Written Before Listen
So Lana Del Rey is an American singer/songwriter known for her unique singing style and vintage aesthetic. Other than that, I don’t know that much about her. I’ve never took the time to listen to a Lana Del Rey album. I’ve heard her big hits but I’ve never listened to an album of hers. Since she just came out with an album, I thought it would be the perfect time to get introduced to her music.
So Lanas lyrics are one thing that caught my attention first. Opening with “White Dress”, it provides a sense of nostalgia and remembrance that is special and unique. “Chemtrails Over The Country Club” continues with its unique topics which talks about peoples speculations of the upper class which actually contradicts to “White Dress” topics. “Not All Wander Who Are Lost” has a very motivating ethos to it and it results with being one of my favorite tracks on the album. Other than that, a lot of the topics talk about basic topics such as break ups, fame and the other fun stuff. Lana does have songwriting talent but occasionally she comes off as uninspired and reaching for filler.
Me being a focuser of production and instrumentation, I always try to identify influences and genres of an artist. Lana is a singer/songwriter. A well-rounded one too. When you think of singer/songwriters you think of people like Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. Just like the three I mentioned, Lana effortlessly crosses into Folk, Country and Soft Rock. What makes her unique is that with songs like “Tulsa Jesus Freak” and “Dark But Just A Game”, she goes into Trip Hop territory doing her ballads over dark, dense and minimal drum breaks. She also has a little bit of a dreamy and psychedelic aura too. I wouldn’t consider her a jack of all trades but I do realize her image and why people appreciate her.
The instrumentation on this album is provided by Jack Antonoff who has worked with artists like Lorde, Taylor Swift,St Vincent and FKA Twigs. Knowing that, you know what to expect for the instrumentation. Mellow, artsy and minimal. Heavy loads of piano, drum brushes and acoustic guitar like expected. Flourishes of strings and flutes too. One thing that brought my attention is the Electric Guitar that sounds straight out of the Velvet Underground’s self-titled. There are also slight instances of synthesizers too but at the end of the day, its the production that Jack Antonoff works with.
The influences aren’t quite clear for the majority of the time because Lanas vocal delivery is unique. Its mainly to Jacks contribution. Just like I mentioned with the Trip Hop tracks, they sound straight out of the Portishead vault. The Electric Guitars are right out of the Velvet Underground playbook. Also the Joni Mitchell cover doesn’t hide the fact that Lana is heavily influenced by her. I also got some Fleetwood Mac too but when its all said and done, She uses her influences pretty well.
My cons are not minimal but not various. First off, I think for being 45 minutes, it sounds so much longer. Its not really her fault either. Its just that her delivery and instrumental palettes can only sound intriguing for a limited time. Also some of the topics, poetry and vocal delivery just sounds a little half-baked and uninspired and on a personal note, I’m not really a fan of her trip hop ventures. They just make me want to listen to other Trip Hop from the 90s and lacks its own standout value.
Overall, I wouldn’t say I enjoyed the full album as a whole but enjoyed what Lana was capable of. I might have to do a review of one of her more critically acclaimed albums In the future. I think that Lana’s whole personality, image and goal is something I admire and respect whole-heartedly. I also know that deep down that she didn’t create something that showcases her full abilities. I don’t know what it is but I know that this isn’t her best album. Anyhow, I still enjoy it.