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The Next Best American Record? Lana Del Rey’s “Blue Banisters” Reviewed

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

June 2021 was the original release date of Rock Candy Sweet, Lana Del Rey’s eighth studio album on the heels of her seventh, Chemtrails Over The Country Club. After June came and went, her eighth album, renamed Blue Banisters, has finally been officially released on October 22nd, 2021. There has been considerable anticipation in light of this album as Lana has departed with her writing and producing partner Jack Antonoff of Bleachers for this latest album.

Waiting for Spotify to reload at 11:59pm on October 21st, I was excited to be among the first to experience Del Rey’s newest album. I had done the same with Chemtrails, just a few months prior, and was just grateful to be getting more songs from my favorite artist, in light of her most recent Instagram hiatus. Lana’s first three singles, “Text book”, the titular “Blue Banisters”, and “Wildflower Wildfire” had left me craving more in an effort to understand the overall storytelling within the album. With phone in hand, airpods in and volume maxed, I had a mind ready to absorb all 61 minutes of Lana’s latest trials and tribulations in this dreamy, heartbreaking, and introspective album.

Whether you’re a long time Lana fan, or a first time listener, feel free to listen along with me below:

1.Text Book

Released as a single, Lana begins her album with “Text Book”, one of three surprise singles. Continuing with her latest dip into a folk inspired sound, “Text Book” sounds like a direct continuation to Chemtrails over the Country Club. As the song reaches its chorus, the vocals and beat culminate into a very catchy and beautiful song that I’ve become a big fan of in the past few weeks.

2. Blue Banisters

The titular track off “Blue Banisters” is a song filled with the American motifs of beer, cigarettes, John Deere, and Oklahoma itself. Lana focuses on storytelling with this song, even referencing her real life friends Jenny and Nikki Lane. A folksy heartbreak tale is at the heart of this song and the album as a whole.

Released just two days prior to the album drop, the Blue Banisters video came as a surprise to fans.

3. Arcadia

Somewhat reminiscent of a choral arrangement, Lana’s third track is a dreamy ballad that captured me as soon as I listened to it. With special attention to her vast vocal range and songwriting excellence, “Arcadia” is undoubtedly my favorite single off of the album.

Arcadia was the first music video released for Blue Banisters.

4. Interlude – The Trio

The fourth song on the album, a purely instrumental and transitional piece is the first of its’ kind for Del Rey. Featuring “The Trio” from The Good, Bad and the Ugly the song incorporates hip-hop and trap beats throughout, diving into Lana’s earlier inspirations from Hip-Hop music, particularly on her album Born to Die. This instrumental is unique to say the least, and showcases the culmination of what has inspired her music thus far.

5. Black Bathing Suit

“Black Bathing Suit” is a song aching for a true and meaningful love. Reminiscing on old times, she sees the black bathing suit as one of the parts of her past that has stayed with her. With a few replays, the song has grown on me as an evolution of Lana’s music and herself as a person, “Black Bathing Suit” is justified in its straying from her typical sound.

6. If You Lie Down With Me

The sixth song is classic Lana. Nothing but pure beautiful vocals and melancholic lyrics, “If You Lie Down With Me” is one of my favorite songs from the album due to its’ style being the reason I fell in love with Lana’s music. This track details a breakup, while Lana is trying to salvage it by getting her lover to remember all the good parts of their relationship. This song, originally meant for her album Ultraviolence, explains why “If You Lie Down With Me” has such a nostalgic and beautiful sound to it.

7. Beautiful

Rare for Lana Del Rey, “Beautiful” begins with a simple piano introduction. Straight into the song, the lyrics are sad and, well, beautiful. Another home run off the album, this will instantly be in my crying songs rotation.

Let me show you how sadness can turn into happiness / I can turn blue into something

Lana Del Rey and Drew Erickson 2021

8. Violets for Roses

A transitional song, “Violets for Roses” highlights self growth and love outside of a toxic relationship. Addressing the ways she was forced to change within her relationship, she begins to embrace her authentic self. My favorite part of the song, the chorus is a culmination of the resentment she has for this partner as well as the confidence and love she has grown to have. I see this as a powerful and happy song, one of the few on this album, in turn making it a stand out for me.

9. Dealer

Featuring artist Miles Kane in this song, Lana performs a duet in one of the most unique tracks on the album. Featuring a catchy beat and painful message, Lana’s vocals ring out like an angel and we see the anguish and pain brought by the titular “Dealer”. Originally written, then scrapped for Chemtrails, Lana decided to finally release this song in Blue Banisters.

10. Thunder

Wow. Yeah. I love this song a lot. Everything about it is quintessentially Lana and it deserves a listen 1000%.

11. Wildflower Wildfire

Released as one of three surprise singles, like most of Lana’s work, the song has grown on me with time. A slower piano-backed ballad, “Wildflower Wildfire” is a beautiful song for those looking for something on the mellower side of Lana’s already soft and slow discography. With an astounding and buildable chorus, “Wildflower Wildfire” was worth the second listen.

12. Nectar of the Gods

Reminiscent of her Lust for Life era, the twelfth track on the album is filled with acoustic guitar and a rich voice from Del Rey.

I get wild on you baby

Lana Del Rey and Barrie-James O’Neill 2021

13. Living Legend

Funny how I would classify Lana as a “Living Legend” at this point… Anyway… This track is a beautiful tribute to one of Lana’s longtime friends, which is displayed throughout. The instrumentals are great, and a call back to Ultraviolence, making it a beautiful and nostalgic song to me.

14. Cherry Blossom

A sweet song to fit the title, “Cherry Blossom” is a song describing a supportive mother-child relationship. A comforting song overall, this will make my rotation of relaxing Lana songs meant for studying (It’s a good playlist I promise).

15. Sweet Carolina

Co-written by both her father and sister, “Sweet Carolina” was a family affair. Equally as sweet and sentimental as “Cherry Blossom”, the fifteenth tracks closes the album in a positive way, rather rare for the normally melancholic songstress.

So don’t write me a letter / I’ll always be right here / Closer to you than your next breath, my dear

Lana Del Rey, Robert Grant, Alana Champion, Chuck Grant 2021

Overall….

This album is phenomenal. Lana is constantly producing incredible music and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to give my thoughts on the album.

TL;DR

If you do nothing else, please listen to If You Lie Down With Me, Beautiful, and Thunder.

Hi! I'm Kristin, an Advertising Sophomore at UT Austin with a passion for film, beauty, and writing. To be honest, the peak of my writing career was in 4th grade as the head editor of the school newspaper (lost in time unfortunately). When I'm not writing, you'll find me on Spotify curating my perfect Taylor Swift crying playlist.
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