The singer then released a seemingly pre-emptive statement addressing the album art’s apparent lack of diversity
Last night (January 10), Lana Del Rey shared the cover art and tracklist for her highly anticipated upcoming album, Chemtrails Over the Country Club, before immediately (and bizarrely) launching to its defence.
Revealed on Instagram, the artwork features Del Rey and a number of other women gathered around a table smiling. The announcement was followed by a now-deleted comment, addressing its apparent lack of diversity.
“I also want to say that with everything going on this year,” Del Rey wrote on Instagram. “And no this was not intended – these are my best friends, since you are asking today. And damn!”
“As it happens when it comes to my amazing friends and this cover,” she continued. “Yes there are people of colour on this record’s picture and that’s all I’ll say about that but thank you.”
Del Rey continued by naming four of her friends – “Valerie from Del Rio Mexico, my dearest friend Alex and my gorgeous friend Dakota Rain as well as my sweetheart Tatiana” – adding: “We are all a beautiful mix of everything – some more than others which is visible and celebrated in everything I do. In 11 years working I have always been extremely inclusive without even trying to.”
She added: “My best friends are rappers, my boyfriends have been rappers. My dearest friends have been from all over the place, so before you make comments again about a WOC/POC issue, I’m not the one storming the capital, I’m literally changing the world by putting my life and thoughts and love out there on the table 24 seven. Respect it.”
It’s not clear who made the criticism Del Rey was responding to, or whether the statement was entirely pre-emptive.
Unsurprisingly, many fans pointed out the singer’s problematic conflation of ‘rappers’ with BIack people and people of colour. They also rightfully criticised Del Rey for using the ‘I have a Black friend’ card.
“Lana your real friends need to have a real chat with you about white fragility,” read one Instagram comment. “You don’t name drop friends of colour. Are you out of your mind? They’re not props. You better do better,” said another.
Last May, Del Rey was criticised for comparing herself to other women (and particularly women of colour) to emphasise her own struggles. In the original post, Del Rey mentions “Doja Cat, Ariana, Camila, Cardi B, Kehlani and Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé” by name.
Now that these artists have “had number ones with songs about being sexy, wearing no clothes, fucking, cheating etc”, she wrote, “can I please go back to singing about being embodied, feeling beautiful by being in love even if the relationship is not perfect, or dancing for money – or whatever I want – without being crucified or saying that I’m glamorising abuse??????”
She later denied that her post was an attack on the artists she named, calling out “flip-flopping headline grabbing critics (who) can’t read and want to make it a race war” and claiming that the singers she mentioned were some of her favourite artists.
“I’m not the enemy, and I’m definitely not racist, so don’t get it twisted. Nobody gets to tell your story except for you, and that’s what I’m gonna do in the next couple of books,” she said, adding: “So god bless, and, yeah, fuck off if you don’t like the post.”
Chemtrails Over the Country Club follows on from Del Rey’s 2019 album Norman Fucking Rockwell!, though she’s also released a Jack Antonoff-produced poetry album, Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass, in the meantime.
The upcoming album will include songs like “Tulsa Jesus Freak” and “Not All Who Wander Are Lost”, as well as the EP’s previously revealed single, “Let Me Love You Like a Woman”, which premiered in October.
Last month, Del Rey also announced plans for an album of “American standards and classics”, in the vein of her recent cover of George Gershwin’s “Summertime”. In October meanwhile, she debuted the first track from Chemtrails Over the Country Club, “Let Me Love You Like A Woman”.
The Chemtrails Over The Country Club track list is:
1. “White Dress”
2. “Chemtrails Over The Country Club”
3. “Tulsa Jesus Freak”
4. “Let Me Love You Like A Woman”
5. “Wild At Heart”
6. “Dark But Just A Game”
7. “Not All Who Wander Are Lost”
9. “Breaking Up Slowly”
10. “Dance Till We Die”
11. “For Free”