After the original triumph of born to die, in 2012, the album which revealed the character of Lana Del Rey to the world, the commercial success of the New Yorker no longer rubbed shoulders with the heights frequented by her sisters Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Katy Perry or Ariana Grande. His impact, both iconographic and musical, has no less decisively anchored itself in the international pop landscape. Through an abundant work, both faithful to a personality recognizable among all, but also capable of reinvention and metamorphosis, constantly asserting its artistic autonomy.
If old pieces of his repertoire (National Anthem, Young and Beautiful…) regularly become viral phenomena again by the grace of TikTok, if new idols proclaim their admiration for their young eldest (such as Billie Eilish, confident that she had a photo of Lana Del Rey pasted on her very first phone), these are well the latest productions of the Californian by adoption who impress the most today. As much by their rhythm as by their renewed creativity.
Determination without artifice
Just over three years after the critical and public consecration of Norman Fucking Rockwell!who saw her continue with the edition of a collection of poems, Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass (Simon and Schuster, 2020, untranslated), then the release of two solid opuses, Chemtrails Over the Country Club (2021) and Blue Banisters (2021), America’s troubled angel unfurls the sprawling beauty of sixteen tracks in Did You Know There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd. His longest album and one of the most exciting in terms of aesthetic evolution.
Certainly, the title of the ninth chapter of her discography, referring to the Jergins Tunnel, which allowed the inhabitants of Long Beach to reach the beach, suggests that she remains a chronicler of the mythology of Los Angeles. If certain songs still weave parallels between his private life and the treacherous luminosity of this city, the Californian ambivalence dominates the whole less than in Norman Fucking Rockwell!
First led by atmospheres favoring suspended strings and delicate piano, intensified by female choirs flirting with gospel, her voice ventures into more registers than usual. Gone are the days when, as a fatal vamp shattered by disillusionment, Lana Del Rey was content to overplay a suave strangeness. Without neglecting caressing mysteries (the languorous title track), his singing can progress with an unadorned determination (The Grants), starkly lay bare his anxieties (fingertips), dare a spectral elegance (Paris, Texas) or the folk clarity of Canadian Joni Mitchell (Kintsugi), already a major reference of Chemtrails Over the Country Club.
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