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Chemtrails Over the Country Club

by Lana Del Rey

Released March 19, 2021 via Interscope Records / Polydor Records

Reviewed March 30, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Chemtrails Over The Country Club (55%), White Dress (45%), Dark But Just A Game (40%)

Following the wildly successful Norman Fucking Rockwell!, Lana Del Rey strips back her sound even further to create a bare but powerful pop album that is equal parts ethereal and beautiful. The first half of the album sees her and Jack Antonoff focusing on soft string arrangement-focused instrumentals, while the back half leans heavily on more folk elements, and it all blends together incredibly well. Lana’s breathtaking vocals sit center stage as she takes advantage of the attributes that make her voice stand out amongst her contemporaries. Though some songs are a tad underwritten, most of the tracks on Chemtrails Over the Country Club are a stark examination on how surface level perfection and happiness have a much deeper emotional depth when you get past the initial front that most people present. – Jared (8.5/10)

Looking back on Lana’s questionable behaviour and the distorted schadenfreude some have felt over the last six months or so, it starts to make sense when listening to her new album, Chemtrails Over The Country Club. Not that I condone any of it - it’s just that this album has little to no market appeal by itself. This isn’t inherently a bad thing, but at the same time, it isn’t some imperceptible enigma inaccessible to the public. Chemtrails’ timbres bathe in minimalism, grounding it and humanising it with intimacy. However, many of these songs lack the flair Lana has shown in the past. Take the titular opener from her last LP, Norman Fucking Rockwell!, and compare it to this album’s eponymous track. Both have gorgeous alto vocals, an infectious chorus refrain, slow but assured piano, and narrative verses that frame love and life in unique ways. The difference is, that’s all Chemtrails… offers, for the most part. “Norman Fucking Rockwell” has dreamy backing synths, and the rest of the LP departs from simplicity altogether. Chemtrails… is less ambitious, only briefly building momentum in the second half with relaxed percussion, smooth electric guitars, silvery string accompaniments, and some fantastic guest vocals that pair beautifully with the main act. It takes a while to get going, but Lana’s songwriting and Jack Antonoff’s production intertwine to form yet another successful alt-pop outing. – Cam (8/10)

Lana Del Rey has hit an intriguing stride, and with her fanbase morphing yet again, she is compounding returns with a second album in this latest Lana era. Chemtrails Over the Country Club feels tuned into the raw elements of Lana's recent successes; she tastefully reapplied the methods that made Norman Fucking Rockwell! a hit without making her new album feel repetitive or uninspired. Cosmetically, the experience within Chemtrails offers plenty to listen and look closely to. This flowery bouquet of beautifully arranged ballads is a great offering to listeners, and the effect it breeds is exponential behind repeated artistic successes. – DeVán (8/10)

Continuing to trend in the direction of a softer, more simplistic piano-centric sound, Lana Del Rey follows up Norman Fucking Rockwell! with another impressive showing on Chemtrails Over the Country Club. Once again working with Jack Antonoff, Del Rey’s seventh album is marked by a combination of string arrangements and pianos that are as minimalistic as they are vibrant. With this production in place, Chemtrails Over the Country club shifts toward a more folk and Americana-based sound that firmly places the singer-songwriter at the forefront. While the second half of the album somewhat tapers off in terms of songwriting, the bulk of songs feature some of her most vulnerable work yet as she finds nostalgia in her pre-fame days and details a longing for such solace. – Dominick (8/10)

Chemtrails Over The Country Club is a good album, but it still feels like a slight step back from the more art-pop influenced Norman Fucking Rockwell!, largely due to the production. The first five or so tracks tend to blend together, feeling monotonous and lethargic, but the second half picks up majorly (especially on the fantastic, Radiohead-esque “Dark But Just A Game”) with its ambitious and versatile production choices. It is a more stripped-down version of her previous work, putting her vocals at front and center. If you’re gonna take such a minimalist direction, the songwriting and/or the voice have to do a lot of heavy lifting for the album to stand out. And while her songwriting is great, it’s not enough to keep up with her previous work. Although it eventually lands on its feet, the first half of Chemtrails… is a load on its back, holding the album back and preventing it from landing in the upper echelon of Lana’s discography – Alan (7.6/10)

Jared: 8.5/10 | Pax: 8.3/10 | Cam: 8/10 | DeVán: 8/10 | Dominick: 8/10

Pablo: 8/10 | Alan: 7.6/10 | Hadley: 7/10 | Victoria: 5/10


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