Lana Del Rey – A Case of Her
New York magazine|March 29 - April 11, 2021
An homage to wild white womanhood that still feels hushed with the volume turned up.

WHILE HER POP-STAR PEERS have reinvented themselves every other year, Lana Del Rey has sharpened one unique musical idea over time. Where others express growth by expanding outward, dabbling in different genres and mediums, Lana gets a little better at being Lana every year.

In a sense, this makes the singer predictable. You could hazard a guess about what her new album will sound like and what her new video will look like before you ever press play. She’s going to serve bleak, Nick Cave–ish chamber music just sweet enough to render the darkness enticing. It’s going to be visualized through bleary Americana that almost seems to satirize the real thing, conjuring its nightmarish underside. Over the past nine years, Del Rey has whittled uncompromising, direct music out of the melodrama of her earliest songs, leaving a little excess behind at each turn. What remains are the melody and emotion that her older songs, such as 2012’s “National Anthem,” once drowned in thick instrumentals and beats. Those elements kept her records in contention on pop charts and radio—but what she has lost in hit potential she has recouped in craft.

That change made her last album, 2019’s Norman Fucking Rockwell!, a staggering achievement: a musing on Golden State horror haunted by serial killers, deceased rock stars, and “beautiful losers.” The protagonist’s big dream was to escape the bustle of cities, to seek a quiet life with “a kid and two cats in the yard” while the getting was still good. In Del Rey’s newest, Chemtrails Over the Country Club, however, she’s out exploring America, pining for Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Nebraska. The opener, “White Dress,” details an eventful trip to Florida.

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