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Album Review: Blue Banisters by Lana Del Rey

Dec 8, 2021

Last Friday, Lana Del Rey released her second album of 2021. The album is actually a mixture of new tracks and old unreleased songs that were originally intended for past projects.

Songs such as “Living Legend” and “Violets for Roses” were made while she was creating her 2014 album, “Ultraviolence”, meanwhile other songs like “Thunder” and “Dealer” were made a few years later in 2017.

In “Violets for Roses”, Del Rey sings about a relationship that changed who she was, and that she was much happier after falling out of love with her ex-lover. Knowing this song is from 2014 gives the line, “The girls are runnin’ ‘round in summer dresses and their masks off and it makes me so happy,” an interesting double meaning that it may not have had back when it was written. In the midst of the pandemic, our 2021 minds immediately think she means their literal, medical masks. However, it’s likely that she actually meant their metaphorical masks were off, that the girls weren’t hiding or concealing anything. 

The album included one interlude titled, “The Trio”. This song stands out the most by far, and caught many people off guard at the first listen. In an album of mostly ballads, a sudden interlude containing trumpets, a trap beat, and no vocals is almost jarring. It can be assumed that the inclusion of this interlude is a nod to her past projects that had hip-hop influence such as her debut album, “Born To Die”.

Del Rey addresses the scrutiny she’s faced over her recent weight gain in “Black Bathing Suit”. She doesn’t seem too concerned, though. She reassures the public that no one does it better than her and she still sings like an angel. She ends the song with a laugh at those who made comments about her.

One of the most talked about songs since the release is the frustrated song “Dealer”, in which Del Rey begins to yell in the chorus. This song features an uncredited Miles Kane, who is a co-frontman in the band, The Last Shadow Puppets. In the song, the two both sing to a “dealer”, which is a metaphor for a lover, and sing about money, which is a metaphor for love. So when Del Rey builds up to the chorus with, “I gave you all my money” and then to screaming, “You never gave me nothing back,” she means she gave her lover all the love she had, and was given nothing in return.

The album closes with the absolutely lovely and warm “Sweet Carolina”, co-written by Del Rey’s own father, who also is playing the piano in the song, and is dedicated to the sister as a reassurance of their love for her since her giving birth. Del Rey’s vocals on the chorus as she sings “baby blues” are just angelic.

After one week of listening to the record, my favorite songs on the album are “Sweet Carolina” and “If You Lie Down With Me,” one of the tracks meant for a past project, which includes an unexpected brass section at the end. The album overall was one of her most introspective records yet, and the combination of the pre-pandemic and current songs made the album vastly interesting to listen to.

Album Rating: 9/10


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