Critics mixed on Lana Del Rey's 'vulnerable' album 'Chemtrails Over the Country Club'
As the weather heats up, Lana Del Rey is serving folksy nostalgia.
The "Summertime Sadness" singer released her seventh album "Chemtrails Over The Country Club" Friday featuring 11 songs including "Yosemite," "Tulsa Jesus Freak" and "Not All Who Wander Are Lost," and the cover art features several women dressed in old fashioned white lace, florals and pearls.
Critics had mixed feelings on the latest album as it comes with a more Rey-centered theme compared to her more politically out-spoken storytelling album "Norman F***ing Rockwell."
Along with the album came a music video premiere for the first song on the album "White Dress." The video is set in a middle of America desert where Rey and a youthful dancer in a white dress on skates is surrounded by windmills and cacti. In the song, she breathily sings of a very personal recount of her "simpler time" before all the fame.
"When I was a waitress wearing a tight dress handling the heat // I wasn't famous, just // listening to Kings of Leon to the beat // Like look at how I got this, look how I got this," she sings.
With vivid imagery and specific scenes like "The Men in Music Business Conference," critics are not so sure if they like knowing more of Rey before her fame.
Vulture's Craig Jenkins didn't think much was different about Rey's new album from any of her past projects and said in some ways it was predictable. He also found her album frustrating in light of being under fire recently for her less than diverse album cover and for calling out the double standard in music while singling out women of color.
"It’s frustrating hearing Lana sing about the weight of fame in 'Dance Till We Die' in the face of avoidable controversy," Jenkins said. "It could be lighter for her if she adapted a bit and explained herself less. But keeping the same energy is core to the Lana Del Rey experience. The paradox remains alluring."
Though some critics touched on her recent controversies, a few felt Rey's new album gives depth that illustrates she's at the height of her music career.
"Lana Del Rey is at the peak of her game – just don’t expect her to come down anytime soon, said NME's Rhian Daly.
Pitchfork's Mina Tavakoli said Rey is doing what most greats would do — focusing on conquest. Which Tavakoli said Rey does not in the literal sense of taking over but by exploring different parts of the United States.
"She goes to Arkansas and Nebraska and Oklahoma, narrates life as a waitress, lauds Jesus erotically, and affects a little twang. It is her most rangy album — her folksiest, her singer-songwriter-iest — and takes us physically further and deeper into her crystal vision of the country," Tavakoli said.
The Associated Press' Ragan Clark praised Rey for "Chemtrails Over The Country Club," noting though it may not be as great as her previous album, it gives listeners vulnerability.
"Paralleling the juxtaposition in the title, Del Rey’s seventh album explores the yin and yang of fame, fortune and creativity. On the surface are glittering images: jewels in a country club pool and bars that stay open 'just for us.' Ringing underneath is a melancholy emptiness perforated by isolation and desire," Clark said.