Lana gifted us a beautiful record last night, and I am dying to talk about it. We’ve had less than 24 hours with it, so these are just some preliminary thoughts & findings that I wanted to share. This is not a review; just a reaction.
This album is her most honest, political, and modern yet. Her recurring romanticism of sadness is replaced with a raw confession of not always being okay or stable, and the record ends with a commitment to move on “from black to blue.” The vocals throughout the entire album, but especially in “13 Beaches,” are the least affected we’ve ever heard her voice. After she shared in her Pitchfork interview this month that she has and will continue to eliminate her American flag imagery as a response to the Trump administration, it’s no surprise that songs like “God Bless America – And All The Beautiful Women In It,” “When The World Was At War We Kept Dancing,” and “Coachella – Woodstock In My Mind” are a direct response to the tumultuous-at-best political climate of 2017 (with a- dare I say- feminist undertone?). Lyrics like “lean into the youth…we just want the fucking truth” are unusually current for Lana, who has thrived on nostalgia and picturesque old-American ideals. It feels almost spooky to hear her sing about today. She also carries very 2017 language into her grand, cinematic tracks, which is gorgeously bizarre. Also, it’s worth noting that this album is not what I expected. She tricked me again with the tracks she released in advance, just like “Ultraviolence” (her first single was “West Coast,” a song that differs greatly from the rest of the album). I was worried it would all sound like the title track, which features The Weeknd, and despite how much I wanted to love it, I think it’s the weakest song on the album by quite a bit. Which is strange, seeing as her title tracks are usually utterly iconic (“Born To Die,” “Ultraviolence,” etc.).
Is it the end of an era?
Is it the end of America?
No, it’s only the beginning
If we hold on to hope, we’ll have a happy ending
When the world was at war before
We just kept dancing
-“When The World Was At War We Kept Dancing”
From the cover art alone we can see that Lana is in a better place than her previous albums. She looks so genuinely happy, and chose a softer, kinder, smilier photo rather than the intense, colder portraits she usually uses. The “Honeymoon” cover gave us bright colors, and this gives us a similar color scheme with a much more genuine photo. She seems approachable, which is consistent with the increase in audience interaction we’ve seen from her in the past few months.
The third track, “13 Beaches,” is where my primary theory and biggest takeaway from the album begins. She sings that “it took 13 beaches to find one empty…but finally I’m fine.” There are 13 tracks after this one, and I think that’s where the connection to The Odyssey begins. The rest of the album is a journey, her journey, with highs and lows, clear chapters, and a solid conclusion. Her travels from beach to beach mirrors Odysseus’s travels from island to island. Including her empty one for just her, Lana searches 14 beaches total, the same amount of islands in The Odyssey. This, to me, also explained the five features on this album (The Weeknd, A$AP Rocky, Playboi Carti, Stevie Nicks, and Sean Ono Lennon), after never including collaborations on previous albums. I see them as her guides and mentors from the various legs of her journey. The more I listen to it with this in mind, I can hear more allusions to it in the recurrent ocean, war, and blood imagery as well as the overall storytelling feel of the record. Lana has carried literary references into her songs before (Lolita being her favorite), and we know how intelligent she is; I by no means see it as a stretch for her to have themed an album around The Odyssey.
As it stands, my favorite tracks are “In My Feelings,” “Cherry,” “Love,” and “Summer Bummer.” That is more than subject to change.
That wraps up my thoughts thus far! I definitely have more where that came from, and I may do a track-by-track review soon once I’ve had some more time to sit with it and let it all sink in.
June is, somehow, behind us! That means it’s time for another (belated) monthly favorites!! I have been so busy this month with work and prepping to travel next week, so there hasn’t been a ton of time to get into new stuff, but here are a couple things I’ve been liking!
I was so in love with “Green Light” and “Liability,” so I could not wait to hear the rest of it and it does not disappoint. “Writer In The Dark” and “Hard Feelings/Loveless” have really stood out to me, but I can’t pick a favorite. It is consistent and touching and fantastically genuine, and serves as a beautiful graduation from her first album. I love that I’m so close in age to Lorde because I can relate to her journey in such a unique way. I have so much love and respect for her and I can’t wait to keep following her growth as an artist. Also, I am so excited to buy this on vinyl when it comes out!!
This song was on my fall playlist and I loved it SO much, I don’t know how it disappeared out of my life for so long but it is back and I am thrilled. I love this entire album but this song is hands down my favorite from it. It’s literally just gibberish, but like, you understand the general vibe, you know? Also, Life Without Buildings, I know that before you broke up in the 90’s you were London-based but maybe you could get back together for one more quick reunion concert in Chicago? Just for me?
