Chemtrails Over the Country Club, Lana Del Rey


Angela Ter-Martirosyan, Staff Writer

This spring, Lana Del Rey released her newest album, Chemtrails Over the Country Club. The album explores Del Rey’s life prior to fame, almost an ode to the “good old days.” After her last, incredibly successful album, Norman F*cking Rockwell! (2019), Del Rey has dialed back the grandiosity, but she still manages to remain true to her wispy, delicate, and romantic style. 

Chemtrails Over the Country Club is certainly Del Rey’s gentlest album so far, unlike her earlier albums which were more extravagant, by employing orchestral elements. This album takes the sincerity and intimacy of NFR! and takes it to another level. It is also comparatively simple in its arrangements, which makes the album sound more personal. 

I’ll admit that I understand the critiques that people have been made of her opening track, “White Dress”. It’s not her best song and it sounds like one big whisper. However, it sets the somber, nostalgic tone of the entire album. The rest of the album is a very unique work of art, both lyrically and musically. “Wild at Heart,” “Dark But Just a Game”, and “Yosemite” are arguably the best tracks on the 40-minute album, and they are all definitely worth a listen. 

Lyrically, Del Rey is a genius. In “Wild at Heart,” we see her conflicting between being free and wild but also under the spotlight. The lyrics of the album’s title track romanticize the past, emphasizing Del Rey’s longing for a carefree life that is void of burdens. “It’s beautiful how this deep normality settles down over me,” she sings. “I’m not bored or unhappy. I’m still so strange and wild.” 

The album ends with a cover of “For Free” by Joni Mitchell, which Del Rey recorded with Zella Day. This rendition of the song, which is about street musicians and artists in general who are given so little for their contributions to culture, is very touching and evocative, and it is a great way to conclude the album. 

There is certainly a genius element to this album, but admittedly, it isn’t for everyone. Though most songs on the album are beautiful, they don’t stand out, but that is because they aren’t meant to. The songs aren’t particularly catchy, and they are all so similar in both style and sound. However, this is done on purpose, as the music is meant to blend together, and the purpose of the album isn’t to produce individual hits, but rather to tell a story. 

Chemtrails Over the Country Club is a very nostalgic, poignant album and Lana Del Rey continues to impress me with her unique sound and style and constantly innovative content. I would not say this album surpasses the artist’s previous album, and yet the two albums have very different purposes and styles. Ultimately, these two albums should not be compared but instead appreciated together.