Music Quickspins

QUICKSPINS: Lana Del Rey – Chemtrails Over The Country Club

Though not her magnum opus, Lana Del Rey’s latest record is an intimate collection of tracks.

Chemtrails Over The Country Club is Lana Del Rey’s return to form from her 2019 masterpiece Norman Fucking Rockwell!. After getting robbed at last year’s Grammys, she teamed up again with producer Jack Antonoff and bounced back with this new record by borrowing a similar aesthetic, this time even more lowkey and ill-defined.

This record sees Del Rey embark on a much more stripped back and simpler sound, with not a lot of percussion throughout the album. She merges sad and mellow piano ballads with a fair amount of acoustic guitar chords, embracing country elements at times, even collaborating with country singer Nikki Lane on the track “Breaking Up Slowly.”

While going towards a more subtle approach on this new project, Del Ray still borrows her usual aesthetic, which consists of melodramatic and nostalgic ballads that have cinematographic-like qualities to them, all layered with hauntingly beautiful vocals.

She puts a lot of emphasis on her voice and how she can experiment with it, like with the quirky opener “White Dress,” where she produces whispery high-pitched notes sounding almost like she is out of breath, which is surprisingly appealing for some reason. She also uses autotune on “Tulsa Jesus Freak,” which is not something we are used to seeing Del Rey play with.

Highlights include the song “Wild At Heart,” which witness Del Rey escape her Californian lifestyle to go live in the Midwest, where her wild heart is freer than ever. The chorus is really reminiscent of the chorus of the song “hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but I have it,” on Norman Fucking Rockwell!.

Another standout is the sixth track “Dark But Just A Game,” where Lana Del Rey sings about artists and actors succumbing to fame. She tries to stay the same throughout all of this, which is resumed by these lyrics on the chorus: “We keep changing all the time  / The best ones lost their minds  / So I’m not gonna change  / I’ll stay the same.” Sonically, “Dark But Just A Game is exceptionally well-crafted, with a little distortion in her voice in the verses, with her vocals on the chorus making the listener feel like they are swimming in a pool of honey. All of this mixed with a somber instrumental makes for one of Del Rey’s best songs to date.

Regardless of this new album witnessing Lana Del Rey at a more calm and posed mood than on its predecessor, Chemtrails Over The Country Club is still a great follow up to her critically acclaimed Norman Fucking Rockwell!

Rating : 7.5/10

Trial track : “Dark But Just A Game”


The most anticipated albums of 2020

2019 was an excellent year for music – can these 2020 releases top it?

Drake – TBD

As expected, the chart-topping king will return in 2020 after a fairly quiet 2019. Scorpion came and went in 2018 and despite its long run in Billboard’s charts, failed to resonate with most of its listeners. It was too long, too safe, and the number of bad songs outweighed the number of good ones. The year 2020 represents an opportunity to return to form. No longer shadowed by a deadly beef that kept criticisms of the rapper high, Drake can release an album on his terms with his own promotion.

“War,” the first new bit of Drake we’ve seen in a while, borrows elements from Chicago’s drill music and the UK’s grime scene, but ultimately wound up being just another passable moment in his lengthy discography. Let’s just hope the new album is less filler and more killer.


Frank Ocean – TBD

The elusive Frank Ocean has been confirmed to headline 2020’s Coachella after releasing two singles (and a few other snippets) in 2019. When Blonde came out, the R&B singer was difficult to track. Now, it seems he’s ready to embrace the fame a little bit more as he’s been sneaking in new songs at various events he’s hosted throughout the year. “In My Room” and “DHL” weren’t as well-received as his previous songs, but perhaps they’ll sound better in the context of the album.

We still have no indication of when the album will drop, but we do know it’s coming (eventually).


Tame Impala – The Slow Rush

The Slow Rush will end a five-year drought from the Australian music project, Tame Impala. Backed by a few singles like “Borderline” and “Posthumous Forgiveness,” the fourth studio album from Tame Impala is shaping up to be another strong entry to their already proven discography. Thankfully, the wait is almost over.


Rihanna – TBD

Look, this one’s been floating around since Anti dropped, and the hype for Rihanna’s newest album keeps growing as every Instagram post of hers has a wave of comments imploring her to release new music. Anti was stellar and whatever kind of project Rihanna decides to drop, we’ll be accepting it with open arms. Twenty-twenty needs this.


Kendrick Lamar – TBD

We all knew this one would be on the list. I mean, it’s been three years since DAMN. and we want more. The Black Panther soundtrack was passable and Lamar’s features continue to be subpar but we can all agree he has yet to release a bad album. His follow-up to the acclaimed 2017 project is expected to be an Album of the Year contender across the board. There is absolutely zero confirmation that an album is on the way this year, but one can only hope.

Lana Del Rey – White Hot Forever (tentative)

Immediately after releasing her best album, Norman Fucking Rockwell!, Lana Del Rey announced she had another project in the works with an expected release in Fall 2020. The tentative title is White Hot Forever but she also stated that it could change. Del Rey reached new heights with NFR and expectations will undoubtedly be sky-high for this new record.


QUICKSPINS: Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell!

Without a doubt, Norman Fucking Rockwell! Is Lana Del Rey’s most ambitious and strongest album to date. While her debut, Born to Die, took the world by storm, the album was still somewhat of a mixed bag. Her vocals were underdeveloped and her lyricism was simplistic at best. However, none of those criticisms are even marginally relevant on her fifth album. Songs like “Mariners Apartment Complex,” “How to Disappear,” and “Fuck it I love you” show major improvement in both Del Rey’s songwriting and overall performance.

Despite being just over an hour in length, the album never loses the listener’s interest, as each track provides something unique enough to differentiate itself from other records on the LP. Lana Del Rey has not only crafted the best project of her career but one of the best of the decade.


Trial Track: “Fuck it I love you”

Star Bar: “Goddamn, man-child

You fucked me so good that I almost said ‘I love you’

You’re fun and you’re wild

But you don’t know the half of the shit that you put me through” (Del Rey on “Norman fucking Rockwell”)

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