Review Summary: The type of album that people who hate Lana Del Rey thinks she makes all the time.
To be rather blunt, the year and a half between Elizabeth "Lana Del Rey" Grant's 2019 surprise smash hit Norman Fucking Rockwell!
and her latest clunker Chemtrails Over the Country Club
has been one rather entertaining rollercoaster of a shit show. To summarize: she released a clumsily-titled book full of pretentious poetry called "Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass", coupled with a spoken word record full of recitations of said poems, went off on some bizarre rant about how she's apparently facing some double standard because she writes about uncomfortable subjects that other female pop stars romanticize and getting shit for it, went off on weird racist tangents, did a meet and greet with fans in the midst of a pandemic and wore a face mask made of netting, and so on. One could probably suggest that Lana Del Rey is under one hell of a microscope, and you could also debate whether or not its entirely warranted. But the fact of the matter is, all these incidents are so characteristic of Lana Del Rey and who she is, that it can't entirely be surprising that she's being criticized for them in the same way she usually is for her music. Quite simply put, no matter what Lana Del Rey was going to do after NFR!
, she was going to be criticized for it. She could have released an 18 minute epic that puts "Venice Bitch" to shame, and somewhere out there, some small group of people out there would have crucified her for it. So it's no surprised that her latest album is getting all sorts of negative criticism lately. The question is, is any of it warranted?
Sadly, the answer is yes. The fact of the matter is, Chemtrails Over the Country Club
is exactly the kind of album that people who hate Lana Del Rey thinks she makes all the time. Everything you could think of that Lana Del Rey gets criticized for is not just present on Chemtrails
: "boring music", bad singing, even worse lyricism (ie. "Yosemite" literally begins with her rhyming "change" with, you guessed it, "change") and despite this, overly sterile production that has plagued her music since Born to Die
. This makes up the majority of the album, and it's laughably apparent from the moment the album begins. "White Dress" begins with a very robotic piano opening and what can only be properly described as Del Rey giving her worst Billie Eilish impression. The song does not get better after this; it proceeds to plod along at a snails pace without ever finding something resembling a hook, for nearly six minutes. It lays the groundwork for the rest of the album, which appears to have been made according to a "Lana Del Rey checklist": slow acoustic openings? Check. Bullshit "Americana" cliches? Check. Slow and drippy piano? Check. Rarely ever does the album deviate from this formula, so much that the moments where the album DOES shake things up, such as the jazzy bridge on "Dance Till We Die" comes off as cold, calculated risk. You needn't worry about tracks like "Venice Bitch" or "Hope is a Dangerous Thing..." being topped by any of the songs on Chemtrails
; Lana herself not only doesn't rise to the task, she apparently isn't interested in doing such a thing.
The end result is 45 minutes of every single negative stereotype that Lana Del Rey has thrown at her by the public being perpetuated. That the typical Lana tracks like "Tulsa Jesus Freak" and the album's title track are the best on the album is very telling. For every one of those tracks, we get 3 boring snoozers like "Dark But Just a Game" and "Breaking Up Slowly". As a result, we get what can basically only be properly be described as what could happen if a YouTuber were to make a tutorial on how to make a Lana Del Rey album. Quite simply and bluntly, Chemtrails
is exactly what people who hate Lana thinks she sounds like all the time. So Lana needn't worry about being criticized for double standards anymore; the only thing this music will be criticized for will be making probably the best unintentional sleeping pill on the market.