Music Reviews: Lana Del Rey

Decay and decadence coexist in the world Lana Del Rey created in Chemtrails Over The Country Club.

At first glance, their intimate sequel to “Norman (Expletive) Rockwell” may seem less critical. Instead of deconstructing the American myth, Del Rey turns her gaze inward. But in the silence she dissects another pain that is felt in the implacable glow of the limelight.

The whispering opener “White Dress” immediately distinguishes “Chemtrails Over The Country Club” from “Norman (Expletive) Rockwell”.

She works with the same producer, Jack Antonoff, whose credits can also be seen on Taylor Swift’s 2020 albums “evermore” and “folklore”. There are echoes of Swift’s production on Del Rey’s new album with songs like the mellow “Yosemite” leaning in the folk direction.

Del Rey perfected the art of making album capsules. Each record exudes its own aesthetic, with the songs referring to each other within the album. Del Rey gives albums cohesion in a way most other artists don’t.

In “Dance Till We Die” she sings the cover of Joni Mitchell before releasing her own cover of Mitchell’s “For Free”. “Yosemite” also seems to be calling for their final coverage. “We did it for fun / We did it for free,” she cooed. “We did it for the right reasons.”

Parallel to the juxtaposition of the title, Del Rey’s seventh album examines the yin and yang of fame, fortune and creativity. On the surface are glittering images: jewels in a country club pool and bars that stay open “only for us”. A melancholy emptiness rings below, permeated with isolation and desire.

The outstanding album “Dark But Just A Game” embodies these feelings. Del Rey paints a picture of someone who sees those who fell before her. “Her stories all end tragically,” she sings, recalling artists like Judy Garland and Amy Winehouse. “The best have lost their minds.”

Other songs create the same illustration. “The cameras have lightning bolts, they cause car accidents,” sings Del Rey in the American-inspired “Wild At Heart” and refers to the catastrophic death of Princess Diana.

“Chemtrails Over The Country Club” has all of the Del Rey staples – angelic vocals, bridges that add a second dimension to tracks and ironic lyrics.