While she was writing her 2019 masterpiece ‘Norman Fucking Rockwell!’, Lana Del Rey spent a lot of time behind the wheel. That record was full of stories from across California, lived through and collected as her black pick-up truck took her all around the state.
Soon the follow-up to that album, ‘Chemtrails Over The Country Club’, will arrive and the first taste of it finds her itching to get back on the road. “I come from a small town, how about you?” She asks over steady, sparse piano. “I only mention it ’cause I’m ready to leave LA / And I want you to come / 80 miles north or south will do.”
When NME met Del Rey last summer, high up in the Hollywood Hills, she spoke of attempting to escape La La Land, but always being pulled back in. The towns and valleys surrounding it gave her “space to figure things out” and, here, she invites a lover to come with her – not to untangle any relationship issues, but to let her “shine like a diamond” and “be who I’m meant to be”. She sings of the move in almost utopian terms – as though it’s an adventure full of “poems and songs” and being showered in love.
While she might be ready to get out of town and start anew somewhere else, getting “lost in the purple rain” and “high on some pink champagne”, musically she’s rooted in her last known address. ‘Let Me Love You Like A Woman’ would fit right in on ‘NFR’, gently swooning guitar licks bending over piano chords and brushed drums. It also wouldn’t feel out of place on Taylor Swift’s ‘Folklore’, though it’s admittedly less distinct than the songs on either of those records. While, lyrically, she talks about packing up and starting afresh, a new sound might shorten the shadows of her most recent work, which loom large here.
Speaking to Q magazine last year, Del Rey said ‘Let Me Love You…’ was “going to be really important” for ‘Chemtrails Over The Country Club’: “I don’t know why yet – that’s where the magic comes in.” Perhaps, then, this is a classic between-albums palette cleanser that, in the context of the new record, will continue her journey to ever more distant plains.