Lana Del Rey – Blue Banisters
Shortly after the release of her album Chemtrails Over the Country Club in early 2021, Lana Del Rey promised a swift followup with what would have been Rock Candy Sweet. The frustrated artist pledged to confront critics accusing her of (among other things) anti-feminism, cultural appropriation and glamorising domestic abuse. The latter has plagued Del Rey since 2014 album Ultraviolence, with the title track containing the lyrics, “He hit me and it felt like a kiss.” The vocalist, perhaps perplexing to some and appealingly enigmatic to others, has always been divisive, but after a certain infamous Instagram post in which she communicated some contentious opinions, she seemed in danger of being cancelled.
Del Rey deactivated all her social media accounts, choosing instead to let her music do the talking. After several delays, she’s finally dropped her second album of the year. Her eighth effort overall is now titled Blue Banisters – a ruminative body of work that serves as something of a continuation of her normal narrative, although perhaps with an even more introspective approach.
Interestingly, the album features certain songs originally intended for Norman Fucking Rockwell and Chemtrails. This creates cohesion and allows the three projects to almost feel like a trilogy. While all her albums have held their own distinctive sounds and identities, from the guitar-influenced Ultraviolence to the more hip-hop infused Lust for Life, Del Rey’s recent output suggests she is now firmly in her artistic stride. She sounds more confident and content, with Blue Banisters largely being a celebration of sisterhood and friendship.
The title track tells of female solidarity and echoes the single Chemtrails Over the Country Club in its whimsical tangents, morphing from a conversational style to more vulnerable inner thoughts. The strings-soaked Arcadia is definitive Del Rey, almost harking back to the style of her debut album.
Lockdown life is referred to in Black Bathing Suit, which also addresses her critics as she proclaims, “You don’t know me any better than they do.” The singer almost giggles the words “Mail me when you get the blues, we’ll have the last laugh about it”, seemingly poking fun at her reputation for coming over as chronically sad and depressing. If You Lie Down with Me brings warmth, its closing instrumental uplifting; Thunder is another highlight.
Del Rey brims with a desperately relentless emotion as she wails over the chorus of Dealer. The infectious track is one of the more abstract and sees the star team up with English musician Miles Kane.
Del Rey’s stylistic storytelling seamlessly blends the more profound and poetic lyrics with colloquial, everyday references, once again reminding listeners that, even after a decade, she remains unparalleled in her output. Vocally at her best, Del Rey’s Blue Banisters forms another alluring chapter for the always engaging artist.
Blue Banisters is released on 22nd October 2021. For further information or to order the album visit Lana Del Rey’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Blue Banisters here: