There is something very different about Blue Banisters. Instead of musing about old Hollywood or melancholy memories of toxic love, Lana Del Rey now sings the sorrows and joys of the here and now. Lana, it seems, has finally caught up to the present.
Blue Bannisters Explained
Lana has become more genuine. As with Chemtrails Over The Country Club earlier this year, Blue Bannisters breaks Del Rey’s mysterious facade. Bit by bit, her recent albums reveal the side she has been hiding. Even Lana’s album art feels more her. Which casts light on the fact that, despite Lana’s fame, we as fans really know very little about who she is. There are moments on Blue Bannisters echoing the shock felt when Lana first appeared smiling brightly on the cover art of 2017’s Lust for Life. With Blue Bannisters‘ cover, we continue to witness Lana’s slow yet surprising progression from highly edited portraits to a living breathing human being.
Lana hits a high note
With Blue Bannisters, we are hearing and seeing Lana Del Rey at her best vocally, sonically, and creatively. While she remains incredibly steadfast with her style and story, Lana is experimenting soundwise. Del Rey continues to look outward and inward. Take ‘Black Bathing Suit’ for example. A cowboy western crossed with an underground club mix, this is a much talked about track amongst fans.
What is more, ‘Black Bathing Suit’ certainly cements Blue Bannisters as belonging in 2021. Lana talks Zoom and Target car parks. She also discusses gaining weight in lockdown and worrying about being yesterday’s news. “The only thing that still fits me is this black bathing suit,” she sings.
‘Black Bathing Suit’ is sonically ambitious. It sounds dizzying, dissonant, and loud. This is the type of experimentation we have not heard from Del Rey since Honeymoon in 2015.
‘Dealer’ is another revealing song that has captured fans’ attention. Here Del Rey shows just how far she can push her powerhouse vocals. The song, which features Alex Turner collaborator Miles Kane, is raw. Equally visceral is ‘Living Legend’. Del Rey screams, literally.
Lana Del Rey returns to classic themes
If you were looking forward to more of Lana’s older style, never fear. Blue Banisters also includes unreleased songs written and recorded as far back as 2013. ‘If You Lie Down With Me’ is one. This song has the same cinematic tone of material from Born to Die or Ultraviolence (the record it was originally intended for.) Clearly too ahead of its time to fit the more commercial tone of past albums. Now it finds a real home on Blue Banisters.
‘Nectar of the Gods’ is another. This song sounds more demo-like. It reveals the “genuine” or “real” tone in her recent music is something she has been developing for close to a decade.
Behind her iconic facade
‘Cherry Blossom’ is a previously shelved 2013 track. This one will give you shivers. Del Rey drops her ‘Born to Die’, ‘Video Games’, and ‘Summertime Sadness’ facade, and at first, it is jaw-dropping. “What you don’t tell no-one,” Lana sings, “you can tell me, little ghost, blonde hair with lemonade tea. There’s much to learn. And so much to see.”
Blue Banisters closes on ‘Sweet Carolina.’ This is another intimate song. One Del Rey co-wrote with her sister and father. (Her mother, ‘Black Bathing Suit’ reports, she is not friends with.)
‘Sweet Carolina’ is a ballad, a reminder of what to do “when things go wrong.” This is fitting considering the year of mistakes and scrutiny Del Rey has had. The lyrics also touch on the whimsical and strange. Del Rey ruminates poetically about iPhone 11’s and cryptocurrency. Whatever the meaning, it sounds like Del Rey is letting a manic rush of thoughts go free. “If you get the blues, baby blues,” she tells us. “Just know this is your song. It’ll live on and on, way past me and you.”
‘Violets For Roses’ shows a greater command over poetic metaphor. Del Rey sings about the loss of innocence and independence which comes with romance. Naturally, she refuses to make the comprise.
Final thoughts on Lana Del Rey
It cannot be doubted that the person we get on Blue Banisters is the real Lana Del Rey. Let’s face it, most musical personalities are by their very nature shallow. Lana is the opposite. After eight albums it is clear there is much more of her dig into.
Piece by piece we receive a more complete picture of who she is. And as we do Lana Del Rey is still is soaring to new creative heights and securing a legacy as she goes. Whether her actions as an artist ultimately change the world for the worse or for the better, it is clear she is beyond caring what other people think of her personal life anymore. A lesson we can do well to consider when it comes to our own.
Lana Del Rey 'Blue Bannisters'8
Nice mix of new and old
Another peice in the puzzle