AOTY 2021

Blue Banisters

Lana Del Rey - Blue Banisters
Critic Score
Based on 25 reviews
2021 Ratings: #416 / 682
User Score
2021 Ratings: #177
Liked by 93 people
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A.V. Club

While Chemtrails was cause for concern that Del Rey had perhaps lost her magic touch, Banisters is a reminder that when the singer-songwriter is in charge of her vision and fully taps into her emotions, she’s still capable of crafting breathtaking beauty.


For the most part ... ‘Blue Banisters’ reminds us that, beyond the social media fires and press backlashes, Del Rey is still as great as she’s always been. With her attention firmly on her “endeavours” rather than the noise around her, perhaps her next album will be even better.

Much like across her catalogue, Lana offers no resolution. Instead, ‘Blue Banisters’ presents a collection of sun-kissed moments and hazy memories, free from judgement and firmly rooted in place.

Though still world-weary as ever, Del Rey is, on Blue Banisters, for the first time diaristic and ad hoc. This album is a stunner.

Slant Magazine
‘Blue Banisters’ further fleshes out Lana Del Rey’s increasingly colorful personal world.
Evening Standard

While her style has become more easily identifiable since the career high of her album Norman F**king Rockwell! in 2019 – avoiding current sonic trends, wallowing in beautiful sadness – Blue Banisters changes the record if you listen closely.

The Telegraph

Freeing herself from the world’s critical eye, Del Rey has seized the chance to experiment with her writing and, crucially, her vocals.

The Independent

Blue Banisters is studded with offbeat images and intimacies like this. Del Rey has pitched it as her most personal album yet. This is not quite true – the album is far more elliptical and mysterious than it first appears.

Northern Transmissions

We’ve come to expect a certain thing from Lana Del Rey over the years and while Blue Bannisters doesn’t change the plot up much, it is one of Del Rey’s better releases. Del Rey feels comfortable here, bringing you into her world. One that is honest, messy, dryly hilarious and extremely relatable.

Rolling Stone
Her second album of the year is dense and abstract, turning inward and finding solace in sisterhood.
The Forty-Five

From Zoom calls to Ultraviolence offcuts, on her eighth album the American songwriter takes the long view on her decade as an artist — but she still remains as enigmatic as ever.

Spectrum Culture
A slightly off balance and unguarded addition to the Del Rey cannon, its hour-long running time could easily be trimmed. Yet while it might not stand up with her best albums, it doesn’t unduly dent her current purple patch of creativity.
Lana Del Rey’s second album of the year is a sweeping survey of her talent as a songwriter, stripped of the aesthetic borders she often places around her work.
Under The Radar

Collectively, these 15 tracks run circles around last March’s Chemtrails over the Country Club, revealing the artist, love her or hate her, as she truly is.

Beats Per Minute

Blue Banisters has her voice break, has her shout or drop all the way to her lowest register to the point where it feels truly experimental. Yes, this will drive some away, and allow critics to easily point to its messiness, but it is also rewarding and surprising.

The Line of Best Fit

Ultimately, while her opus may lie elsewhere in her discography, Blue Banisters achieves precisely what it set out to - free from distractions, it’s a welcome insight into some of her most warm and introspective moments.

Refreshingly hers, 'Blue Banisters' is a beautiful mix of old and new. Taking all the most captivating bits of her past catalogue, all the things that make her her, and the comforting recognisability of Lana’s world, the anticipated record is a gift for long running fans.

Much of Blue Banisters has this kind of casual, first-take energy, and functions more like a mixtape than an album as Del Rey cultivates a sustained atmosphere, but still makes room to try out new ideas and inject some unexpected moves into her established sound.

The Guardian

Despite the wavering quality, Blue Banisters is an important addition to Lana lore. That she can still manage to be this perplexing after a decade in the game is a massive achievement.

The Arts Desk

Del Rey’s recent co-writer/producer Jack Antonoff is absent (though familiar collaborators such as Zachary Dawes remain), and Blue Banisters has little new to say sonically, drifting by on piano and hushed Tex-Mex arrangements, all in the service of her remarkable pop voice.

The Observer

The singer’s eighth album feels familiar, but also pushes at the edges of her usual themes.

The Needle Drop

Blue Banisters sounds more slapped together than Lana's past two LPs.

The Sydney Morning Herald
Whether she’s appeasing, rehashing or sneering, Del Rey feels lost, ultimately making this her most forgettable record.
Blue Banisters has its flaws, but that's what makes it deeply human, just like the introspective ballads of its author. To compensate for the shortcomings, Lana Del Rey uses her vocal and emotional power as a kind of ultimate protection to these detractions, and a feast for her fans.

For a Lana Del Rey fan, a proper comeback by the pop star usually sounds like satisfaction. You know that feeling that warms your heart, like when you wake up in the morning with the sun shining and no clouds on ... read more
question for the culture: if AOTY wasn't this misogynist this would be higher than To Pimp A Butterfly right? just say your misogynist and leave if your going to give this a sub-90 score.

lana del rey makes a normal album, you guys can stick to weird music like jpegmafia 🙄
Lana has done it again.

I was a little worried with how soon this was going to be released after “Chemtrails Over The Country Club”, and with how I didn’t necessarily love the singles upon their release, but this really delivers and surpassed all of my expectations. This album isn’t necessarily anything new for Lana Del Rey, but it once again is a beautiful record with some of her best songwriting and vocal performances to date. It does kinda blend together after a ... read more
TOMORROW (I’m tired)


I didn’t intend on that opening line I wrote last night to best summarize my thoughts on this album, but looking at it again now it unintentionally represents what I thought of this album very well. Simply put, I thought Lana Del Rey’s delayed second album of this year, “Blue ... read more
My hype for “Blue Banisters” was mad high even before the record dropped. Lana Del Rey simply hasn’t missed lately; hell, I even think “Chemtrails Over The Country Club” is one of the year’s best releases so far. So I really hoped that Lana would continue the trend with this one and, well…she definitely did. Layered in so many beautiful textures, stapled with Lana’s signature sound at its finest, this record doesn’t hold back for a second, ... read more
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Added on: April 27, 2021