After her critically acclaimed Norman Fucking Rockwell, Lana Del Rey has released Chemtrails Over The Country Club. Unlike NFR, Lana’s newest takes a step back into the quieter, folksy aesthetics of her earlier work–a choice punctuated by the album’s closing cover of a Joni Mitchell song. Overall, the album is an enjoyable addition to Lana’s discography but a disappointment compared to NFR.
From its start, Chemtrails Over The Country Club proves Lana to be more open to new ideas than in the past. “White Dress” features an intriguing vocal performance that squeezes between falsetto and strained whispering, an artistic risk that pays off. The song works as a thesis statement for the whole project as Lana nostalgically sings about her start as a musician. Throughout the album, this sentiment of reflection and memory continues through Lana’s poetry.
Portions of Lana’s newest feel remarkably fresh. The opener and title tracks both move the singer into new territory, with “White Dress” showing a level of artistic detail not often found before NFR. But at other times, Chemtrails Over The Country Club is regressive. “Yosemite” trips through cringe-worthy lyrics and reverb, an unfortunate fall into the singer’s earliest aesthetic on Born to Die.
Still, Chemtrails Over The Country Club pushes through these tumbles. Using Americana and folk, Lana considers the past, travel, and relationships. And ultimately, even when her lyrics roam too closely to melodrama that just doesn’t quite land, Lana Del Rey’s music is still pleasant. Chemtrails Over The Country Club is the vision of an artist only becoming more interesting as time goes on.