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.