Chemtrails Over the Country Club by Lana Del Rey album review by Jahmeel Russell for Northern Transmissions

Polydor/Interscope

8

Lana Del Rey

Chemtrails Over the Country Club

Lana Del Rey returns with another incredibly strong set of songs on her new LP Chemtrails Over the Country Club, the follow up 2019s excellent Grammy-nominated “Norman Fucking Rockwell”. Her seventh album overall features 10 originals co-written by Rey and producer/songwriter Jack Antonoff who has notably also worked with artists such as Taylor Swift, St. Vincent, Lorde, and Carly Rae Jepsen.

The album opens with the “White Dress” which continues Del Rey’s style of autobiographical storytelling lyrics and tells the story of the singer pre-fame at 19, working as a waitress, getting her start in a male-dominated music business, and also references listening to White Stripes and Kings of Leon. Musically it’s a beautiful piano-led track with Del Rey’s vulnerable-sounding vocals taking centre stage and shimmering lounge drums that rise and fall to great dramatic effect. It’s an incredibly effective opener that sets the tone for most of the album. The title track and first single “Chemtrails Over the Country Club” mentions her siblings and friends in the lyrics and continues the Americana feel that permeates this album. It’s uncertain if the title is meant to spark serious thought in the listener who pays attention to the lyrics or just a tongue-in-cheek point of reference but it doesn’t matter. It serves a purpose by just adding an element of darkness to an otherwise sunny recollection. “Dark But Just a Game” rhythmically recalls 2012s Born to Die while production-wise still maintaining the overall vibe of the album. “Breaking Up Slowly” features an appearance by singer/songwriter Nikki Lane and lyrically references Tammy Wynette and George Jones rollercoaster relationship along with its country twang. “For Free” closes out the album beautifully, the Joni Mitchell penned song fits like a glove with the rest of the tracks here and features vocal contributions from Zella Day and Weyes Blood.

This album is a perfect continuation from Del Rey’s last record offering a similar style but with a more stripped-down atmosphere production-wise. Her vocals remain notable with strong character and beauty and a particularly haunting tone not heard on the last record. Also of note is the drumming on the album which adds great and dramatic dynamics to many of the tracks. This album is another triumph for Lana Del Rey.