22 oct 2021

Does Lana Del Rey release too many albums?

Just a few months after the release of Chemtrails Over The Country Club, the melancholic diva Lana Del Rey reveals this Friday Blue Banisters, his eighth album. One too many?

We always forgive those we have loved inordinately less when they disappoint us. And when it comes to an artist whose heady spleen records have accompanied important moments in life, the shock is all the more violent. When
Lana Del Rey
appeared in the spotlight ten years ago with the DIY video from Video Games, it was love at first sight. A velvety voice, a rare sense of melody, a melancholic universe drawing as much from the fascinating strangeness of David Lynch as from the old-fashioned glamour of Hollywood in the 50s and 60s, everything was there to establish the young American as an icon of a generation in search of strong aesthetics. After that, she went on for many years with baroque and epic pop hits and inspired psychedelic rock as well as hypnotic slick videos.


A Prolific Year with Chemtrails Over The Country Club and Blue Banisters


Except that magic seems a little lost today, just like her art of mystery that she cultivated in her early days. This year, Lana Del Rey is releasing not one but two albums, Chemtrails Over The Country Club, released last March and Blue Banisters, unveiled this Friday, just after publishing a collection of poetry in 2020. The problem? The Summertime Sadness singer repeats a nice recipe that we know by heart: neurasthenic lyrics on a dream pop background, intimate and often homemade videos using the codes of Americana [ce qui a trait au folklore et la culture des États-Unis] and pretty photos of her as an evanescent and sexy creature with a gaze hemmed in eyeliner. Where has the woman who nicknamed herself the “Gangsta Nancy Sinatra” and collaborated with The Weeknd and A$AP Rocky on irresistible hits or who ventured gracefully into other musical styles (shoegaze, rap)  gone?

What if Lana Del Rey had become a caricature of herself


The titles of
Blue Banisters
‘ tracks seem to be taken from a “Delreyesque” expression generator: Arcadia, Wildflower Wildfire, Nectar Of The Gods, Living Legend, Dealer, Cherry Blossom, Beautiful or Violet For Roses. And these new songs give the impression of having been created by an artificial intelligence that would have integrated the entire universe of Lana Del Rey. The artist may still whisper his chants with an undeniable sensuality,  but his Kate Bush-style gimmicks leave us unmoved this time. As if she had composed her melodies quickly and almost mechanically. Without pressure or questioning. Without looking for a chorus or a verse that would capture the heart of the listener and never let go. Far from the thrills felt at the time of Summertime Sadness and Born To Die,  Lana Del Rey, in her pouty pouts as well as in her bluettes, seems to have become a cliché, almost a caricature. By staying too much in her comfort zone, the artist appears like a princess in her ivory tower. The world may fall apart, the American will continue to smirk and sing about old Hollywood, remorseful gangsters, breakups and pretty sad girls. At the risk of losing the average person along the way?


Blue Banisters (2021) by Lana Del Rey, Polydor/Interscope, available.