Lana Del Rey’s sixth studio album, Chemtrails Over The Country Club, reflects her past year full of backlash, isolation and possible regret.
After her successful 2019 album, Norman F------ Rockwell, Lana takes a break from the California life and travels the country in her new album. Mentioning Florida, Nebraska and Arkansas, the 35-year-old artist explores old Americana folk roots as she reflects on her life and what decisions led to her fame.
The album’s opener, “White Dress,'' is an introspective track with a “grass is greener on the other side” mentality. Lana is reminiscent of the days she waitressed before fame when she was broke but had enough confidence, and “felt free ‘cause I was only 19.” She speaks of the release of her first track at 19 years old and wonders if her life would be better if she never had fame to begin with because of this loss of freedom. The track is also one of the many examples of her hauntingly beautiful falsetto, featured with minimal background instruments and vocals.
In the album title track, Lana continues her ongoing theme of freedom and romances. In most of her previous music, she expresses recklessness and a carefree attitude. In this song, she expresses the same love for freedom and happiness for the little luxuries in her life. Singing “I’m not unhinged or unhappy; I’m just wild,” Lana demonstrates maturity from past music, without losing her adventurous outlook on love and life.
“Dark But Just A Game” switches the album from a soft and brighter tone to a darker and edgier folk track. She reflects on previous musical legends with the lyrics, “The faces aren’t the same, but their stories all end tragically/ (Sweet or whatever, baby) / And that’s the price of fame.”
Lana remains with the album’s theme and speaks about the dark price, saying how fame can change the best people and how it might not be worth it.
Songs “Not All Who Wander Are Lost” and “Yosemite” speak to Lana’s newfound minimalism. Featuring her airy and light voice, these tracks also have roots in the folk and singer-songwriter genres. “Not All Who Wander Are Lost” expresses the singer’s constant desire to travel and longing for freedom. Although Lana is constantly searching for new places, that doesn’t mean she is not satisfied with her current life.
The latter track speaks to the way a relationship can change dramatically over time, but the best relationships can withstand “all the time, changes, and seasons.” This is a different motto for Lana, as she usually preaches constant freedom in romance and not staying tied down to a man. This relationship has made her confident, and she no longer feels like a “candle in the wind.” It shows her maturity and how she is ready to somewhat settle down in her love life.
Lana uses “Dance Till We Die” to name idols she has looked up to for inspiration. These include Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks and folk singers Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell. These are women who have been very successful in their music genres and who Lana has looked up to during her controversy, singing, “But God, it feels good not to be alone.” The singer has recently faced backlash for lack of diversity in her album cover and glamorizing abuse in her past music, so the mentions of her inspirations bring comfort and hope that she made the right decision in choosing fame over normal life.
The album’s closing track, “For Free ft. Zella Day and Weyes Blood,” is a cover from Lana’s inspiration: Joni Mitchell. Although it's written by a different artist, Lana can relate to the luxurious life mentioned because of her long-time fame. It also serves as a reflection of her current life and whether or not the fame and fortune are worth it to her.
Chemtrails Over The Country Club is a simpler, minimalist complementary album compared to Norman F------ Rockwell. It continues common themes of love, luxury and freedom; however, it is not as grandiose and bold as the 2019 album. It shows Lana’s folk roots, compared to her typically pop-rock aesthetic. It’s not overpowering with background instruments and vocals because it’s not necessary for Lana. Her sound and story are powerful enough.