The Weekend Australian - Review
CHEMTRAILS OVER THE COUNTRY CLUB
LANA DEL REY Universal Music
Lana Del Rey’s voice slinks, floats, soars and ebbs; it is dramatic and dreamy in the best kind of way. The American singer-songwriter’s 60s pin-up-living-in-a-trailer-park persona has been a target for accusations of pure nostalgia, falsity and – perhaps worst of all – releasing music that never evolves. Her seventh album is a lovely, chimeric creature, though; it deserves to be listened to without assumption or prejudice. There’s a maturity to Del Rey and an unapologetic attitude that has been amplified by producer Jack Antonoff, whose prior collaborations with Taylor Swift and St Vincent prompted both of them to fearlessly integrate folk, country, pop, cabaret, avant-garde art pop and psychedelia. Perhaps at 35 Del Rey has faced enough criticism and accusations by now to focus on pursuing her own creative vision without care for pleasing anyone. On Dance Till We Die, female folk-rock royalty Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks and Joan Baez are all name-checked in the first 10 seconds. A dreamy, hooky melodic ballad that weaves deep into the synapses, it delivers a catchy, subtle groove that is entirely Del Rey’s own a cappella pagan pop. Pianobased Dark But Just a Game is a plaintive unmasking of illusory Hollywood glamour and the debaucherous decay hidden behind the smoke and mirrors of fame that are Del Rey’s long-time fixations. She excels when she gets personal and pares back the instrumentals to spotlight her glorious, jazzy, ultra-feminine voice. Breaking Up Slowly layers a tragic lovegone-wrong story over a steely guitar and harmonised choruses, making a case for a full country album in future. Let Me Love You Like a Woman is a divine serenade that recalls the beautiful, fuzzy-edged bittersweet of her 2011 breakthrough single, Video Games. Reflective and nostalgic, this ought to be listened to in the dark while nursing a broken heart. More acoustic folk and less dreaminess would have been welcome, though.
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