A few weeks back, when I started rolling out blog posts on new music releases, one of the first albums I featured was Lana Del Rey’s Chemtrails Over the Country Club. I was happy to have a new album by one of my favorite artists.
Well, it looks like I’m going to get another one. Since I posted that song, Del Rey dropped three new songs online and said they are from an upcoming album titled Blue Bannisters that will likely drop in July. This is some Taylor Swift folklore/evermore-level shit.
Lana Del Rey released one of the best album’s of the previous decade with 2019’s Norman Fucking Rockwell, a sadly romantic ode to a country on the brink of disaster. The disaster at the time was Trump’s presidency and a climate crisis that had set California ablaze, but the album only grew more resonant in the face of the pandemic.
Following up that masterpiece was a tall order. Del Rey didn’t have a realistic shot at topping what will likely be her crowning achievement, but with this year’s Chemtrails Over the Country Club, she has managed to both build on and stray from the sound of its predecessor.
This is the third Leap Day since I started my Song of the Day blog back in 2008. That was a leap year as well, but I started posting songs in July so February had already passed.
My previous two Leap Day posts surprisingly contain no mention of the date. In 2012, I featured The Shins’ ‘Saint Simon’ during a week of unrelated songs (I did a lot fewer theme weeks in the blog’s early days).
Best Albums of the 2010s – #2
Norman Fucking Rockwell – Lana Del Rey (2019)
Lana Del Rey’s Norman Fucking Rockwell is the newest album on this list, having come out only a few months ago. I suppose that opens it up to potential recency bias, but its greatness is so undeniable I couldn’t stop myself from placing it this high.
Del Rey truly belongs to the past decade. Her hard-to-find self-titled debut dropped in 2010, and she’s released five brilliant albums about every other year since then, culminating in her finest work to date with Rockwell.
Concluding my countdown of the songs on Lana Del Rey’s Norman Fucking Rockwell.
2. ‘How to disappear’ – This is another track that was released, in a way, well before the album came out, when Del Rey and Jack Antonoff performed a piano-and-vocals version live at an Apple event. That recording is a thing of beauty, but the studio version is just as transcendent, adding ramshackle instrumentation that reminds me of the work Jon Brion did with Fiona Apple back in the 90s.