In Lana Del Rey’s sixth studio album, the Alternative pop icon seems to have lost her way. Sorry, let me rephrase that. In Chemtrails Over the Country Club, Lana Del Rey has left Los Angeles behind in search of a former lifetime. She has thrown caution to the wind and found herself traveling along a dirt road just 80 miles out of California. It’s in this album, where we hear Lana’s signature soothing voice layered over the backdrop of a Nashville-Midwestern-like sound to invoke a certain emotion. In Chemtrails, Lana Del Rey has hatched a plan of sorts. It’s as clear as they come: Leave Los Angeles and don’t look back as it becomes engulfed in flames. Just lead the way, Lana.
With the opening ballad that is, “White Dress,” it’s clear where we are headed for uncharted waters. Lana Del Rey reaches new heights with wind whispering falsetto. I will admit, after first listen, I thought it may have been a mistake on the album. The song provides not much, but instead seeks out your inner thoughts for meaning. That same theme carries into the hit lead single, “Chemtrails Over the Country Club.” The power duo of Lana Del Rey and Jack Antonoff is on full display in the title track. Jack Antonoff, a known producer who worked Taylor Swift, Lorde, The Chicks, funds the production.
In between singing about her rising Leo, the overall theme of the album is on display here. In callbacks to her previous 70s soft pop album, Norman Fucking Rockwell!, the sweet summerish tone and the urge to run is front and center.
In “Tulsa Jesus Freak” and “Let Me Love You Like A Woman,” the album seems to take a turn. The songs feel lackluster when compared to the others. Various stages of escapism is prominent and in line with the overall arc, but fail to achieve the same effect as the previous tracks. Themes of the longing for freedom and religion are small in the scope of the overall tracks. At this moment, somewhere in the album, we have crossed the western plains into Arkansas.
Lana Del Rey’s crowning moment comes in, “Wild at Heart.” In this song, Lana hits a tone similar to her previous work. “Cinnamon Girl”, “How to disappear” and “Brooklyn Baby” tones and sounds race to the frontal lobe of my brain as the song progresses. It’s a sound that has made Lana Del Rey the powerhouse that she is today. The song portrays a story about a woman who aches for freedom from the burden of it all with her lover. At this moment in the album, Lana Del Rey and her lover have left the life of fame and glamour behind in California.
The album closes on the backs of “Yosemite” and “Dance Until We Die.” The method to which Lana decides to bow out is most unusual. Now stuck in a cabin in “Yosemite,” it’s clear Lana and her lover are in the midst of relationship problems. The wanderlust has worn off and has been peeled back to show the ugly side. Content with the way the relationship is ending, Lana looks back on the good memories. The last track, “For Free,” is a cover that pays tribute to Joni Mitchell’s version. With the help of Zella Day and Weyes Blood, Lana brings to light the dark side of fame and the music industry as a whole. It ties in with the overall theme of Chemtrails Over the Country Club, a longing to escape the vile and cruel underworld of Los Angeles. As Lana Del Rey takes off into the western sun, many wonder what tales will be spun about the woman who fled the rich life only to be seen in Nashville.