Blue Banisters: A Glimpse Into Lana Del Rey’s Life

Lana+Del+Rey+photographed+by+Neil+Krug+for+the+Blue+Banisters+album+cover.

Neil Krug

Lana Del Rey photographed by Neil Krug for the “Blue Banisters” album cover.

Paityne Hume, Staff Reporter/ Global News

“Blue Banisters” is Lana Del Rey’s newest and second album of 2021. This is fairly unusual behavior for Del Rey as she most often releases albums every other year or once a year. It also came right after her departure from social media, showing her disdain for criticism and her final escape from it. These past few years Del Rey has faced a lot of criticism over her assumed political views and past mistakes. Getting off of social media allows her to release her album in peace and not get dragged down by harsh criticism.

“Blue Banisters” is different from all the others in her discography in almost all facets. It is extremely vulnerable and introspective, while in the past she would use mostly metaphors and similes to describe her personal life, here she tells it like it is. She uses specific names and mentions her family often. It’s her life story, not centered around romantic relationships, but family relationships. The opening track, “Blue Banisters”, starts with a man promising to make her life better and start a family with her, but he never does. By the end of the song, she sings about how her family fulfilled all of those promises and more. The album has the same title as this song for a reason. It sets up the theme of how family relationships are the most important type of relationship and should be the focus in one’s life.

Most of the songs are piano ballads, but there are a few that have more jazz influence. Dealer is the most captivatingly unique song on the album. It features Miles Kane singing over a calming jazz beat. This track really surprised me because Lana belts and almost screams her part. She has not impressed me this much vocally, since her album “Paradise” which featured very high notes. My second favorite song on the album was “Sweet Carolina” which is the song Lana dedicated to her sister, Chuck Grant. It is about how she’ll always be there for her sister through any pregnancy or relationship problems. It also contains one of my favorite lines from the album, “You name your babe Lilac Heaven, after your iPhone 11.”

You name your babe Lilac Heaven, after your iPhone 11.”

— Lana Del Rey

This refers to how a possible baby name or a nickname for a lover was Lilac Heaven and the iPhone 11 comes in a light purple color that could be called lilac. Many people think this line is corny but I just think it’s a charmingly silly inside joke she has with her sister. These inside jokes are strewn throughout the album and are one of my favorite aspects about it because it shows a more fun side of her mysterious persona. Most of the songs are written like poetry, and paired with the very stripped down production making her writing really shine.

As for the bad parts of the album, “Interlude- The Trio” is definitely my least favorite on the album. It starts as an old Western movie beat and transitions into a trap beat. When it first came on I thought I mis-clicked and went to another album. It just has a completely different vibe than the rest of the piano ballad style songs and feels very out of place. This song, however, was not the only problem on the album. I did like the stripped down production because it allows her writing to be the star, but it does get very boring on certain tracks. “Beautiful” and “Arcadia” just sort of blend into the background of my memory because they weren’t very unique. I didn’t find myself wanting to revisit them because they were repetitive and had simple piano beats.

Overall “Blue Banisters” is a very personal project and should be critiqued and received as such. It is her story, put together in the messy way that life often hands it to us. There are some issues that make the listening experience less enjoyable, but it is definitely worth one’s time.

Rating: 8/10

 

Track Ranking

1. Dealer
2. Sweet Carolina
3. Thunder
4. Textbook
5. Black Bathing Suit
6. Violets for Roses
7. Blue Banisters
8. If You Lie Down With Me
9. Wildflower Wildfire
10. Cherry Blossom
11. Nectar of the Gods
12. Arcadia
13. Living Legend
14. Beautiful
15. Interlude- The Trio