Twin Peaks: The Return
I will be writing a very lengthy article on the return when it wraps up in September, because all we have now is a small piece of an untouchable narrative. The trailers, the publicity, the social media commentary, all made this revival out to be a repeat of the original two seasons. I went in excepting bittersweet nostalgia; Cooper sitting in the RR Diner with the gang drinking black coffee and eating pie, Audrey mischievously manipulating things to her advantage, Laura Palmer’s tragic homecoming portrait with that weird eerie theme that breaks your heart a little bit more every time. Instead we have received this 2017 masterful clusterfuck, that has taken the original’s bizarreness and translated it perfectly into modern television. It is completely revamped, without losing the deeply unsettling weirdness of the original. I find myself developing a fierce and unwavering opinion on it every week just to have it shattered by the next episode. The only thing that doesn’t change is that Twin Peaks, the original, the movie, and The Return, is a masterpiece and I am in love.
I am so in love with this lip color!! It’s my ultimate go-to, I have about 3 tubes of it floating around various purses. It’s a matte peachy nude that stays on forever and ever, and works beautifully with minimal makeup and with a full face. I wear Colourpop liquid lips almost exclusively, and I have never received more compliments on a lip color than on this one.
swatch without flash
swatch with flash
So, I work at Starbucks (which is a blast and I really like it) and I rarely get into the super sweet promotional drinks but I am OBSESSED with the violet drink. Everyone I work with hates me for it, I kind of don’t blame them because it’s a weird drink, but I am so into it. Like, made my mom try it. Like, purchased it outside of my job. I love anything that tastes floral, which is weird to begin with, but it’s so refreshing and has quickly become my summer favorite. It’s the Berry Hibiscus Refresher base except with coconut milk instead of water (so like the pink drink except berry) and I would highly recommend it. I hope my coworkers don’t fight me for this.
PROS: Beautiful, 8 different settings plus dimming and brightening, remote so you don’t have to get out of bed, timer feature so I can fall asleep with them on, easy to hang, comes in rose gold so it fits my bedroom color scheme
CONS: I broke my toe because I dropped a hammer on it while I was trying to hang these up by myself (half an hour before I had to be at work, of course)
In Spookitude news, I will be solo-traveling from Chicago to Seattle on Monday and spending the week out there, and I am going to try my very hardest to vlog it, so stay tuned for that.
Oh, Harry. I’m so glad I can say that I’m obsessed with your music again (though did any of us really “grow out” of our 1D phase??). This album is so beautiful and I am crazy proud of him. I knew I’d at least kind of like this album, but I assumed it would be in sort of a novelty way. The more I’ve listened, the more I’ve really connected with it; I’d be listening to it if it was Harry Styles or not. He has done a really, really cool thing.
Lana is and always will be the love of my life, so I am always ecstatic when she comes out with new material. This song is really special; inspired by her existential crisis illustrated on her Instagram, she wrote and released this song in a month. It’s pretty consistent what she’s been releasing lately, but in a rare turn of events she’s singing about real life real time things, and the authenticity from her that comes with that is stunning. Also, my dad says it might be his favorite Lana song ever. High praise.
“Die Young” by Sylvan Esso I have been in love with Sylvan Esso since their debut album in 2014. Their style is so great and so unique, I love everything they do. This song really resonated with me, though. It 100% made me cry the first time I heard it, and I have been obsessed with it since.
Oh my GOD. So right after I started watching Drag Race my friends got me to start watching this and I can’t believe I went so long without it in my life. These ladies are so fucking funny, so smart, and are serving up Relatable Realness™with their brutally honest conversations about sex, mental health, drag culture, the movie Contact, etc. I got to see Trixie’s show “Ages 3 & Up” in Chicago last night (5/31/17) and it was incredible, she is such a force. Also, my mom saw one of their videos and made me apologize. So there’s that.
I am all about the glow rn, and this primer gives your whole face a really nice golden glow-from-within look. I have absolutely worn this on its own to work or for other casual look days, but it’s also great underneath a full face. It also feels really nice and soft on my skin, it’s very moisturizing.
Okay, I KNOW these jeans are so fucking expensive. Like, way more than anyone should ever pay for jeans. But I’d be lying if I said you didn’t get what you pay for. Originally my mom bought them and didn’t really like the way they fit her, and so she offered them to me and I completely fell in love. They come in sizes 00-24, which is rare and awesome, and never ever has a pair of jeans made my butt look so good. I carry a lot of weight in my hips compared to my waist, and so it’s damn near impossible to find jeans that fit well, but these fit really REALLY well. Mine are a size up from what I wear in other brands so they’re a little roomy, but that’s a positive for me. I’ve been wearing them constantly, and I haven’t worn jeans regularly since like 2015? So there.
Honestly there are a million and one things to do with these, if you’re into that kind of thing. I put these dudes on top of all my doorways (and windowsills, as pictured) because my apartment has really beautiful vintage ceiling moulding, and I am so into it. It doesn’t sound like a lot but I think it adds really cool character to the room. But like who doesn’t want a bag of crystals to do whatever with??