideal section, then “White Mustang” serves both as a closer to the "troubled romance" section of the album that also houses “13 Beaches” and “Cherry” and as an opener to the “summer fling” section of the album that consists also of tracks 6-8. Lana, unhappy in her “13 Beaches” / “Cherry” romance (or perhaps having left it already), lies on her bed fantasizing about some musician lover with whom she once had a brief fling — one she is still not over. (Whether or not this lover is the same one referenced in the previous two tracks is unclear). Whoever he is, he is leaving Lana, revving up his white Mustang, and she is alone with her regret — over becoming so attached, over not pursuing him further. It is a sad, sweet song with to-die-for verses and a killer verse and outro, held back only by how short it is and by the lyrically lackluster nature of the chorus. Still an incredibly good song, but I am left wanting too much more for it to be a 10/10. Rating: 9/10 Favorite Lyric: “I’ve been acting like armageddon ‘cause you / Held me in your arms just a little too tight.” SUMMER BUMMER With a title like “Summer Bummer” and features from not one but two rappers, Lust for Life’s sixth track seemed like something with the potential to either be incredibly good or incredibly bad. Interestingly enough, it’s ended up being neither. “Summer Bummer” is by no means a perfect track — Lana’s part can feel, at times, unfairly short, and Carti’s senseless yapping and mumbling in the background makes me want to rip my hair out. But it’s incredibly different from any of her released material, and it is this refreshing newness that allows me to overlook the track’s admittedly sizable flaws. It’s a cool, laid-back track with a subtle yet delicious beat and powerful verses from Rocky. Lana’s verse in the latter half of the song contains some of my favorite lyrics on the album, and her high-pitched “Ooh”s that come into the background add a spine-tingling layer of depth and almost make up for Carti’s yapping. Overall, the song’s sexiness and the way in which it stands almost in a genre of its own amongst Lana’s released material work in “Summer Bummer”’s favor. But if Lana does decide to continue down the trap route and have more rap features, I’d like to see her take bigger risks in the future. In other words, I’d like to see current-day Lana rapping à la 2010’s “Playground.” One can dream. Thematically, "Summer Bummer” is a natural follow-up to “White Mustang” — right down to the fact that Lana uses the word “bummer” in track 5 and, to my knowledge, that’s the only other place it appears on the record. More generally, though, “Summer Bummer” finds Lana moving on from the sadness and lost love of “White Mustang” and previous tracks, instead pursuing a new lover, this time intentionally trying to not become too invested. After being hurt so much by previous love interests, all she wants is a summer fling, an “undercover lover” that she need not even make public. Rating: 8/10 Favorite Lyric: “White lies and black beaches / And blood-red sangrias, / We traveled for weeks just to escape your demons / But you’ve got your reasons.” GROUPIE LOVE I’m about to say something that will probably come off as borderline blasphemous for many on this site, as well as many Lana fans in general: “Groupie Love” is my least-favorite song on the record. Of course, that isn’t saying much, as I think the record is incredibly strong overall, and this opinion might change with further listens, but as of now, it’s true. There are a couple of reasons. “Groupie Love” has been described by Lana as a “sister song” to “Summer Bummer,” and it’s easy to see why. The song follows Lana, having successfully caught her undercover musician lover for the summer, blissfully basking in the joys and tribulations alike that accompany being romantically involved with a busy performer. But as this is “Summer Bummer”’s “sister song,” the two were released on the same day; as a result, I was left listening, at once, to a song that is worlds away from Lana’s typical route and to a song that is arguably the safest on the album and incredibly in-line with what we’ve come to expect from her. Objectively, “Groupie Love” certainly isn’t a bad song, and I might’ve liked it more had I first listened to it on its own. But listening to it alongside “Summer Bummer,” a song that, while flawed, is experimental, “Groupie Love” simply felt too safe. Furthermore, the dreamy, swaying chorus, while enjoyable for a time, can easily become mundane and repetitive, especially at the end of the song. However, there is one incredible strength that “Groupie Love” has to its name, and that is its A$AP Rocky feature, which I think is easily the best and most successful feature of the five on the album. Alongside the latter half of verse 2, Rocky’s verse is, for me, the best part of the song by a long shot, and their duet chorus afterwards is charming, too, though unnecessarily lengthy. Rating: 7/10 Favorite Lyric: “This is my life: / You by my side, / Key lime and perfume and festivals.” IN MY FEELINGS Here’s another song that I predicted would be a favorite of mine, as well as the song that closes the “summer fling” section of the album, which is inhabited also by tracks 5, 6, and 7. “In My Feelings” continues chronicling the arc of Lana’s relationship with a musician, who Lana herself has essentially confirmed to be G-Eazy (at least for this track). In this track, we find that Lana’s attempt at having a summer fling has again failed; she has, as in “White Mustang,” become too devoted to the relationship, so much so that she is “feeling all [her] fucking feelings” and “talking in [her] sleep again.” To make matters worse, the man causing her all this emotional turmoil is, like those before him, “another loser.” A set of circumstances such as this is enough to irritate anyone, so, fittingly, we see a side of Lana on this track that is fierce, feisty, and full of choice words. Despite her emotions, she is self-assured (“Who’s doper than this bitch? Who’s freer than me?”), threatening (“If you were me and I was you, I’d get out of my way”), and dares her man to step out of line (“Be my guest, baby”). It is almost as if, in “feeling all [her] fucking feelings,” she has arrived at a point where she has nothing to lose, and is unafraid of being upfront with her unfair lover. In a musical sense, I really appreciate this track’s upbeat nature, fearless lyrics, and Lana’s usage of high-pitched vocals, even though they can be, at times, hard to decipher. In fact, this almost makes them better. While I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say that this song is a favorite, it has a fearlessness and a take-no-prisoners attitude that are simply irresistible. Lana is smoking throughout the song but demands that her lover get his cigarette smoke away from her. She can do it, he can’t. It’s her show now. Rating: 8.5/10 Favorite Lyric: “I’m crying while I’m cumming, / Making love while I’m making good money,” OR “If you were me / And I was you, / I’d get out of my way.” COACHELLA - WOODSTOCK IN MY MIND Of all the pre-release singles (even though there was some confusion for a time over whether this song would actually be on the album), “Coachella” was the one I liked the most upon first listen — loved it, actually — and I still do like it quite a lot, which I find interesting, as I’ve found it to be the least liked of all the singles (with the exception, maybe, of "Summer Bummer"). The song is musically solid (though suffers, as several songs do, from the same issue of trying to fit too many words into to short a line), and while it makes no profound or exceptionally provocative political statement, it is really cool to see Lana taking a more direct political stance in her music, especially given her typically quiet nature. All the song proposes is that perhaps one person’s thoughts and prayers for peace can impact a larger change, and while kids at Coachella may, admittedly, not be the group in the most dire need of help in today’s troubling world, Lana’s message of looking out for our youth and trying, even if we feel powerless, to be hopeful, is something many can relate to. “Coachella” leaves behind the rocky landscape of love and sex that “In My Feelings” brought to a boiling point and instead paves the way for Lana to give her two cents on today’s world and where she stands in it. Musically, though the chorus is just a bit disappointing compared to the verses and pre-choruses that precede it, “Coachella” is ripe with whirring, modern production that contrasts the song’s old-school hat-tips to Woodstock and “Stairway to Heaven,” and its lyrical progression feels beautifully organic. Lana doesn’t have all the answers; there is a lot she is still trying to figure out. But she is trying. Rating: 8.5/10 Favorite Lyric: “What about all these children / And all their children’s children? / And why am I even wondering that today?” GOD BLESS AMERICA - AND ALL THE BEAUTIFUL WOMEN IN IT There is something oh-so-satisfying about hearing Lana Del Rey sing “God bless America” in the chorus of a song. That Lana extends this patriotism to be an ode to women makes it even sweeter. The song is a natural follow-up to “Coachella”’s introductory politicism; on this track, Lana evokes images of city fire escapes and Lady Liberty and muses on what it’s like to be a woman under such a troubling presidential administration and ever-changing political landscape. Something I absolutely love about this track is that, as Lana changes with the times, lines that are typical of her begin to take on new meanings. “Even walkin’ alone, I’m not worried / I feel your arms all around me,” a line that, in another Lana song, might be about an affectionate lover (“He holds me in his big arms,” etc.), is, this time, “A little shoutout to the women and anyone else who doesn’t always feel safe walking down the street late at night.” Lana makes the shoutout to “anyone else” clear at the end of the song, when she changes the lyrics to “beautiful people” instead of “beautiful women” — a change that seems, too, to be an homage to the upcoming track “Beautiful People Beautiful Problems.” Musically, I think “God Bless America” is a real gem. Admittedly, I wasn’t crazy about the verses at first, but now, I think they provide a subtler contrast to the boisterous grandeur of the chorus. The breathy bridge is also undeniably strong and Lana’s high-pitched, nearly-indecipherable vocals work somewhat better here than they do on “In My Feelings.” Overall, “God Bless America” is a great track not only for its musical elements, but also for how it propels the political aspect of the album further. Rating: 9.25/10 Favorite Lyric: “Keep your light on, babe, I might be standin’ outside.” WHEN THE WORLD WAS AT WAR WE KEPT DANCING “When The World Was At War” was one of the tracks that I anticipated I would love before listening to the album. The title, though a mouthful, is beautiful, and when I heard that the song would include the highest vocals of Lana’s career, I became even more excited. Part of me felt this would be my #1 favorite song, actually. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. Before I get into why, let me say that “When The World Was At War” is by no means a bad song. I think the verses are terrific, and the pre-chorus is undoubtedly one of my favorite sections of music on the album. The beginning of the chorus, too, is magnificent; when Lana sings “Is it the end of an era? / Is it the end of an era?” she expertly creates a tangible mood of dread and despair. The song also provides a fitting conclusion to Lust for Life’s political trilogy, with its lyrics following obvious worries regarding the current state of the nation. Up until about 1 minute and 20 seconds into the song, it has a lot of promise. But the second half of the chorus sends the song downhill. Lana creates a huge lyrical contrast by pairing the extreme dread of “Is this the end of an era?” with the extreme optimism of “No, it’s only the beginning.” Unfortunately, this lyrical contrast also has a vocal contrast, and Lana shoots into a much higher, breathier octave that knocks the song out of its dark, brooding realm. In other words, the chorus’s second half simply feels out of place, and given that it is the core and crux of the track, its ineffectiveness leaves the whole song with a bit of a sour taste, even though the rest of it is so powerful and effective. Combine this with the high hopes I had for this track before the album’s release, and you get a recipe for disappointment. Still a solid track, but not what I’d hoped for. Rating: 7.75/10 Favorite Lyric: “Shake it up, / Throw your hands up and get loose. / Cut a rug, / Lean into the fuckin’ youth. / Choreo, / We just want the fuckin’ truth.” BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE BEAUTIFUL PROBLEMS The drama and high stakes of “World At War” are followed by a song that is not as overtly political, but muses more so on life in general. “Beautiful People Beautiful Problems” finds Lana collaborating with Stevie Nicks, the only other woman to appear on the album. It’s a touching ballad that balances appreciation for the beauties of life (“Long live our reign, long live our love”) with the knowledge that it’s not always going to be easy. “It’s more than just a video game,” Lana sings in a clear allusion to her 2011 breakout single. Perhaps there was a time when that was all there was to it — swinging in the backyard and playing video games with her lover — but Lana is one to change with the times, and she knows that there are things more pressing and heavier than that. When it all comes down to it, she, and everyone else, are simply “beautiful people with beautiful problems,” navigating a complex, ever-changing world while also navigating themselves and other people. To me, this song amplifies in simple terms what the whole album touches on. We leap, we fall, we win, we lose, we live. We try. Whether one’s "beautiful problem” is figuring out how to love a country that now seems corrupt and unlovable or losing connection with a short-lived lover, “we’ve gotta try.” That is Lana’s message not only for herself but seemingly for everyone. “Beautiful People” is an utterly gorgeous track; in my opinion, it is where Lana’s vocals sound the best on the record. And while her collaboration with Nicks isn’t my personal favorite, it is nice to hear their very different voices blending together. The song’s lovely lyrics give it an ethereal feel of floating above the earth, of being all-knowing. It’s, in some ways, an otherworldly song — delicate yet truthful in all the right places. Rating: 9.25/10 Favorite Lyric: “But when I love him, get a feeling / Something close to like a sugar rush.” TOMORROW NEVER CAME If I try to dance around how I feel about this track with intricate wording, I’ll never get to the end of it, so I’ll just say it: this is my favorite track on the album. Remarkable, incredible, [insert that one Gaga gif]. In all seriousness, though, I completely adore “Tomorrow Never Came.” It tinges the romantic idealism of “Love” with bittersweet sadness and vivid, colorful lyrics. The structure of the song as a duet adds to its storytelling nature, and Sean Ono Lennon’s feature is the best on the record behind Rocky’s in “Groupie Love.” I truly love him and Lana working together. What I think I love most about “Tomorrow Never Came,” though, is the sadness of it. I’m a sucker for sad songs, so a song like this — one that finds Lana bitterly ripped from any hope of keeping things the same in this relationship, one with so blatantly hopeless a title — is instantly appealing. But in addition to the sadness of it, it is musically solid throughout; though the chorus is the best part by a lot (especially when she switches up the lyrics at the end), the verses, pre-choruses, and especially the bridge, are each their own shade of saddeningly sweet. Lana’s combination of classic sadness with vibrant instrumentation and a warm feature from Lennon make “Tomorrow Never Came” the album’s biggest success. Rating: 10/10 Favorite Lyric: “You said you’d love me like no tomorrow; / I guess tomorrow never came.” HEROIN This song confuses me. I’m not really sure where exactly it stands in the storyline of the album. It certainly opens the final trinity on the album (tracks 14, 15, and 16), which deals with themes of change, but I struggle with how literally I should interpret these lyrics. Who is the “you” in this track? Did Lana know someone who OD’d on heroin? Is “heroin” a metaphor here? Or does “taking one’s life away” not necessarily mean dying? I don’t know the answers to any of these questions, but the truth is, that’s a minuscule detail overshadowed by “Heroin”’s deeply energetic presence on the album. First, let me just say that it is incredibly like Lana to not only write a song called “Heroin” but to also make it the longest track on the album. Interestingly enough, though, “Heroin” defied my expectations. Though it does have the dark, grungy, unsteadiness to be worthy of such an ominous title, I fully expected Lana to be singing about opiates in a more romantic sense, as we’ve seen her do before with tracks like “Yayo” and “Florida Kilos.” She surprised me, then, when she seemed to be reflecting regretfully in this song — her dreams about heroin perhaps better described as nightmares. “Heroin” opens with a very bare verse that for some reason reminds me, accurately or not, of “Salvatore.” The lyrics on this track are, in my opinion, some of the strongest on the album, and stand out especially during this initial period of minimal instrumentation. Lana creates great lyrical contrasts when we arrive at the pre-chorus — “heavy metal” and rock bands like Mötley Crüe make appearances, as do much more delicate images like ribbons in Lana’s hair and “ultra-soft” rocking — before the chorus opens with the almost bewildering “I’m flying to the moon again, dreaming about heroin.” But despite the song’s strange nature, I really enjoy it. The bridge