Lana Del Ray’s “Chemtrails Over the Country Club” Showcases Both Creative Prowess and Technical Skill

Sofia Bernstein, Contributing Writer

Rating: 4/5 Falcons

Lana Del Rey’s newest album Chemtrails Over the Country Club shows off her incredible vocal and writing abilities. Del Rey’s career started with her most popular album Born to Die. Although some fans may point out that Lana Del Rey aka Lizzie Grant came out before this, Born to Die is what enabled her rise to fame and made her the artist she is today. Most known for her hit song “Summertime Sadness,” Del Rey has collaborated with dozens of other artists, including A$AP Rocky and The Weeknd. Since her 2019 critically-acclaimed album Norman F****ing Rockwell it’s clear to the listener from this album’s slower, more unique sound that Del Rey is no longer chasing hit songs, and is instead focusing on songs that will be loved by critics and her fans.

This becomes even more clear in Chemtrails Over the Country Club. There’s not one song on this album that sticks out as unusually pop-like or fast, and it stays away from upbeat remixes and pop artist features. On Born to Die, even her slowest, saddest songs were met with pop remixes, making for radio-friendly songs. On Lust for Life, Del Rey sings over trap beats with her friend and collaborator A$AP Rocky. Chemtrails gives her a chance to write what she’s been writing for years, without watering herself down for the general public.

It’s clear to the listener from this album’s slower, more unique sound that Del Rey is no longer chasing hit songs, and is instead focusing on songs that will be loved by critics and her fans.

Del Rey’s sound and writing stay strong throughout all eleven tracks on the 45-minute album, with themes she’s kept her whole career like love and heartbreak. In the album’s opening track, Del Rey explores a new, unique sound, singing out, “down at the men in music business conference” in one breath. This five-minute song came with a music video, featuring Lana Del Rey spinning on roller skates with the vintage theme that shows up regularly in every album. This song puts her vocals on display; her high notes are impressive while she sings, telling an autobiographical story about her life before fame. Del Rey finishes off this track on a nostalgic note. “Kinda makes me feel like maybe I was better off,” she sings, causing the listener to wonder if she was.

The album’s title track “Chemtrails Over the Country Club” is another one of the strongest on the album. Released two months before the album, on January 11th, this song strongly shows the themes of this album as Del Rey sings about money, love, and zodiac signs. “Chemtrails Over the Country Club” has a light happy sound which differs from other songs on the album, such as “Breaking Up Slowly.” Del Rey sings, “It’s never too late, baby, so don’t give up,” giving a somewhat cliche statement to add to the happier sound of the song.

The track “Tulsa Jesus Freak” has become a fan favorite in the weeks since the album’s release. The track demonstrates Del Rey’s incredible use of metaphors. In this song, she tells the story of a woman who wants her man to stay with her, a story that Del Rey tells often. On the surface, this song shows three themes: love, drinking, and religion. These are portrayed as things that one is having trouble deciding whether to leave behind: “You should stay real close to Jesus, keep that bottle in your hand, my man, find your way back to my bed again,” she sings, going over each theme. 

This album has prevailed through the singer’s recent controversy about a racially insensitive Instagram post and wearing a mesh mask to an event. Chemtrails Over the Country Club debuted at number one with great reviews. In response to criticism about this controversy Del Rey spontaneously announced that her next album “Rock Candy Sweet” would be released in June with an Instagram post. Since then, we haven’t gotten any update on this follow-up album, and some fans speculate that it will be delayed. Chemtrails Over the Country Club is certainly one of Lana Del Rey’s best albums, with strong writing and amazing vocals. It isn’t clear where Lana Del Rey will be going from here, but whatever she does, we will be listening.