DDespite some misguided early philosophies, the pandemic has not turned out to be a great leveler: We have all been, to borrow a viral metaphor, navigating the same stormy sea in very different vessels. However, it has made Lana Del Rey a bit more relatable. The musician has often seemed a more stylized cipher than any woman, playing on the romantic ideals of American culture and darkly dysfunctional love. However, on his eighth album, Blue Banisters, he has more walking activities in mind, such as Zoom calls and trips to Target.
“If this is the end, I want a boyfriend / someone to eat ice cream with and watch TV with,” she sings in Black Bathing Suit, a song that seems to nod to the blockage of weight gain (“The only thing I still have left is this suit She is later overwhelmed by the signs of the return to everyday life: in Violets for Roses, once common places, like young women frolicking without masks and the reopening of bookstores, can now provoke euphoria .
Ultimately, Black Bathing Suit returns to his favorite “bad girl” themes and negative press attention. However, Blue Banisters is perhaps his most straightforward autobiographically album to date, documenting a failed romance and the onset of his current one, and his relationships with his (close) sister and (difficult) mother. The dazzling and almost funereal title track begins as a tribute to his girlfriends, before talking about the limits of female solidarity when it comes to heartbreak and unhappy singleness.
The conversation about whether there has ever been some sort of character in play with Del Rey has orbited his career since his breakthrough in 2011, thanks to his evocative aesthetic: a vaguely low-income all-American glamor dating back to the 1960s and 60s. 70. – elegant pseudonym (her real name is Lizzy Grant) and her borderline field treatment of femininity, toxic relationships and her homeland. However, in response to a review of her 2019 album, Norman Fucking Rockwell !, Del Rey insisted that she “never had a personality, never needed it, never will have it.” And while her music seems ironic at times, her public statements suggest that she takes herself very seriously. A recent ad that alluded to media criticism included the phrase: “I must say that I have enjoyed moving through the world wonderfully, as a woman with grace and dignity.”
Yet it’s still impossible to listen to Blue Banisters, where heart-in-the-sleeve soliloquies and meandering trains of thought rub against wry humor and oblique swagger, and you don’t feel confused. The overwhelming but minimal opening track Text bookAbout being attracted to a man because he looks like her father, she seems to have a wink of complicity baked in. Or not? Is Beautiful – in which Del Rey defends his melancholic tendencies over sparkling hues with the line: “What if someone had asked / Picasso not to be sad?” – Not at all self-conscious? It doesn’t seem like it, especially considering that the creative power of feeling sad is the main theme of the album.
Beautiful hearse-looking seamer Sweet Carolina, co-written with her father and sister, acts as a touching love letter to the latter as she prepares to give birth. However, in the middle, the mood is completely undermined by a letter about a woman who calls her son “Lilac Heaven after your iPhone 11,” and has a crypto-obsessed brother as a boyfriend. Del Rey’s slick character makes her the reverse mirror of Adele, her main counterpart when it comes to taciturn, slow-paced, “classic” ballads, whose own intentions always seem crystal clear: strictly recorded serious, gleefully irreverent.
As disorienting as her company may be, Del Rey’s world-building is never less than completely absorbing, and her vocal presence, which also seems to mess with female singing tropes (she is, by turns, intimate, penetrating to the level Joni, dejectedly flat). he is as powerful as any singer of his generation. It means that the musical underpinnings of his songs, usually be it a portentous piano or gently plucked guitars, tend to fade into the background. But the fact that there is often little tangible difference between them isn’t the problem it could be for another artist: Del Rey is all about honing his own idiosyncratic melodic grammar (his lead lines are always incredibly inventive and beautiful) than his peers inevitably they haunt years later. .
The similarity may also seem overblown due to Del Rey’s productivity: Blue Banisters is his second full-length album of 2021 after Chemtrails Over the Country Club. It can make an artist’s work seem less special, an impression compounded here by the inclusion of Ultraviolence clippings from 2014 and an abandoned collaborative album from 2017 with Alex Turner and Miles Kane’s side project The Last Shadow Puppets. Kane lends his voice to the most exciting song in terms of sound on the album, the ambling, bluesy Dealer, in which Del Rey is torn, with a woman on the edge, like a heroine of Tennesse Williams or John Lennon in Mother .
It’s insanely fun and deserves its place, but the other throwbacks feel less noticeable, blending into a frigid dirge. However, despite the wavering quality, Blue Banisters are an important addition to the Lana tradition. That it can still be so disconcerting after a decade in the game is a huge achievement.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism