Lana Del Rey has released her new album, Chemtrails Over The Country Club. It is the follow-up to 2019’s Norman F**king Rockwell and the seventh music album the artist has released, with 2020’s album release Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass being her first spoken word work. Read on for a track-by-track breakdown.
The opening track, “White Dress” sets the tone for the entire album. A minimalist production with the piano taking the lead, heartbreaking lyrics, and harmonies that are the musical equivalent of taking ecstasy. Lana sings about familiar feelings and figures we’ve seen populating her world. Name-dropping her favorite bands, places, and nostalgia for the past. This time, she ruminates over the days before she was famous, working as a waitress and out of reach of the music industry.
Constellation Jones directed the music video. A press release cited the work of director David Lynch as its inspiration.
Chemtrails Over The Country Club
The titular track is next, the reintroduction to the new album. Now with the full release out, its comforting to revisit the ode to friendship in “Chemtrails Over The Country Club” before delving back into unfamiliar territory in the following songs. The song’s name itself is instantly eye-catching, a reference to the popular conspiracy theory about the condensation trails left in the sky by airplanes. More importantly, the song continues to break Lana away from her reputation as a dependent, depressed, fragile woman. She declares freedom, happiness, and power, and in turn offers this thinking to her fans, many of whom are young women and gay men, two demographics that look for validation amidst societal oppression and personal struggles.
Tulsa Jesus Freak
The third track, “Tulsa Jesus Freak” is my favorite. The lyrics are unusual for a pop song. It’s not often you hear a singer name-dropping Jesus and Arkansas when you’re not inside a Baptist church. “Tulsa Jesus Freak” is a straightforward, messy, devotional love song, wherein Lana pleads for her lover to stay close to religion, her, and gin. It’s classic Lana, almost out of place in her newer, more independence-oriented works. This is why it’s the perfect treat for long-time listeners like myself, reminding us why we became fans in the first place. It shows that nobody is perfect. Progress is not a straight line. You make mistakes along the way. But you can always get back up and try again.
Let Me Love You Like a Woman
Next, “Let Me Love You Like a Woman”, was the album’s first single and the first song Lana released since 2019’s Norman F**king Rockwell. It’s the album’s most bombastic love song, though the melody is on a similar simple plane as the rest of the album, it’s the lyrics, and the intense way they’re sung, that demand to be heard, as Lana declares her unbreakable love for the song’s subject.
Wild at Heart
The fifth track, “Wild at Heart”, is another lamentation on fame, just as she did on NFR and Honeymoon’s “Swan Song”. She also disses the troublesome culture one finds on social media. The title refers to her wild nature, another familiar motif. Also, knowing her tendencies towards surreal cinematography for music videos as discussed above, “Wild at Heart” likely alludes to the 1990 David Lynch film as well.
Dark But Just a Game
“Dark But Just a Game” is sixth, and as is fitting for a track with such a title, it’s the darkest one on the album. Heavy on the bass and drums, Lana continues to sing about the troubles she faces as a romantic and as a famous musician. She also responds to those who dismiss her as a crazy woman by saying ‘the best ones lost their minds’. On that note, she promises to never change, an affirmation not just for herself, but for her fans too.
Not All Who Wander Are Lost
The seventh track is “Not All Who Wander Are Lost”. The title is a reference to a poem by J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings. Lana details a sweeter romance against the background of a mellow guitar strumming. The wanderlust-obsessed song is intimate, and the harmonies are sugary, going up high and sounding sweet through every note.
For many longtime Lana fans, this next track is the biggest reward on the album. “Yosemite” came onto the scene years ago, originally meant for 2017’s Lust for Life. However, Lana said it was too ‘happy’ for that album. In the years since, it’s been teased, remixed, dissected, and so on, but now the official, full-length version is here. This song is a beautiful, gentle ode to becoming a better person after meeting someone who changes your life.
Breaking Up Slowly
After “Yosemite” comes “Breaking Up Slowly”. A new voice emerges on this one, the crooning vocals of country musician Nikki Lane. Fitting, as this is the album’s country ballad. Lana and Nikki sing together, a female inspired by George Jones and Tammy Wynette. This song is also of note, as shortly after releasing this album Lana hinted at a new album composed of country covers.
Dance Till We Die
The ninth track on the album is “Dance Till We Die”. Another tale of loneliness despite name-dropping her best friends, Lana continues the country-tinged aesthetic. The first half of this song is what you’d expect to hear during a jukebox slow-dance in a bar, then halfway she channels Janis Joplin for a verse, before returning to the somber tones and melodies she does best.
Finishing off Chemtrails… is “For Free”. This title reminded fans of the last track off of 2017’s Lust for Life, “Get Free”, but this tune is a cover of a Joni Mitchell hit. A collaborative effort, the track is split up between Lana, Weyes Blood, and Zella Day, who previously covered the song together backstage at a show in 2019. It’s a soft-spoken piano ballad, with gorgeous harmonies reminiscent of female folk trios of the 1970s, which is dead-on for covering the iconic Joni. Covering a melancholic, pared-down song like “For Free” is a wonderful send-off. It’s Lana’s gentle way of saying goodbye, until next time...
Buy Lana Del Rey’s New Album
You can buy Lana Del Rey’s new album Chemtrails Over the Country Club in stores or on her website. Or you can listen via your favorite streaming service.