For as long as we can remember, Lana Del Rey has been a young woman from the 1950s in the body of a counterpart to today.
She’s 36 now, yet her music from a decade ago has an old-world, retro Hollywood charm that combines decadence with gloom. His work has an ambitious, contemplative quality that often reaches for a grand, showbiz-friendly sound that makes his music seem like it’s stuck in the warp of a time. Imagine a mandarin tone with the occasional quiver against the velvet curtains of an old glamorous era and halogen arc lights.
By its own admission, this wannabe contralto-but-potential-dagzone is trying to sing in the lower register to differentiate itself from its pop contemporaries. While his speaking voice is decidedly light and intertwined with this built-in depth, the deeper notes come to him with ease. He channeled an old-fashioned spirit into a decidedly pop environment with his frequent nods to old pop culture, using sadness and sadness that many music critics happily call “Hollywood sadcore”. It’s actually something you might not have known about otherwise, but it’s definitely a concept that helps you understand Lana Del Rey’s allure.
However, the lockdown has been a lot for many people. For Lana (whose real name is Elizabeth Woolridge Grant) this has been an opportunity to release two albums. That they’re sounding completely opposite makes the musician’s new offering all the more exciting. Six months after the release of Chemtrails Over the Country Club, they released Blue Bannisters: their most contemporary sounding album to date.
We actually find Lana in a world where quarantine and Zoom exist. It’s as unusual for Lana’s repertoire to have her own singing personality in the pop music world. In Blue Bannisters, in a major shift from her concern for the past, we find her bringing a more peaceful and playful one who is at ease in her skin, in her voice, in her surroundings and, above all, in her self-awareness. The contrast of Chemtrails’ straight-forward, traditional singer-songwriter deal is striking.
Perhaps the contemporary nature comes from the previous unreleased but leaked songs ‘Living Legend’ and ‘Cherry Blossom’. The familiar sound of the two songs makes the album more current, given that they are being circulated informally among their fans. Add to this a “text book” and a “black bathing suit,” and we see Lana having fun in the album’s noticeable blues/blues motif. She manipulates the color blue (both melancholy and color) to be both sad and gleeful, giving us a glimpse of what might happen if Lana truly sheds her colored hair after all her inner voice conversations. reduce it.
It’s important to see The Blue Bannisters as an album in their own right, and not just against their body of work because of Lana’s song-writing range and her ability to translate her inspirations into a more contextual sense of herself. Makes a solid case. So “Beautiful,” though it sounds like many of her earlier works, allows us to be cognizant of how Lana is willing to put herself out there to become more optimistic than she is. For this he has been allowed to remain so far away. “Text Book” is probably one of her most intimate songs and you can’t shake that sense of desperation as she laments, “I didn’t even like myself”.
If Lana is allowed to indulge in her sorority, her love for outspoken grandeur also can’t be left behind. Collaborating with Miles Kane for the psychedelic rock ‘Dealer’, he highlights his famous howl with his distinctive retro quiver.
Lana also revealed a funnier side to “Sweet Carolina,” a song co-written with her father and sister, that deals with the introspection and irreverence in a very sibling relationship. It’s a delightful closer to the album that makes us feel like Lana has been a little more comfortable giving us access to herself.
Her sonic and emotional palette has always been expanding but Lana has often turned to gloomy analysis of her distinctive style. Blue Bannisters doesn’t reflect the full range of Lana’s musicality, nor does it fully cover her ability to control the tone and weight of her voice.
Still, there’s an honesty to Blue Bannister that comes from a place of acceptance. For a good part of her career, Lana Del Rey has kept guessing what she wants us to see; Which has always been about taking him more seriously. She has a naturally high and melodious voice that can contain much feminine youthfulness but by mining the lower extremities of her range, she has often given up on that vibrancy. In Blue Bannister, she comes into her own.