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Lana Del Rey's latest should be taken seriously

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Everything about Lana Del Rey’s fourth studio release, Lust for Life, suggests an intentional magnum opus. It’s not just guest appearances from Stevie Nicks, The Weeknd, Sean Lennon, and ASAP Rocky. In 16 songs exceeding 70 minutes, there is a sweep of imagery that tries to wrap elements of the Lana worldview in a common dystopian package. This could easily go wrong, but Del Rey presents a literary tour de force, dropping references to her own and others’ songs. She has become an elder stateswoman among millennials, addressing younger romantics who could be burned by a harsh world. Her “Is it the end of America?” refrain is not intended as political commentary, but her musing in “Coachella – Woodstock in My Mind” emphasizes our nation’s current undercurrent of apocalypse. If there are doubters who wonder whether a sullen woman with limited vocal range can pull off something this ambitious, a random choosing of any four or five tracks should convince anyone that Lust for Life meets its intentions of being taken seriously.

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