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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Blue Banisters

Streaming on Spotify / Music

It’s hard to believe that the Lana Del Rey of Blue Banisters, the album she released last weekend, is the same Lana Del Rey who became a pouty, melancholy meme with her infamously off-key Saturday Night Live performance, in 2012. In the last decade, Del Rey has worked to prove herself as far more than that, releasing grandiose, often fatalistic pop ballads dripping with tortured glamour. But it’s her latest album, the second she has released this year, that shows Del Rey at her most evolved—less a damsel in distress with daddy issues than a bona-fide Lady of the Canyon, waxing poetic on quarantining in Los Angeles, outgrowing your clothes, and turning pain into something beautiful. With the help of collaborators that include her longtime producer Rick Nowels, an ex-boyfriend, and family members (her dad and sister are co-writers on “Sweet Carolina,” the album’s standout closing track), Del Rey’s voice sparkles against a stripped-down backdrop of twinkly piano and acoustic guitar. Like a far more mature iteration of Taylor Swift’s Reputation, it’s a falsetto-laced “Screw you” to those who have doubted her, proving that her ideas—and vocals—are much stronger than anyone’s given her credit for. —Sarah Nechamkin

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