Fav Tracks: White Dress, Chemtrails Over the Country Club, Dark But Just a Game
Least Fav: Let Me Love You Like A Women, Breaking Up Slowly
Lana Del Rey has had a somewhat controversial year after her 6th studio album Norman Fucking Rockwell! released in 2019. Now she’s back with a her new album Chemtrails Over the Country Club that features 11 songs that runs 45 minutes in length. I think over the past year fame and judgement has effected, Lana, maybe putting her in a place where she wants to be removed or distanced from it all.
Lana’s vocals and songwriting surrounded by piano instrumentals really run the show here. It feels super scaled back immediately reminding me of Joni Mitchell’s Blue record. My biggest complaint is maybe it falls a little to hard into its own design with not much diversity between tracks. It’s a slower folk like dream about wanting an easy going life outside fame.
The intro track “White Dresses” dives right into this with, Lana, reflecting on her previous life before fame and saying she felt more noticed for who she actually is at that point. The entire song has super breathy vocals that emit a sort of pain, but also a vibrant nostalgic attitude. We see at the end of the track she confirms her thoughts with admitting she might of been better off without the fame. This song is sooooo, Joni Mitchell, that it’s hard not to acknowledge.
The title track “Chemtrails Over the Country Club” just feels like you’re sitting by the pool on a summers day staring up at the sky. The vocals just radiate warm sunshine. There’s more going on in this track then just the feeling it provides. Lana, is dealing with some sort of contimplation and we see this is the lines
It’s beautiful how this deep normality settles down over me
I’m not bored or unhappy, I’m still so strange and wild
The drums outro is a really nice touch to close out the track as well.
The 3rd track here “Tulsa Jesus Freak” picks up the production a little with some string instrumentals being added towards the end. This track continues the narrative of, Lana, having these dreams and wants of settling down in an easy going place, but there also seems to be some slight connotation that that may never happen.
“Let Me Love You Like a Woman” is an average track, but now the same ideas are starting to get a little worn out. This track just reinforces some of the other thoughts, such as wanting to leave L.A. for a small town.
Making our way to the middle of Chemtrails Over the Country Club we get “Wild at Heart”. This song has more going on in it then I expected. My favorite portion of this track is right before the hook. It seems that some of Lana’s wild decisions have impacted the relationship being discussed both positively and negatively and now we see where it stands.
The production on the next track “Dark But Just a Game” has a Radiohead-esk quality to it. Maybe stemming from how the guitar instrumentals sound. There is a pretty quick moment where the production does get a little wild, in a good way, with some piano being added. It’s a bleak song where Lana sees how fame has had its impact on who it touches and she wants to do her best to avoid that.
This album really starts to fall into its own traits at this point and the diversity between tracks is scarce. That’s always been my biggest issue with some of Lana’s records, while the songwriting may be well done, it just runs super slow and monotonous over a stretched out period of time.
“Yosemite” has bongos playing in the background behind a guitar instrumental that is super calm in this slightly dark atmosphere. The message involved has a more uplifting attitude with it being about a strong relationship that withstands time.
Bringing this album to a close there weren’t to many more moments that I thoroughly enjoyed. “Dance Till We Die” has a pretty cool bridge that may be the most energetic sequence on the record.
To swing back all around to, Joni Mitchell, we close with a cover of her song “For Free”. Lana uses this moment to include artists Zella Day and Weyes Blood. While their rendition of this tracks sounds great, it’s not all that different from the original which I prefer. At least the theme of this track plays nicely in with the ideas discussed throughout the album.
Chemtrails Over the Country Club starts out quit strong with it’s philosophy and how Lana approaches the tracks. Unfortunately for me, like with most Lana Del Rey albums, it just wears thin by the end. The lack of diversity in song style makes me wish the record would end before it actually concludes. Its not a record that can keep me engaged long enough for the weight of it to settle in.