Transport yourself to a romanticised, wasted America for Lana Del Rey’s seventh studio album Chemtrails Over The Country Club.
It’s been two years since the release of Lana Del Rey’s last album Norman Fucking Rockwell, named one of the best albums of the last decade by NME, Rolling Stone, and plenty of others. Chemtrails Over The Country Club was set to release in early September of last year, then initially pushed back to January 2021. It has now, finally, been released, and the expectations are high to say the least.
The album is inspired by midwest America, narrating stories connected by themes of escapism. Long gone are the days of beautiful symphonies heard in Young and Beautiful, now replaced by soft acoustic tones. We get the idea that Del Rey has discovered that she is born to run, not born to die.
Del Rey changes things up in this record, switching out her great love for California for an escape to the country and addressing her uneasy relationship with fame.
The album opens up with White Dress, and her vocal performance in this tune may be her most daring yet. With a stunningly shaky voice, the raspiness shows a vulnerableness that is quite shocking. Here Del Rey explores a time in which she had not yet found success, her intonation conveying a longing for the days where fame had not yet found her. “I felt free because I was only 19.”
White Dress shows a side to Lana that listeners may have never heard before, and for its trouble this single is sure to be a fan favourite.
On the other end of the album we hear the track For Free, a Joni Mitchell cover that brings together the sweet trio of Arizona artist Zella Day, Weyes Blood, and Del Rey herself. Together they deliver pitch-perfect harmonies sure to send shivers down your spine.
Wild Heart explores the country and folk inclinations of Lana – vastly different from her days of orchestral ballads. That said, she’s always been one to march to her own drum.
Chemtrails takes listeners into the deepest pages of Lana’s journals, dealing primarily with her loneliness and her relationship with fame. Through the new sounds of Lana, we feel like we are growing with her through the record.
It is hard to follow up on one of your most iconic albums of all time, but Chemtrails Over The Country Club finds a new peak to Lana’s storytelling ability. The record belies a beautiful narrative and is emotionally vulnerable to extremes. But what makes Lana’s music stand out is her lyricism.
Lana Del Rey: "It's hard to be lonely, but it's the best thing to do."
— Francisco Rosas (@_pakks) March 19, 2021
This album is a highlight in her repertoire in terms of how each song on the record pieces together the narrative as a whole. The level of classic songwriting on offer trumps her earlier work, but it is missing the catchier numbers such as Venice Bitch or Mariner’s Apartment Complex that helped make Norman Fucking Rockwell so iconic.
It was refreshing to hear Lana be more experimental with the raspiness of her voice, particularly in White Dress. Her almost formulaic tone is undoubtedly present in this record, and despite critics saying there might not be much range in this album, fans will no doubt appreciate her ageless quality.
Chemtrails Over The Country Club is out now via Universal. Stream or purchase the record here.