We keep changing all the time
The best ones lost their mind
So I’m not gonna change
I’ll stay the same
Is that, from Dark but Just a Game, a middle finger to people like me that have been claiming that Lana Del Rey has been doing a rehash of the same song over and over? The best middle finger would be an album that sounds a lot like a rehash of her previous works, only this one somehow succeeds in being more cohesive, haunting, and beautiful than those albums. That, people, is what Chemtrails over the Country Club is. It’s that follow-up I have been waiting for since Born to Die.
It’s going to be hard for me to describe why I find this album so good when the last few fell flat for me, because Ms Del Ray is just repeating her formula here. The gorgeous Let Me Love You Like a Woman is, for example, a sequel to Love. Play them back to back, and while I should probably frown at how the two tracks feel so similar, the overall effect is soothing and calming. The lyrics and the smooth, laid-back, bare bones instrumentation come together with Ms Del Rey’s squeaky vocals to make me feel like I’m floating peacefully in a sea of blue or something. It’s like having an acid trip without actually popping a pill.
This time around, the publicity materials claim that Ms Del Rey is incorporation folk and traditional rock, whatever that means, into her music, but strip away the marketing jargon, and it’s a lovely, focused, atmospheric listen. I’m honestly hard pressed to single out any song here that is melodically or lyrically strong, as they are in many ways a familiar trip down the path already taken many times by Ms Del Ray.
However, the overall effect of listening to these tracks back to back creates a far stronger and more lucid impression compared to her last few albums. Maybe it’s because, at the time of writing, I could use a psychological trip to a calmer, soothing place, and that’s where this album takes me. Tracks such as the title track (easily the best one of the lot), White Dress, and Yosemite are pure aural therapy. Even if the words are about heartbreak and disappointment, the effect is still a balm on the raw nerves. It also helps that it’s hard to discern what Ms Del Rey is slurring out half the time, heh.
In fact, this album is the closest Ms Del Rey has come to date to serving shrink couch music on a disc or Spotify or wherever one listens to this thing.
Yes, I’m not sure whether I love these songs individually, but the overall album is just solid. Chemtrails over the Country Club is that Lana Del Rey album I have been seeking for a long time, and I dare say it’s almost worth the slog of the last few albums. Almost, that is.