- 19 Mar 21
American star returns with intimate seventh album.
Vintage Hollywood, doomed starlets and the romanticised promise of the American Dream have been Lana Del Rey’s bread-and-butter since she first entered our lives ten years ago – and while her penchant for melodrama and nostalgia are still safely in check on Chemtrails Over The Country Club, her new album finds her stripping back most of her trademark grandeur for something decidedly more introspective and intimate.
From the raw, voice-cracking opening track ‘White Dress’, we find her pining after the supposed innocence and normality of pre-fame life. And it’s this pursuit of simplicity that guides the rest of the album – with Lana turning her attention away from the glitzy lives of coastal elites, to the wide, open expanses of ‘real’ America. She claims the Midwest as a source of inspiration, but true to form, it’s an idealised vision, shaped by the writings of the Beat Generation more than any contemporary lived experience.
This is further explored in the Americana influences, and the stark turn away from the lush, vibrant production of Norman Fucking Rockwell! While she sits comfortably in the small, understated moments, she's rarely settling stylistically – jumping from a jazz-inspired drum solo at the end of the title track to trip-hop-elements, and referencing Tammy Wynette and George Jones in 'Breaking Up Slowly' alongside outlaw country singer Nikki Lane.
Having previously demonstrated her gift for reinventing classics with her cover of Sublime’s ‘Doin’ Time’, one of the unexpected highlights of Chemtrails Over The Country Club is a cover of Joni Mitchell's 'For Free', on which she's joined by Weyes Blood and Zella Day. It's a fitting closing track, as a poignant reflection on the isolation of stardom – penned by someone who knew the reality only too well, and given new life by Lana at her most captivatingly contemplative.