Sunday, May 02, 2021

What Next Miss Del Rey?

If there’s one thing that can definitely be said for Lana Del Rey it’s that she is consistent. From Born To Die (2012) to Chemtrails Over The Country Club (2021), she’s found her niche: slow tracks that tell tales of toxic relationships set in a backdrop of typical Americana. 

I took a dive into her past albums to get a sense of what we can expect in the future from Del Rey.

Born To Die (technically her second album if we count 2010’s eponymous Lana Del Rey which got pulled due to the record company’s financial issues) is an album with many identifiable and unique tracks. Unfortunately, this does not carry true for all of her albums. Del Rey has been criticised for a lack of individualism, to the point that where her songs practically feel the same, and admittedly when I first listened to her most recent album “Chemtrails Over The Country Club”, I was worried it was true. Where some artists reinvent themselves with each new album, Lana Del Rey has always been Lana Del Rey. However, there are some stand-out tracks in Chemtrails like Dance Til We Die which has a great, punchy saxophone accompanied segment. The departures away from the general sound and mood in Chemtrails are too short-lived for my liking and this is where some of her previous albums excelled.

If there was one thing to learn from Lust For Life, it was the merits of cross-genre collaboration. The album boasted a star-studded roster of featured artists like A$AP Rocky, Playboi Carti, The Weeknd, and Stevie Nicks. Of all the collaborations, A$AP Rocky and Playboi Carti’s Summer Bummer outplayed the Stevie Nicks collab by almost double, and for good reason – it’s catchy, it’s inventive, and simultaneously quintessential Lana. Lust For Life proved that Lana Del Rey did not have to lose the soul of her music in order to experiment. It was therefore a bit disappointing to see less of that in subsequent albums. 

That being said, where Lana Del Rey still continues to excel is in her lyricism, sometimes a bit nonsensical or comical (“my pussy tastes like Pepsi Cola” being the infamous example), it still continues to convey her character and draw listeners into her world. There’s not much to indicate a real departure from the melancholy Americana that has defined Lana Del Rey for so long and I don’t anticipate anything different, although I wouldn’t say that's such a bad thing. 

Valentina Vettore 


Image: Lana del Rey @ Planeta Terra | Beatriz Alvani | Flickr

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