Lana Del Rey Discusses Trump Insurrection And Album Cover Controversy In Live Radio 1 Interview
Lana Del Rey just put out a new single “Chemtrails Over The Country Club” — the title track from her forthcoming album, which is due out 3/19 — and then she went on BBC Radio 1 for a live interview with host Annie Mac. “I just woke up. I have a Popsicle, I have a broken arm … I hope I’m on my game,” she said at the start of it. During the chat, she talked about the recent Trump insurrection at the Capitol building and addressed the controversy surrounding her new album cover.
Yesterday, when revealing her album cover, Del Rey posted a lengthy statement defending it, which included phrases like “In 11 years working I have always been extremely inclusive without even trying to. My best friends are rappers my boyfriends have been rappers.” She expanded on that in the interview:
DEL REY: 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.
MAC: So you’re saying people pressured you to put more people of color on your album to look more representative, that type of thing…?
DEL REY: That was the issue that was coming up. But I said that actually half the people in this photo are people of color… I thought about it for the better half of that day and I thought, well, I don’t want to be discouraged because this is what happens often with this, like… I actually am representing a certain thing but people will say that I’m not. It’s kind of like being in opposite world.
MAC: Those women are your friends. Am I right? Those are people that are dear to you?
DEL REY: They are my longest-term, nicest friends. I also felt uncomfortable having them somewhat brought into the controversy, but I spoke to them as well and they were like… ‘We don’t care. You should not care about… everything you’re doing… Your friends are from all over the place and you’ve never represented yourself in any other way.’ I thought back to all my songs and videos and starting with more of a hip-hop sound… I mean, I just don’t feel like that’s my issue. There have been certain things that people have touched on that have made me think, ‘OK, maybe I have to look at that,’ but this is not one of them. I wasn’t being preemptive, I was definitely responding, 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?
A little later on in the interview, Mac asked about how LDR was coping with 2020. “I mean, I always thought that something like this would happen way sooner,” she responded. “Pandemic-wise, I always wondered with 8 billion people in the world, this did not happen sooner. When they got rid of the contagious disease sector of the White House, I was like, we’ll never make it. So that was one. Because I’m a bit of a fatalist, I am scared. So I thought something’s definitely going to happen there.”
DEL REY: 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.
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.
I wrote a very tiny but pretty book called Violet Bent Backwards Over The Grass and I have a little poem in there that’s called “My Bedroom Is A Sacred Place Now, There Are Children At The Foot Of My Bed” and it’s all about because I got a crazy person out of my bedroom. I was surprised we didn’t have a live-television psychopath crazy person as a president as a long time ago because that’s what we see on TV and that’s what we see on Instagram. A lot of really self-obsessed influencers… Not to say that there’s not some also really cute, great, happy-go-lucky influencers that have taught me about crockpots and Target hauls and all the things that have really cheered up my life.
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?
I once had a novelty call with George K. Simon who wrote a book called Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing, and it was all about people who don’t know they’re hurting other people. Like Trump. He doesn’t know that he’s inciting a riot.
MAC: You don’t think that? I thought it was very, very clearly obvious that he knew what he was doing the whole way.
DEL REY: Because he’s got delusions of grandeur. … 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.
MAC: There’s a line in your song about that…
DEL REY: Yeah, that’s the thing, in my title track that you played — and thank you somebody for still playing singer-songwriter music, I appreciate that. I say, ‘I’m not unhinged, I’m just strange and wild.’ If I got to the Brentwood Country Mart barefoot or whatever, it’s like, I’m not insane, I’m connected to the earth. Whatever it may be.
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.
“I want people to understand that I didn’t want to be that jerk in 2019 when they were like ‘2020, clearer version,’ I wanted to be like, ‘Oh, you don’t get it yet, do you? This is not over, this is beginning,” Del Rey said toward the end of the interview. She went on:
I heard it said well by an anchor on CNN at some point: Are these the dying cries of an old regime? Or are they the birth pains of a brand-new division in the country of chaos. I’m pretty sure it’s that one. I think people are going to be super pissed at the ultra-democratic wing.
But ultimately the important thing about any of these situations are that people are just clearer about what’s going on. And now what I think some of the higher-ups and people that are thinking can really see are… 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.
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. Like probably some of the people who were there shooting people.
The full interview is available here.