Review: Lana Del Rey – ‘hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but I have it’

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Just further proof that Antonoff brings the best out of Lana, with emotional vocals and minimalist production.

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Lana Del Rey continues to release gems from her upcoming sixth album, Norman Fucking Rowell with the third single titled in reference to The Shawshank Redemption, with her own twist – ‘hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but I have it’.

Let’s all appreciate the fact that Lana chose to drop the track with a frank, yet beautiful black and white selfie. The choice of using a selfie as the single’s cover art isn’t a lazy one – it’s intentional and suits the track appropriately. The song itself is a self-reflective look at her life: the journey to sobriety following alcohol abuse problems in her teenage years, family, the usual troubled romance and the double-edged sword of fame. She verbalizes all this with references to an array of Americana such as films, photography, and poetry, showcasing her beat influences. Specifically, she channels Sylvia Plath, a famous feminist poet directly, defiantly singing: “I’ve been tearing around in my fucking nightgown, 24/7 Sylvia Plath”, delivering a great hook for the chorus. Anytime she swears in a song it is a gentle reminder that the ears are indeed an erogenous zone.

Again, the production is a treat with Jack Antonoff (Bleachers, Fun.) at its helm, as he knows how to bring out the best in Lana. Her excellent lyricism and vocals carry the song with a mellowed, soft as a pillow piano pedestalling her, as he has with her prior singles ‘Venice Bitch’ and ‘Mariner’s Apartment Complex’. The lyrics remain mournfully “Lana” enough that Antonoff recommends listening to this one at night, with lyrics that evoke that damning uncertainty between happiness and sadness: “They write that I’m happy, they know that I’m not / But at best, you can see I’m not sad”.

Overall, a high bar is being set for her upcoming album, with all of these songs firmly confirming her departure from the optimistic attitude of her preceding album Lust for Life – and a welcomed return to her vintage melancholic ballads, reminiscent of her unreleased tracks. She’s called ‘hope…’ “the fan song” for a reason.

‘hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but I have it’ is available now via Universal Music Group. Norman Fucking Rockwell is rumoured to be released in Spring 2019.

 

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