Lana Del Rey shows “rey”venge with new release
SUN. | 04-25-21 | ENTERTAINMENT
On Sunday, March 21, Lana Del Rey released her seventh studio album: Chemtrails Over the Country Club. While I am not an avid Lana Del Rey fan and tend to think many of her songs sound the same, I went outside of my comfort zone by listening to the entirety of Chemtrails Over the Country Club. The album is the product of Lana Del Rey exploring her authenticity and maturity. Some songs on the album were definitely played on repeat, but I might continue to just watch Lana Del Rey say questionable things instead of listening to her entire discography.
Before I review some of the songs, the tracks “Wild at Heart,” “Not All Who Wander Are Lost” and “Yosemite” did not align with my personal taste, and will thus be omitted. “Let Me Love You Like A Woman,” the album’s fourth track and promotional single, will also be skipped because of the neutral feelings I have towards it.
The first track, “White Dress,” has caused much division among Lana Del Rey fans; they either hate it or love it. Lyrically, the song reflects on her time before fame. Audibly, though, the first thirty seconds of the song are beyond painful. I rather listen to nails on a chalkboard than sitting through the entirety of that portion of the song. Once you get past those thirty seconds, the song begins to make sense. It is quite unfortunate that those thirty seconds of “White Dress” are what set the stage for the entire album. Regardless, I am glad I gave the song a chance, as I have become obsessed with the out-of-breath nature of the chorus, as well as
Image taken from bbc.com
how it contrasts with her otherwise silky vocalization on the track. I even find myself randomly screaming “down at the men in music business conference” in the varied tempo she utilizes. The breathiness of “White Dress” is unique and continues to draw me back, despite how hard I may cringe at the first thirty seconds.
Next up is the album’s namesake track, “Chemtrails Over the Country Club.” I partially gravitated towards this album because of the title of this song. “Chemtrails” refers to a conspiracy that condensation from planes are actually toxic biological agents, which contrast with the suburban vibes of country clubs. Ultimately, this song would have been better as the lead-off track than its predecessor, “White Dress.” Thematically, “Chemtrails Over the Country Club” is very similar to “White Dress,” but it’s easier to digest for new listeners. The simple and almost muffled piano was very calming, giving me ample opportunity to reflect on the lyrics. My favorite lines in the song have to be “Meet you for coffee at the elementary schools” and “There's nothing wrong contemplating God.” Lana Del Rey describes a perfect date I had never even known I wanted.
The following track, “Tulsa Jesus Freak,” is a prime example of why I have struggled to listen to Lana Del Rey in the past: I cannot comprehend half of the words she sings. It was not until I looked up the lyrics that I realized the post-chorus repeats “white hot forever” and not “wakeup forever.” Regardless, it is hauntingly beautiful each time the post-chorus plays. As for the rest of the song, it is very catchy but I have no clue what it is about.
Skipping to track six, “Dark But Just A Game,” has a lot of the same elements I enjoyed in “White Dress.” Lana Del Rey’s vocal variety is undoubtedly impressive, and this song highlights her talent. The song only gets better as you hone in on the meaning. She explores fame and how she has refused to change because of the limelight. Referring to fame as “dark but just a game” is an interesting concept that I am still contemplating.
On Chemtrails Over The Country Club, only tracks nine and eleven (“Breaking Up Slowly” and “For Free”) feature other artists, which I found to be refreshing. “Breaking Up Slowly” features Nikki Lane, whom I have never heard of prior to this song, but hearing her was a delightful experience. Lane’s low voice in this particular song reminds me a lot of “The Story” by Brandi Carlile, which is a song I happened to be obsessed with during my Grey’s Anatomy phase.
Personally, I cannot listen to a lot of falsetto, but that is one of the things Lana Del Rey does best. Including other artists with lower ranges made it easier for me to enjoy the album, as it gave my ears enough time to prepare for falsetto overload. “For Free,” featuring Weyes Blood and Zella Day, strikes a perfect balance between mid-range vocals and falsetto. Lana Del Rey showcases her range and nicely builds up to higher notes. Track ten (“Dance Till We Die”) also exhibits Lana Del Rey’s range. My previous concern of too much falsetto is alleviated with “Dance Till We Die,” since it is lower-toned and slower-paced.
Overall, while Lana Del Rey is not an artist I regularly listen to, Chemtrails Over the Country Club is a 7.5/10. The nostalgia and struggle with fame that Lana Del Rey sings about is worth a listen.