Lana Del Rey's "Summer Bummer" and "Groupie Love" Mark Return of 'Gangsta Nancy Sinatra'
Lana Del Rey described herself as a “gangsta Nancy Sinatra” sometime around the release of her debut album. On that record, Born To Die, that aesthetic was at its peak; Del Rey crooned and gave attitude in turn over head-bobbing beats and vintage-glam strings. But the artist’s sound has evolved over time: 2014’s Ultraviolence is bigger and rockier, featuring lots of bluesy guitar and reverb; 2015’s Honeymoon is largely orchestral, full of pretty, melancholic ballads.
On her two latest singles off of Lust For Life, “Groupie Love” and “Summer Bummer,” Del Rey combines the best of her more paired-down, brooding lounge singer self with the cheek and hip-hop punch of “gangsta Nancy Sinatra.” In a more literal way, the latter vibe is even stronger. These are the first of her songs to feature actual rap verses.
Del Rey’s upcoming album is set to include many notable features (most excitingly, Stevie Nicks!) and these singles are no exception. Both songs feature A$AP Rocky, while Playboy Carti joins the party on “Summer Bummer.” Overall, the song is a slow-burning success. A dark, sultry piano intro builds into a buzzy jam as the beat drops and Del Rey breathily promises she’ll “wrap you up in my daisy chains.” The gaudy Del Rey tropes keep coming: high tops, white lines, blood red sangrias. What's not to love?
“Groupie Love,” is a softer track but just as good. The artist (who graced the cover of our music issue back in May) told Dazed and Confused that she looked to the Shangri-La’s for Lust for Life’s sound and that influence can certainly be heard here. Swooning girl group ambiance is paired with low-lying warbles and tic-tac trap beat. The result is something like this scene: a lazy summer afternoon, lounging on your bed near an open window and watching the hazy sunlight filter in through slowly churning dust, listening to the muffled revelry of a distant party.
When Rocky joins Del Rey with sweet backup vocals on the final chorus and croons “you are my babe,” all is good. Also heart-warming: the cover art. Del Rey flashes a Cheshire cat smile in front of an old truck, hair just as daisy-covered as on the cover for “Coachella – Woodstock In My Mind,” in an image that at first glance could absolutely be mistaken for a happy-go-lucky snap from the Summer of Love.
Both tracks are available to hear on all major streaming services. While you're waiting for July 21, watch Del Rey's perfectly campy Lust For Life teaser: