Gone are the days of East Coast Lana Del Ray — now there’s only West Coast Del Ray and her ballads. “Chemtrails Over The Country Club” is a melting pot of poetry and simple acoustic melodies. Sadly, there is no longer “Gangster Nancy Sinatra” or “Coney Island Queen” Del Ray, at least not on this great American record.
I’m not going to lie: I’ve been waiting for this album for God knows how long. I lost interest, especially with Del Rey’s typewriter posts on Instagram and other delays. Maybe it was the months of waiting, but this album doesn’t really live up to the hype.
“White Dress” opens the album with Del Rey’s higher register, reminiscing on her days as a waitress at 19. The title track, “Chemtrails Over the Country Club,” has one of the best outros on the album. Del Rey also mentions her astrology signs in between the verses of nostalgia.
“Let Me Love You Like a Woman” was the lead single for the album and fits the Americana aesthetic very well. However, the song was slow and did not stand out enough. Again fitting the Americana sound, “Wild at Heart” showcases Del Rey’s vocal ability as she sings of freedom and fame. It sounds like the stepsister to “How To Disappear” from “Norman F*cking Rockwell!”
The closest thing we get to a turning point in the album is “Dark But Just A Game.” It also has a little hint of Del Rey’s third studio album “Ultraviolence,” but the main theme is fame and the darkness of it. “Not All Who Wander Are Lost” has great lyrics but is another slow song that might get lost amongst the others on the album. Ironically, it continues the theme of wanderlust.
“Chemtrails” feels like running through the Great Plains, or if the heart of America could sing. It is the sound of a typical American in the most average American way. Del Rey also talked about issues regarding her fame and the authenticity of her image and music.
“Chemtrails Over The Country Club” is gentle and ethereal. Lyrically, the album is about the same as “Norman F*cking Rockwell!” This is Del Rey’s most melodic album, giving listeners some of her best melodies. I was expecting a major musical shift between the albums since Del Rey’s discography is so versatile. I love ballads, but some of the songs are too similar. This is an album that will grow with each listen. The songs will eventually stand out. However, the strong lyricism is lost among the identical production.
Even though “Norman F*cking Rockwell!” had a rocky rollout, there was tons of variety musically. “Chemtrails” lives in the shadow of its predecessor. It is her quietest album and gives the best of her songwriting skills. Its simplicity and comforting sound is a great addition to Del Rey’s multifaceted discography.