Pop singer Lana Del Rey’s new album, “Chemtrails over the Country Club,” finds the experienced writer/performer in a kaleidoscopic, potent mindset.
The follow up to “Norman F*****g Rockwell” (2019) and seventh overall album, takes characteristics of her style: Gloomy lyrics, orchestration and Pop-minded arrangements and focuses them inward.
Morphing reflectiveness and relatability, the raspy set opener, “White Dress,” recalls the versatile singer’s pre-fame existence as Emily Grant, working as a waitress and listening to Sun-Ra, the White Stripes and Kings of Leon, while she expresses a positive outlook.
Most songs included on this release are produced by Jack Antonoff, whose illuminating orchestral arrangements and clean guitar work highlight Del Rey’s unique cadence.
Thankfully you don’t have to listen long to understand her appeal. The title track shows how her wordplay stimulates the imagination: “I’m on the run with you, my sweet love. There’s nothing wrong contemplating God under the chemtrails over the country club. Wearing our jewels in the swimming pool, me and my sister just playin’ it cool.”
The only song on the effort with production queues like club beats, “Tulsa Jesus Freak,” creates cinema-like audio vividly juxtaposing the character’s beliefs, “You should stay real close to Jesus” (alludingto the singer’s religious upbringing) — with the reality of her less perfect world, one with addiction and relationship issues — “Keep that bottle at your hand, my man, find your way back to my bed again.”
Appearing later and featuring a bass track, “Dark But Just a Game” widens the rumination view by drawing inspiration from a conversation Antonoff and Del Rey had about fame. Her lyrics reflect their topic of permeability by rebuking status and refusing change, thinking it will preserve her sanity.
A sense of wanderlust from lead single, “Let me Love You Like a Woman” with lyrics like, “I’m ready to leave LA and I want you to come” sets a mood amid more lover’s themes on “Not all Who Wonder are Lost.”
Contemporaries like Billie Eilish take heed, this song shows how a moody, stripped back vocal delivery can adapt to numerous styles, refreshing itself.
Showing Del Rey’s creativity wandering to new exciting places, “Yosemite” finds her upbeat, explaining what she thinks to be the ultimate form of true, lasting love: Two lovers embarking on their relationship “for the right reasons.” When the respective participants do so in the name of caring for the other person, not their own personal selves and if their feelings don’t sour, they will be unbreakable.
Closing out these 11 tracks, Del Ray pays tribute to other women, powerful in their own right.
“Breaking Up Slowly,” co-written with Nikki Lane, a touring associate, riffs off of the tempestuous relationship between musicians Tammy Wynette and George Jones. “Dance Till We Die” celebrates women in music who have come before her, like Stevie Nicks and finally, Weyes Blood and Zella Day join Del Rey on the final track, covering Joni Mitchell’s “For Free.”