The Lana Del Rey Discography Rate

rdp

he/him

I'm not bored or unhappy
I'm still so strange and wild


























7.

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Score: 9.37

Highest score: 11 x 2 (@Joe., @soratami); 10 x 30 (@1991, @Applause, @Asmgz, @aux, @Babylon, @blissteria, @Consideration, @Cutlery, @DinahLee, @drewsky, @Euphoria, @Glitterizer, @happiestgirl, @Jonathan27, @Lately, @-M-, @man.tis.shrimp, @Mistress of All Evil, @New Flame, @Oceandrive, @R27, @rdp, @Remorque, @Remyky22, @RUNAWAY, @sfmartin, @SlowGinFizzzz, @Soygirl, @speedyboi, @theincredibleflipper)
Lowest score: 3 (@Trouble in Paradise)

The title track from Ms. Del Rey’s 7th album is a sweet love song in which she juxtaposes a highly privileged lifestyle with conspiratorial imagery that suggests things are not as they seem. The music video, directed by BRTHR, follows the same sort of duality between peacefulness and unrest, as Lana and her group of friends play vintage suburban housewives who become werewomen at night, and then return to their normal lives. After The greatest’s epitaph to a decaying world, here we have a tale that alludes to trying to stay sane in said world.

I didn’t pay much attention to this single release back then due to obvious reasons, but, the moment I did, I was immediately bowled over by its languid rhythms. Though it’s a track that may appear as very quiet production-wise at first glance, it’s easy to lose yourself in these classic sounding melodies. Whether Lana’s singing about not surrendering herself to monotony or spewing love declarations, there’s a layer of melancholy and unease accentuated by Dan Heath’s strings (an old collaborator in a very welcome guest spot) that keeps you coming back for more.

I’m unsure if Lana actually wrote the song during the height of the pandemic, but it feels very of its time, and reminds me of the struggle during the loneliest days of that period — especially the simple idea of clinging to mundane things in your routine, such as doing the laundry and watching late night TV, to keep yourself grounded while the world outside seems to be falling apart. Considering how often she has a very different take on her own material compared to her listeners, I’m probably overthinking it. But regardless, Chemtrails… still remains one of her most strangely life affirming songs. It’s never too late, baby, so don’t give up.

Commentary:

@Cutlery (10): Such a gorgeous, quiet sense of urgency on the choruses (I've obsessed over that melody!) that makes Lana's lycanthrophy fantasy a Heavy Hitter.mp3.

@Mistress of All Evil (10): Somehow this song was like a sleeper hit for me and snuck into my top 10 overall streams on spotify. Not complaining because it is an amazing song. It really carries you through the entire thing. My favorite part is definitely "You won't play, you're no fuuuuuuuun". Also has a nice fade out/outro as well.

@New Flame (10): Another flawless song that haunts me more than I remember.

@Oceandrive (10): The biggest grower for me in Lanas discography. I really overlooked Chemtrails initially, now it’s crack in audio form for me

@Sally_Harper (9): Bonkers title for an album, but, well, it IS Lana. This is the sort of song I could happily climb into for hours, I love when she does all the layered vocals and things like that.




 
The juxtaposition of settling into this narcotic haze of simple routine against the impending destruction on the horizon imbues the song with this paranoid energy that exists across the album but I'd argue is at its apex here. "White picket chemtrails over the country club" really sums up that blissful ignorance even in the face of doom.

I'd also slot it in as a best ever vocal, the way she just glides into that falsetto gets me every time. And I've mentioned it before but vocal layering that begins to blur as the percussion moves to the forefront until it's just the instrumental to close the song? An all time best from Ms. Antonoff.
 
Honestly, the song captures a lot of what I don’t love about Lana “the persona.” First off, since The Question I have been hesitant to give much distance between the persona and the person, something her increasingly more personal lyricism points to. So much of the song seems to be focused on that delicate white womanhood Lana cherishes: washing her hair, talking with her sister, wearing jewels in swimming pools and all the astrology references. Most displeasing to me is the glaring blind spot of using the country club as a paradigm of normality to contrast with the threat from the Chemtrails. Country Clubs are known hotbeds of racism and antisemitism and nothing in this song seems to even hint at those cracks. Instead we’re made to see how Lana, the rich white delicate woman, is moving through these spaces with ease and contentment while there is an unknown threat to her serenity. For me and many others, country clubs are more threatening than Chemtrails. Also sonically it’s a bore, that outro gives nothing, leave it to Jack to make cymbals dull. All of this to say, I love Lana’s music but I do not always love Lana, Chemtrails the song captures a lot of her point of view that I don’t vibe with and for that it got a 3.
 
I think white dress is a moment of looking back at a time when she held the power of a god serving coffee —- and chemtrails is that moment of looking ahead wondering where your relationships going.

At the start she says she’s on the run with her lover- but the chemtrails remind her off being a kid breaking into country clubs and watching chemtrails overhead and now she wonders if that ‘aspirational’ suburban life is going to satisfy her.

I think you’re not reading this right if you presume she’s celebrating joining a country club. She’s clearly satirising the lifestyle of meeting for coffee after dropping the kids off at school and swimming in your jewels. She isn’t that person. And she’s at a pivotal moment wondering if she ever will be.
 
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I always assumed the song was less personal and more about the ways we seek the numbness of mundane everyday life to combat the literal threats to our future? The general conceit seems to be that wealth does not shield one from this dying planet's upheaval, which I'd say is a lot more powerful than Lana cosplaying as a poor person nn.
 
Any/All


This version tho! One of those cases when the cover is quite different from the original but just unveils how beautiful Chemtrails is down to its bone. It could wear many different hats because it's just so glorious - I'm glad it made it this far but I wouldn't be mad if it had made it a bit further.
 
I do probably prefer the Chemtrails over Venice Bitch and A&W, though it's splitting hairs as I scored them all the same. I cannot really compartmentalize at all, so I do see the lyrics as a bit Karen-coded, perhaps wrongly. It doesn't cease to amaze me how differently we all can interpret the same songs. Like, perhaps it is the mundanity that alienated me from her newer songwriting approach. The working below living wage as teenage waitress, the culture being lit for... reasons(?), the family mausoleum, the country roads take me home sentiment of it all... feels like it's supposed to be relatable but I cannot help but side eye it, knowing how she can be. That's not meant to take away from the enjoyment anyone else might obtain from this art, more power to y'all! Maybe I just need a veneer of fantasy and escapism over my nostalgia trips? Chemtrails gets it about 50/50, so it is likely my fave post-NFR! moment. I rinsed COCC in the months after its release but most of the tracks unfortunately have shrunk on me, which is a pity. I did get lots of use from the bumpkin boppified cover by Hayley Mary, gotta give them that!
 

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