Album Review: Lana Del Rey – Chemtrails over the Country Club

For her seventh studio album ‘Chemtrails over the Country Club’, American singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey dives deep into her past and reminisces about her life before she became famous. In an interview with Mojo Del Rey hints that this album is more intimate and raw than her previous ones by saying: “It wasn’t so much that I thought the songs fantastically fit together with like seamless, sunkissed production – but you know, there’s a life lived in there.”

The first song of the eleven-track album called ‘White Dress’ remembers Del Rey’s life as a waitress at 19. It appears that Del Rey deeply cherishes and appreciates those memories as they are characterised by youthful naivety and optimism. The lyrics even suggest that the singer wants to go back to a simpler and more carefree life: “Summer, summer’s almost gone / We were talking about life, we were sitting outside ’til dawn / But I would still go back / If I could do it all again, I thought”. Del Rey can hardly reach the high soprano notes during the chorus creating an “imperfect” but authentic sound. Her voice is vulnerable and reflects the song’s nostalgic and personal story. Del Rey’s voice is accompanied by a piano which is later on joined by a soft drumbeat. However, the song’s musical composition is rather minimalistic which applies to most songs from ‘Chemtrails over the Country Club’, including ‘Let Me Love You Like A Woman’, ‘Dark But Just A Game’ and ‘Not All Who Wander Are Lost’.

Del Rey offers personal details throughout the whole album as she discusses the anguish of loneliness and love. The singer’s vulnerable and gentle voice gives the impression of someone softly whispering their life story into your ear. In ‘Dark But Just A Game’, the fifth track of the album, Del Rey expresses the loneliness one can feel, especially when famous. The pressure to adapt to society’s expectations might force one to create a façade and change into a different person – “We keep changing all the time / The best ones lose their minds / So I’m not gonna change / I’ll stay the same”. The rhythmic drumbeat provides the song with a determination that underlines the strong message of the lyrics.

In ‘Chemtrails over the Country Club’ Del Rey does not hesitate to express and integrate her love for country music. Del Rey collaborates with country singer Nikki Lane on ‘Breaking Up Slowly’ to display the misery of break-ups and loss. The pain one must endure to do what is right can be a heavyweight to carry: “It’s hard to bе lonely, but it’s the right thing to do”. Lane’s rich voice complements Del Rey’s tender vocals throughout the pensive song, which gets dominated by a repeating guitar chord sequence underlining the song’s wistfulness.

Lana Del Rey achieves to reveal yet another part of her identity through her music. The album offers a glimpse of her past and her take on love and loneliness. The singer shows strength by being vulnerable and personal, sharing her autobiography with the world. ‘Chemtrails over the Country Club’ proves that music does not need complex musical compositions, as long as it transmits emotion and meaning to the listener. Del Rey accomplishes that by speaking the truth even though it can be painful. The album resembles a collection of intimate diary entries filled with cheerful as well as agonising memories.

Written by: Alexa Zsigmond

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