‘Chemtrails over the Country Club’ Blends Americana and Baroque Pop Ballads


Photo By @lanadelrey

Lana Del Rey’s new album ‘Chemtrails over the Country Club’ allows her to return to her roots as an artist. Photo courtesy of @lanadelrey

By Shrika Paramasivam, Reporter

Lana Del Rey, an American singer-songwriter, released her seventh studio album, Chemtrails over the Country Club on Friday, Mar. 19. The album includes 11 songs and collaborations with notable artists including Zella Day and Weyes Blood. Despite the backlash Del Rey faced from both the old-fashioned nature of the album cover with its lack of diversity and the initial name of the album, White Hot Forever, the artist managed to release a body of work that is a reflection of herself and all of the ways that she has portrayed herself to the general public and her fans. Chemtrails over the Country Club has allowed Del Rey to successfully return to her Lizzy Grant era baroque pop roots.  

The first song on the album is White Dress, a song that reminisces on the artist’s memories as a young waitress. When first listening to this song, I came to the realization that this album would be more personal than the others and create a diary-like narrative with the strangely specific lyrics. In terms of sound and composition, it was different from anything else that I have heard and the chorus stuck out to me as an eccentric ballad. The ballad created a sense of nostalgia for experiences that you may never have experienced with light rock tunes, and folky-pop. This song was the perfect introduction to the artist’s most sentimental album yet. 

Chemtrails over the Country Club, the titular song, is one that I don’t think deserved a spot as a single on the album. While I still liked the song, it was thematically repetitive and sounded very similar to many of her previous songs from Born to Die and Ultraviolence. Despite this, I appreciated the lengthy outro and production. The song would be perfect in the background of a ’70s movie. Similarly, the other single Let Me Love You Like A Woman missed the mark for me, but was still well-produced and written in poetic verses. 

Chemtrails over the Country Club is followed by Tulsa Jesus Freak, another notable song on the album in terms of composition and storytelling. This song is easily my favorite song off of the album with its catchy tune and unique lyrics. This song continues the imagery of a “white hot” or incandescent experience mentioned in previous songs and fits perfectly with the narrative that Chemtrails over the Country Club builds. Its folk-pop sound is more representative of the album as a whole and I feel that Tulsa Jesus Freak should have replaced Let Me Love You Like A Woman as a single. 

Dance Till We Die emphasizes the Americana nature of the album with its rock bridge, which ultimately makes this song shine. This song closely follows Tulsa Jesus Freak as my second favorite on the album and it lets Del Rey show her versatility as an artist. Not All Who Wander Are Lost follows Dance Till We Die as an Americana ballad and adds emotional complexity to the album with its melancholy and nostalgic storyline. Hearing these two songs makes me want to hear the artist’s take on a completely Americana album. 

The album has two tracks featuring notable artists in the independent music scene along with Del Rey. These artists are Zella Day, Weyes Blood, and Nikki Lane. My favorite collaboration is Breaking Up Slowly, the song with Nikki Lane, as the duet and harmonization made it stand out. 

Zella Day and Weyes Blood were featured on the closing song of the album, For Free. For Free is a cover of a song originally made by Joni Mitchell and it felt like a flawless conclusion to the album with its bittersweet verses and allusions to her previous album, Lust for Life

Chemtrails over the Country Club provided a heartfelt listening experience that explored Lana Del Rey’s path as a woman navigating the music industry. This album shows that the artist can shine with both a refined alternative pop sound as well as an Americana one, which allowed her to advance sounds that she used under her real name Lizzy Grant. The album was the perfect mix of baroque pop and folk ballads and is worth a listen for anyone who enjoys modern independent music. I am looking forward to seeing how Del Rey progresses her musical sound in her upcoming album, Rock Candy Sweet

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