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Lana Del Ray: Blue Bannisters Review

by Emma Kang

Staff Writer

[originally published October 2021]


Lana Del Rey is excellent at wallowing. She’s good at capturing a wrong feeling and making you understand something you haven’t experienced. On my way back from the certainly controversial John Waters show, I walked by a spilled Oreo McFlurry that smelled sickly sweet melting on the ground of a gross parking lot, and I thought to myself, “That is exactly what Lana is talking about.”

The album is soft, with songs flowing into each other tied together by Lana’s deep melodic voice. She stays on brand, singing about how much she wants a boyfriend, someone to eat ice cream with, the tragedy of love and life itself. For the most part, the album is confessional and tragic, similar to her past works. She pours out her heart, looking to be understood by the world through her art. The album is subtle, for the most part. She sings along slow piano, guitar, and synths mimicking organs which allows her voice to be the most powerful and devastating part of each song.

Although I think a lot of Lana’s work sounds similar, it feels incredibly different from her early albums that sound younger and brasher. When I was listening to the entire thing all the way through, it changed the way I was viewing the world and myself for hours after. I think she captured and translated her emotions into Blue Banisters incredibly well. Between her screaming about how she doesn’t want to live and her crooning about a longing for the present moment, the album is captivating and emotive.

Something I don’t know a lot about is Lana’s sense of humor. I have no idea if she’s funny, but some of this album is.

“You name your babe Lilac Heaven

After your iPhone 11

‘Crypto forever’ screams your stupid boyfriend

Fuck you, Kevin”

I think she understands the humor she is putting out with some of her lines, but it feels almost unintentional. She’s funny, but I don’t think she's ironic. But unlike John Waters, I don’t think she’s missing a mark. She isn’t reaching into unattainable territory trying to convince her audience she’s something she’s not, which is partially due to the fact that she dropped the Lolita thing a little bit ago. She knows what she’s good at and has produced a lot of work within her means.

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