was a pleasant surprise, too; its dark aggression reminded me of songs like “Noir” or “True Love on the Side.” There is merely one fatal flaw that makes “Heroin” hard to listen to: the first two choruses are soft, almost weak, in volume and energy, whereas the third chorus is more stronger, belted more fully. With all the energy lurking within “Heroin” as a track, it feels wrong that the first two choruses are so soft. Such long notes only half-belted feel boring and flat, especially when compared with the fullness of the final chorus. Maybe this is meant to show that Lana’s conviction for personal change in the third chorus is stronger than her conviction for another person’s change (or another person’s conviction for their own change), but that doesn’t change the fact that the song sounds empty because of it. (Sidenote: I would kill to hear this song with some UV production). Rating: 9/10 Favorite Lyric: “Writin’ in blood on my walls and shit” or “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sick of it.” CHANGE I was surprised when I read that "Change" was the last song to be added to the album; to me, it's one of those tracks that embodies what the whole record is about, albeit in a more explicit, on-the-nose way than previous tracks. Still, I would've thought it'd be a shoo-in. Regardless, though, I'm glad it's on the album, as it's one of my favorites. It's simple — Rick Nowels said he and Lana only had time to record vocals and piano — but I think it's this simplicity that makes it shine. The rest of Lust for Life is coated with modern, sometimes aggressive production, but the stripped-back production on "Change" allows Lana's voice and the message of the song to shine as they do on few tracks earlier in the album. Lyrically, as I said, "Change" doesn't try to hide anything — "Change is a powerful thing, people are powerful beings" isn't too difficult to decipher. But with "Change" being the penultimate track, I don't mind this much. After 14 songs and nearly an hour of music, Lana's at the point where she no longer needs dramatic anecdotes or whirring production to propel a song forward. "Change," like "Beautiful People," is a universal song, a song for the future, a song on how to get by. It's a song in which Lana, despite how much she prides herself on changing with the times, admits that change can be hard, too. Musically, "Change" is near-flawless. Though long, the progression from one part of the song into the next feels so natural, and it's easy to focus on Lana's voice. The only part of the song that doesn't work for me is the chorus; though I enjoy the sentiment of being there whenever a change decides to come, it fits oddly with the rest of the song. I'm beginning to realize that I'm not the biggest fan of sudden shifts into an upper register. Especially with a song as delicate as "Change," the chorus feels somewhat noisy and disruptive. While it's not nearly as much of a burden on the whole of a song as, say, the chorus in "When The World Was At War," it is still my least favorite part of the track. Rating: 9.5/10 Favorite Lyric: "Change is a powerful thing, / I feel it comin' in me. / Maybe by the time summer's done, / I'll be able / To be honest, capable / Of holding you in my arms without letting you fall / When I don't feel beautiful / Or stable." GET FREE "Get Free" is by no means my favorite song on the album. It's probably not even in my top 5. But it is the perfect way to close the record. After over an hour of music, of tumultuous romances, inner turmoils, confusion, joy, and idealism, "Get Free" seeks to provide some peace at the end of the whirlwind that has been Lust for Life. "Get Free" is a song of resilience and committing to change, of looking back on why life hasn't worked out the way you wanted it to and going forward with a new perspective. It is a song very clearly for Lana, but for all of us, too; Lana herself says she is "doing it for all of us" and even mutes names in the pre-chorus, giving the track a more universal feel. It's truly a heartwarming song; we see Lana making a blatant allusion to "Ride," one of her more tormented songs, showing us all that five years doesn't necessarily mean change will come. You have to make a conscious effort. She seems to allude to "Video Games," too — the "And now I do" is familiar to "And, baby, now you do," but this time, Lana is focusing on herself, focusing on her own realizations. Musically, "Get Free" isn't my favorite. The verses suffer from the ever-reoccurring dilemma