The 2016 presidential election prompted flare-ups from both sides of the line, and the ensuing months saw many musicians channel their unrest into song. Lana Del Rey's Lust For Life is no different. Now, Del Rey has never been one to shy away from opinions, and she's stated in numerous interviews that the new album is decidedly political. So, really, it's no wonder you get the vibe that "When the World Was At War We Kept Dancing" is about Donald Trump.
While the lyrics don't call him out directly, they do seem to capture the general unease that's trailed his election — not only because a large swath of the U.S. has vocally opposed his presidency, but also because it's exposed deep tensions within the American public. "Is it the end of an era? Is it the end of America?" Del Rey ponders in the chorus, perhaps referencing the shift from Barack Obama's left-leaning leadership to the conservative-driven platform Trump campaigned on.
But the track isn't so much about Trump as it as about staying vigilant and fighting back in the face of adversity— a sentiment that echoes Del Rey's comments during an in interview with Flaunt in May. She told the outlet,
She continued, "In my mind, the lyrics were a reminder not to shut down or shut off, or just don’t talk about things. It was more like stay vigilant and keep dancing. Stay awake."
Lust For Life, as a whole, is quite purposefully political, and Del Rey has been open about her disdain for the president. In February, she urged fans via Twitter to participate in a witchcraft ritual to try to remove him from office, and, earlier this week, she revealed to Pitchfork that she would stop using her American flag visuals because it now felt "uncomfortable." She explained,
But, though spurred by Trump — or at least what his presidency has come to represent — "When the World Was At War We Kept Dancing" seems more about the overarching political landscape than one specific person, and it ends with a hopeful resolve that suggests it's us, not Trump, who has the power to change our country's future. She sings,
That we will. We certainly will.