In an attempt to circumvent a fuss over the cover to her new album, Chemtrails Over the Country Club, Lana Del Rey really wants you to know she has POC friends. Unfortunately, she probably stirred more controversy than she sought to prevent, as no one was really questioning that the cover didn’t have non-white people in it (because it, uh, is a photo and we can see that there are). Now, in an interview with BBC Radio 1, she’s further complicated matters — and brought her opinions on the Trump insurrection into things.
When revealing her album cover, Del Rey posted a lengthy comment that was the pretentious version of “I have black friends;” “My best friends are rappers my boyfriends have been rappers,” is an actual sentence she wrote. Speaking live with Annie Mac on BBC Radio 1, LDR argued she was only responding to those who believed she was showing a lack of diversity:
“Before I even put the album cover up, I knew what people were going to say. So when they actually started saying things, I responded and I just said, ‘I got a lot of issues but inclusivity ain’t one of them.’ It just isn’t. You can’t just make it my problem. My friends, my family, my whatever… They’re not all one way and we’re not the ones storming the Capitol. [Laughs] We voted for Biden. My girlfriends come from all over the world, they have children from all different types of people. And I’m mentioning all this, like, to people who are listening because people really wanted even more people of color on my album cover. Which you know is, to a point, a photo just is what it is.”
“I wasn’t being preemptive, I was definitely responding,” she maintained. “But I just feel like if that’s really what people are gonna say, I have an answer for them, which is that if you look closer, you will see people of color. It’s a black-and-white image, so zoom in, you know. It’s just weird, you know?”
As a point of order, it seems more that people have an issue with how she discusses these topics, not how she represents them in her art. That’s what happened when she compared the reaction to her lyrics to those of women of color like Beyoncé and Doja Cat, or when she posted images of looters during Black Lives Matter protests. She told Mac, “I actually am representing a certain thing but people will say that I’m not. It’s kind of like being in opposite world,” but the context may not have helped matters.
Later on in the discussion, she delivered a somewhat rambling opinion on the state of the country in the wake of the pandemic and last week’s Capitol insurrection. On the former, she suggested COVID-19 has brought to light some darker realities that have long been part of America:
“And then in terms of that wider picture of the government you see on TV or whatever being a reflection of what’s going on in our inner homes. I was not surprised that the second epidemic that came out of the pandemic was household violence and general upset… 911 calls went 350% in every state. People have to look at themselves and live with themselves with just probably television to cope. I’m way ahead of the train on coping because I’ve got stuff going on. I’m prepared for a pandemic because I’m crazy. I’ve got a shelter, I’ve got my meds right, I’ve got my girlfriends who totally get it. I’m realistic.”
She then turned her attention to Trump, saying she was “surprised we didn’t have a live-television psychopath crazy person as a president a long time ago because that’s what we see on TV and that’s what we see on Instagram.” She added,
“The madness of Trump… As bad as it was, it really needed to happen. We really needed a reflection of our world’s greatest problem, which is not climate change, but sociopathy and narcissism. Especially in America. It’s going to kill the world. It’s not capitalism, it’s narcissism…
But, you know, I just think there’s actually, minus our terrifying death toll, I think it was a huge wake-up call. Your life is not about what kind of shoes you buy, it’s not about going to Harvard or Oxford. It’s about what kind of person you are. If you’re an asshole and everyone … if you’re a jerk and everyone tells you that you are and everyone tells you that you’re a jerk, then we finally need to address this big issue in the world of what do we do with all these people who don’t know they’re hurting other people? Do we put them all on an island together?”
Mac asked if Del Rey actually believed that Trump was ignorant of the effect he was having on his followers, something with which the interviewer disagreed. The singer responded that it was just Trump’s “delusions of grander” and that the Capitol rioters were displaying “disassociated rage:”
“I think he’s unwell but I think the people who are storming and getting in trouble and then Fox News flashes to them and they’re saying, ‘It’s a revolution.’ I know this is a long answer but I think this is really the most important thing I’ll say in this interview. I think, for the people who stormed the Capitol, it’s disassociated rage. They want to wile out somewhere. And it’s like, we don’t know how to find a way to be wild in our world. And at the same time, the world is so wild…
Again, I think people are having to re-evaluate what is strange and not strange. Watching the people storm the Capitol, everyone gets to go look at that and figure out what Capitols they’ve been storming this year in their own freakin’ lives. ‘Cause everyone’s running amok. You know, half the people I know are just jerks. Like I could picture them being like, ‘Well, we need a change.’ You know, and then other half of the people I know are like watching them with tears in their eyes, in disbelief. And it is sad, it is scary. But it could happen in any country.”
Near the end of the interview, she reiterated that the Capitol riots should serve as a wake up call to “higher-ups” that “OK, we’ve got a problem now. We didn’t know that we got half of the country who wants to shoot up the Capitol. We didn’t really know that because we never got to see it. I think this gave us the opportunity to see where our level of mental health is at. And also to see where our level of disassociated rage is.”
She went on to say schools being closed may have contributed to the unrest that led to the attempted coup. “I also think that the institution of very firm schooling for people who don’t want to go to school has been very hard for people who don’t belong in those kinds of institutions,” she said. “Like probably some of the people who were there shooting people.”
Find the whole thing at BBC Radio 1.
The interview came as Lana Del Rey released her new single, “Chemtrails Over the Country Club”. Her album of the same name is now set to be released on March 19th.