From Hollywood to suburbia

Singer Lana Del Ray glamorizes domestic American life in her new album “Chemtrails Over The Country Club”

Lana Del Ray gathers with her friends to strike a pose for the “Chemtrails Over The Country Club” album cover.

Photo courtesy of Genius

Lana Del Ray gathers with her friends to strike a pose for the “Chemtrails Over The Country Club” album cover.

Brenna Batchelder, Staff Reporter

Lana Del Ray has earned her spot on the charts many times before with her previous albums “Born to Die” and “Norman F***ing Rockwell,” but her latest album, “Chemtrails Over The Country Club,” takes a turn within her career. 

Del Ray’s sixth studio album was released on March 19 after a long wait due to the pandemic and a production issue. After a long career of glorifying the vices and the glamour of fame, this album takes a turn and retracts into a view about domestic American life and smaller things in life. 

Kicking off the album, the song “White Dress” introduces the new era for Del Ray. It was an interesting choice for the first song, considering that the vocals in the chorus are a weird mix of whispering and singing. Other than that, the song is a unique and surprising turn from the rest of her discography. The song discusses her life before she was famous and reminisces on it. Even though it isn’t the strongest start, “White Dress” establishes the vintage and mature mood for the album. 

Released as a single, the title track of the album “Chemtrails Over the Country Clubs,” romanticizes a suburban summer. This serene song picks parts of her previous album, “Norman F***ing Rockwell,” and displays some of her stronger and richer vocals, creating the perfect song for relaxing in the sun. 

Though all the songs have their strong parts, most of them start to feel dull sooner or later. The next song, “Tulsa Jesus Freak,” has a beautiful introduction, but my interest fades as the song progresses. Songs following like “Let Me Love You Like A Woman,” “Dance Till We Die” and the final track, “For Free,” all follow this trend, unfortunately. 

Going past the monotonous songs, the fifth track, “Wild at Heart,” explores the nature and freedom felt by being with her lover. It accomplishes the failed whisper-singing that Del Ray attempted and struggled with in “White Dress” and redeems her strength as a vocalist. Other than that, the soft and aged nature of the song makes it stand out in the album as one of the stronger songs.

While reading the title of the sixth track, “Dark but Just a Game,” it instantly intrigued me. It brings back the darker and moodier vibe that her previous studio album “Ultraviolence” had, and I am 100% here for it. The song discusses the dark side of Hollywood and her intent of not becoming a cliché Hollywood tragedy. “Dark but Just a Game” is one of Del Ray’s stronger works on this album and definitely earns the repeat button for me.

The seventh track is titled with a line most people have seen on a t-shirt or a coffee mug, “Not All Who Wander Are Lost.” Though the title is typical, the song continues the themes of freedom and summer bliss through Del Ray’s soft vocals. This isn’t the strongest track on the album, but it is nice on the ears and has an uplifting mood.

 “Yosemite,” the eighth song, starts off in a hypnotizing way. Del Ray returns her whisper-singing and proves her talent as a singer once again. The song contains themes about relationships surviving the test of time and has a loving and nostalgic vibe to it. The first couple of listens to this song proved this song’s place in my top three.

“Breaking Up Slowly” takes a detour back into the darker and more emotional side of Del Ray. Dueting with American Country Singer Nikki Lane, Del Ray produces a song like no other on “Chemtrails Over The Country Club.” It lacks any of the pop and indie that might’ve influenced the previous songs. It discusses breaking up slowly with a person and the thoughts that might arise in that situation. Personally, it is a beautifully written and performed song but simply isn’t my style. I appreciate the artistry behind “Breaking Up Slowly,” but it will not be added to my playlists.

Del Ray proves her fluidity as an artist in “Chemtrails Over The Country Club.” She shines with tracks like “Yosemite” and “Dark but Just a Game” and lacks in others. Overall, the change in themes from the glamour of stardom to the beauty of domestic life surprised me quite a bit. Despite that, I appreciate the vintage feel of this album. It is a perfect album for a relaxed summer spent in the sun. 

 ✰✰✰ stars