of trying to fit too many words into one place. They feel clunky and disorderly. The pre-choruses and chorus are noticeably stronger, though, and ultimately I can look past any musical downfalls simply because of how great a closer this is to the record. The imagery, too, is hopeful — moving "out of the black" and "into the blue," an optimistic spin on Neil Young's moving "out of the blue, into the black." Lana knows that the idealism of the album's first few tracks is unsustainable ("There's no more chasing rainbows," she sings), and that is okay. She is committed to finding ways to be happy in a world of realism. The future is uncertain, this is clear, but as the track fades into a shimmering soundscape — one reminiscent of beaches and blue skies — it is hard not to believe that that future holds something good. Rating: 8/10 Favorite Lyric: "Sometimes it feels like I've got a war in my mind, / I wanna get off, but I keep riding the ride. / I never really noticed that I had to decide / To play someone's game / Or live my own life. / And now I do." OVERVIEW: Overall, Lana Del Rey’s fifth studio album Lust for Life is an incredibly successful record. Though sometimes plagued by awkward vocal shifts or lacking lyrical arrangements, the album strikes a satisfying balance between risky, new pathways (“Summer Bummer,” “In My Feelings”) and recognizable ones (“13 Beaches,” “Beautiful People Beautiful Problems”). The political tone of [part of] the album is also refreshing, and something I hope to see Lana embellish on in the future. Furthermore, the fact that Lana was able to successfully create a cohesive, story-telling record over sixteen track and more than an hour of music is impressive and was a very pleasant surprise. Lust for Life is not a perfect record; it has its share of pitfalls and disappointments. But, as a whole, it is incredibly satisfactory, and I loved the new directions that Lana took while still managing to stay grounded in her strengths. Another great album from the NYC songstress. For her next one, I’d love to see her expand even more on the risks she took on this record. But until then, you can bet I’ll have this one on repeat. GRADE: 139.25 out of a possible 160, or 87.03 out of 100. SONG RANKINGS (Favorite to Least Favorite, Based on Rating): 1. Tomorrow Never Came (10/10) 2. Change / 13 Beaches / Cherry (9.5/10) 5. God Bless America - And All The Beautiful Women In It / Beautiful People Beautiful Problems (9.25/10) 7. White Mustang / Heroin (9/10) 9. Love (8.75/10) 10. Coachella - Woodstock In My Mind / In My Feelings (8.5/10) 12. Summer Bummer / Get Free (8/10) 14. When The World Was At War We Kept Dancing / Lust for Life (7.75/10) 16. Groupie Love (7/10) SUPERLATIVES: Best Bridge: God Bless America - And All the Beautiful Women In It Best Lyrics: Heroin Most Unexpected: Heroin Most Fulfilling: Tomorrow Never Came Least Fulfilling: When The World Was At War We Kept Dancing Most Potential to Grow on Me: Get Free Classic Lana / Most Lana-esque: White Mustang Sums the Album Up Best: Beautiful People Beautiful Problems / Change Most Reminiscent of BTD: White Mustang Most Reminiscent of Paradise: 13 Beaches Most Reminiscent of UV: Heroin Most Reminiscent of Honeymoon: Heroin Cutest Song: Love Saddest Song: Tomorrow Never Came Sexiest Song: Cherry Strangest Song: Heroin And that's a wrap! Thanks to anyone who made it through the whole thing; you a real one and I hope you enjoyed.
  11. Album Video: Lana about "thinking of releasing album with her fav 25 leaked songs"

    not sure if this is a joke or not but a remastered noir has actually been one of my biggest dreams since i first heard the song
  12. Game Lust for Life +/-

    Love 35Cherry 80When the World Was at War We Kept Dancing 10Beautiful People Beautiful Problems 65Tomorrow Never Came 90Get Free 40
  13. Game Lust for Life +/-

    Love 35Cherry 80When the World Was at War We Kept Dancing 20Beautiful People Beautiful Problems 65Tomorrow Never Came 80Get Free 40
  14. update: LFL review coming tomorrow bc i'm tired. following our icon lana and delaying releases xoxo

    1. Show previous comments  3 more
    2. Ghost

      @Hylia how could i not? jj2

    3. Hunty Bear

      8 minutes ago, Ghost said:

      @Hylia how could i not? jj2

      well ... you practically missed everything else so! xtina15 

    4. Ghost

      @Hunty Bear dw this review will mark my grand return

  15. Discussion Which half of Lust for Life is better?

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