- 05 Nov 21
Intimacy taken to the next level on Del Rey’s introspective seventh album.
Having returned earlier this year with the buoyant Chemtrails over the Country Club; NYC native Lana del Rey is back with an intensely personal new offering. Landing at 16 tracks, each number is stripped of nearly all background distractions and instrumentation.
Piano accompaniment is the 36-year-old artist’s only tool - bar raw songwriting that digs deep into melancholia, failed romance and her circle of female friendships. Her relationships with women prove core to her survival, having had her identity stripped back by a new boyfriend, as described on ‘Violets for Roses’. Her penchant for Hollywood glamour, ennui and heartbreak remain, but del Rey is holding slightly less back.
The title track features an otherworldly sketch about a group of women living in the same house — Jenny, Nicki, Chucky. Her friends help her through heartache caused by a man who, “said he’d fix my weathervane, give me children, take away my pain, and paint my banisters blue.” ‘Black Bathing Suit’, and ‘Textbook’ delves into deception and otherworldly romance with a twist, while ‘Nectar of the Gods’ lifts the veil over Lana’s downcast origin story. “Comfortably numb, but with lithium, came poetry,” she croons. Self-expression risks the artist’s mental wellbeing.
Blue Banisters moves at a similar, down-tempo pace throughout but the conclusion sees the alternative act address her pregnant sister directly. “Don’t have to write me a letter/cause I’ll always be right there,” Del Rey sings, “Closer to you than your next breath.” Ending on a note of familial, feminine love is Lana’s smartest move yet.
Listen: ‘Sweet Carolina’
Stream Blue Banisters below, via Interscope/Polydor