A Pretty OK Song: "Summer Bummer" - Lana Del Rey (feat. A$AP Rocky and Playboi Carti)
Here’s a confession: The last couple of years, I've been especially bad at keeping track of when my favorite artists are making new music.I think it’s in part because the music industry has shifted to favor songs/singles over album releases, but whatever the case, I totally missed the news that Lana Del Rey had put out her fifth studio album, Lust for Life, despite the fact that I’ve been a Lana fan for a long time now.
When I first heard her self-titled debut album, I was not a fan. It was 2010, and I was still focused almost entirely on hip-hop and electronic music, so artists like Lana were not part of my musical palette. But by the time Born to Die came out, I appreciated what she brought to the table, so that record got a lot of play from yours truly.
Anyway, I had initially missed the boat on Lust for Life, but I gave it a listen over the weekend and really liked what I heard. The general theme holds from the rest of LDR’s catalog: melancholia set to retro vibes. But with a new cast of supporting artists/guests -- Stevie Nicks, The Weeknd, and A$AP Rocky, among others -- her new material draws heavily from the “combine pop with [insert genre here]” playbook, and “Summer Bummer” is a perfect pop+rap gem.
A$AP Rocky appears on two of the album’s bigger hits so far: “Summer Bummer” and “Groupie Love.” I like “Summer Bummer” a lot better, but “Groupie Love” is a good song as well. It’s a rap-focused song that’s almost more like an A$AP Mob song featuring Lana Del Rey, so you’ll particularly enjoy it if you’re a fan of A$AP Mob’s The Cozy Tapes Vol. 1: Friends. Also, I'm not sure that I can adequately express my adoration of A$AP Rocky in this post but needless to say, I'm a huge fan. “Yamborghini High” was one of my favorite rap songs in recent memory, and I listened to At. Long. Last. A$AP more times than I care to count. Oh, did I mention that Dope was my favorite film of 2015?
As with many of Lana's songs, “Summer Bummer” deals with complicated and risque emotions. The song paints a picture of two individuals who are having an affair with one another. It deals with lust and longing, which should come as no surprise given the title of the album. The promiscuous feel of the song supports Lana's vocals excellently; she graces the song with excited high-pitched notes and smooth, casual lows. The dichotomy of the two works well, as it always has for Lana.
If you're familiar with Lana at all, there isn't much else for me to say to you about “Summer Bummer.” It’s more of the same -- in the best way possible, since I dig what she’s putting down. Sometimes, all you want from an artist/TV show/etc. is just that one more thing: the next song, the next episode. It’s been two years since I’ve heard anything new from Lana, so more music to sink my teeth into.
If I can leave you this week with one “old man yells at cloud” critique of this song (and many others), it’s that there are way too many hip-hop adlibs hanging around in the background. *puts on best grumpy old man impression* Let it be known that I hate all the "ya ya's," "Young Money," and "coohs" that happen in rap songs today. Seriously, clean it up; the song sounds so much better without all that background yapping nonsense.
Until next week.