Lana Del Rey was born Elizabeth Woolridge Grant and raised Catholic in upstate New York. She learned to sing in her parish choir and later studied philosophy briefly at Fordham University. She then invented the name and persona of Lana Del Ray and began producing eclectic pop songs that were thick with old Hollywood glamor and nostalgic Americana. Her albums feature wildly different vocal styles and production, and her appearance changes often.
In 2019, she received critical acclaim for her album Norman F*****g Rockwell, which offered glimpses of sincerity behind the pop star façade. The album’s best song, aptly called “The Greatest,” is a heartfelt lament about the state of her soul, and the world. She sings, “The culture is lit and I’ve had a ball. I guess I’m signing off after all.”
Recently, Lana released Chemtrails Over the Country Club, which carries the previous album’s themes of authentic love and spiritual exploration forward magnificently. Chemtrails is in many ways a tribute to one of Lana’s heroes, Joni Mitchell, and Lana’s poetry on the record pairs with a softer, more intimate production than on previous endeavors. On Chemtrails, Lana explores a topic that used to be commonplace in pop music—erotic desire—and points to a much deeper longing rarely articulated so boldly in the public square nowadays: the longing for God.