Lana Del Rey.
She’s formerly known as Gangsta Nancy Sinatra, currently—one of music’s biggest Instagram baddies. It’s been a month since Lana Del Rey released her latest album Chemtrails Over The Country Club.
Now, that the emotions have settled down a little bit, it’s to properly rank the songs off the album; from worst to best.
11. For Free
Lana Del Rey is no stranger to covers. On her previous albums, she has included the melancholic ‘The Other Woman,’ statement-making ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ and, recently, a summery interpretation of Sublime’s ‘Doin’ Time.’
This time around, Lana decided to include a song that was a permanent element of her tour setlist for a long time; ‘For Free’ by Joni Mitchell.
The recording features Wayes Blood and Zella Day, who accompanied Lana on her last tour. The girls harmonize beautifully, but I think I’d rather hear Lana alone on this particular track.
10. Not All Who Wander Are Lost
This ballad is a well-executed story about wanderlust. However, when compared to other gems on this album, it comes across as underwhelming. The “look what you made me do” part in the bridge didn’t seem connected to the rest of the lyrics.
9. Dance Till We Die
Lana highlights the industry relationships she established in recent years: Joan Baez, with whom Lana performed during the NFR era, Stevie Nicks, who’s featured on Lana’s album Lust For Life, and her loyal pal Courtney Love, who, allegedly, almost burned down one of Lana’s houses.
The bridge towards the end of the song, where Lana shows off some serious vocals has quickly become a favourite on TikTok.
8. Breaking Up Slowly
Sonically, it’s a simple country-inspired ballad. Del Rey and Nikki Lane’s voices compliment each other very well. Let’s hope they manage to get their collaborative country music album finished soon.
Yet another instance of Lana reviving one of her old songs and including it on the tracklist of her current record. On Norman Fucking Rockwell!, we had ‘The Next Best American Record,’ which had been floating around the internet as a demo for quite a long time.
This time, we got a song Lana had spoken about during her Lust For Life era. Back then, ‘Yosemite’ was described as “too happy.” Having listened to the album now, I don’t really understand. . . how? The song has a very simple acoustic guitar arrangement and the lyrics, despite being charming and lovely, are also quite simple.
6. Let Me Love You Like A Woman
This classic piano ballad, accompanied by a DIY music video, could be an example of how to write a Lana Del Rey song. We’ve got references to love, tough decision making, poetry, womanhood and getting lost in the purple rain, whatever that means.
Thematically, the story focuses on a girl wanting to move out of LA, hoping to take her significant other with her. It’s a charming song, though, a very safe choice for a lead single.
5. Dark But Just A Game
Jack Antonoff’s production skills really show here, however, we could’ve done without the annoying tambourine on-loop, which can be heard during the verses.
The chorus is powerful and meaningful. Some fans even call this the album’s main thesis, with Del Rey, once again, reminiscing about the idea of change. The moment in pre-chorus when Lana says “But fuck it…” is one of my favourite Lana moments ever!
4. Chemtrails Over The Country Club
The music video for the title track has been watched more than 18 million times on YouTube, making it one of the most popular Del Rey track in recent years, as opposed to the album’s lead single ‘Let Me Love You Like a Woman’ having only 5.6 million.
What makes Chemtrails so special then? The high-budget, dreamy video is one of the main reasons! We follow Lana’s adventures as a suburban queen, “drag racing her little red sports car” with her infamous mesh mask on her face, buying fresh fruit at a market and simply having fun with friends. The song itself is one of my absolute favourites. The lyrics are hopeful and idyllic, the instrumental is soft like a lullaby yet so catchy. What a track!
3. Tulsa Jesus Freak
One of the most atmospheric tracks on the entire album. Originally titled ‘White Hot Forever,’ this song was meant to be the record’s title track and focal point.
‘Tulsa Jesus Freak’ seems to be a fan favourite among those, who prefer the star’s older work. The enigmatic production, lots of reverb and a somewhat dark subject matter might be the reasons why. The lyrics feature several references to alcohol, which has been a topic of discussion online. Some fans speculate that Del Rey, who suffered from alcoholism in her teen years, relapsed during the pandemic. That, however, is most likely a very long shot. Whatever keeps people talking!
2. Wild At Heart
Definitely one of the album’s highlights. ‘Wild At Heart’ includes a sample of ‘How To Disappear’ from Del Rey’s previous album Normal Fucking Rockwell!
The song features some of Del Rey’s most honest and reflective writing. “What would you do / If I wouldn’t sing for them no more? / Like if you heard I was out in the bars drinking Jack and Coke / Goin’ crazy for anyone who would listen to my stories, babe?” sings Del Rey with a real passion in her voice.
The minimalistic, gentle production of the verses makes Lana’s storytelling shine through, while the powerful chorus makes it one of the most satisfying tracks on the album.
1. White Dress
The first track off each Lana Del Rey record is very often my favourite one. The singer tends to put the most emotionally engaging and vulnerable songs as her album openers (‘Cruel World,’ and ‘Honeymoon’).
On this subtle piano ballad, Del Rey reflects on the time when she was first starting out, trying to get signed and receive attention from big music executives. She reminisces about the “good old days,” working night shifts as a waitress and life being simple. This level of emotional honesty is what makes Lana Del Rey pop music’s gold.
And with this one, Lana has given us one of the most meme-able moments of her career so far: “Down at the Men in Music Business Conference!”
Tom Leśniara is a second-year Media and Communication student and a freelance journalist. You can read more of his work or about him via his website.