The Weekend Australian - Review


LANA DEL REY Universal Music

- Cat Woods

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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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