The title track of Lust For Life, this features guest vocals by Abel Tesfaye, a.k.a. The Weeknd. Speaking with Courtney Love in an interview for Dazed, Del Rey said: "Maybe that's kind of weird to have a feature on the title track, but I really love that song and we had said for a while that we were gonna do something; I did stuff on his last two records."
The "stuff" that Del Rey did on The Weeknd's records were "Stargirl Interlude" and "Party Monster
" for the Canadian singer's Starboy
album plus the Beauty Behind The Madness
Both Lana Del Rey and the Weeknd croon on the blissful track about doing things they enjoy like dancing on the "H" of the Hollywood sign. Doing anything that is fun, with somebody that they love, gives them a lust for life.
This was the first song written for Lust For Life. It was produced by longtime collaborator Rick Nowels with some extra input from the Swedish hitmaker Max Martin. However, Del Rey required had several stabs at it before she was satisfied it was complete: She explained:
"I felt like it was a big song but…it wasn't right. I don't usually go back and re-edit things that much, because the songs end up sort of being what they are, but this one song I kept going back to. I really liked the title. I liked the verse. John Janick was like, 'Why don't we just go over and see what Max Martin thinks?' So, I flew to Sweden and showed him the song. He said that he felt really strongly that the best part was the verse and that he wanted to hear it more than once, so I should think about making it the chorus. So I went back to Rick Nowels' place the next day and I was like, 'Let's try and make the verse the chorus,' and we did, and it sounded perfect.
That's when I felt like I really wanted to hear Abel sing the chorus, so he came down and rewrote a little bit of it. But then I was feeling like it was missing a little bit of the Shangri-Las element, so I went back for a fourth time and layered it up with harmonies. Now I'm finally happy with it. (laughs)"
Some music sites have come up with the theory that the song connects to the infamous suicide of Peg Entwhistle. The English actress jumped to her death from the "H" on the Hollywood sign in September 1932, at the age of 24. Hollywood lore has it that Entwhistle haunts the Hollywood sign and it is claimed her ghost she can sometimes be seen sitting at the top of the H. This legend appears to mimic the song's music video where Del Rey and The Weeknd canoodle and dance on top of the sign. However Del Rey told Genius
that she wasn't aware of Entwhistle's story:
"We've never heard that story down here at the studio. Pretty Erie (sic). And I've never seen a ghost in my apartment inside the H."
Speaking to Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks in an interview for V magazine, Del Rey explained how the Lust For Life title reflects her more positive frame of mind when penning the album.
"It's funny because when I chose the title, I didn't think about it right away," she said. "It was the title of the first song I wrote for this record. But there are so many things that have gotten me to the point that I'm at now. One of them is just time. And because I do write everything myself, I just wanted to chronicle how I was feeling honestly, in the moment, for each record."
Del Rey added: "I had a lot of stories that I wanted to tell that I hadn't told yet up until this point. And now, through the last four records, I got out a lot of those stories and a lot of those feelings, and for the first time, I've caught myself up to real time. And now, I'm at this place where I feel like I'm really present, and when I'm reading the news, I'm really reading it, whereas before I was a little bit in my own head. So, there's definitely been a feeling of freedom and lightness being in the present moment. That brings on that lust for life feeling, when you don't have all of those feelings about the past weighing you down."
The truck on the Lust For Life album cover is the same make and model as the one on the artwork of Del Rey's 2012 Born to Die record. "Being on the road was a big part of the songs," she said.