Everything We Learned From Lana Del Rey’s Very Wholesome Interview With Jack Antonoff
She revealed a few big details about her new album, including how she's made a song that has her just screaming.
Lana Del Rey’s forthcoming album, wonderfully titled Chemtrails Over The Country Club, is apparently very, very close to being released.
Initially, it was supposed to drop last Friday, but that date came and went with a short message from the singer that it was instead “coming soon”. She also shared that a track called ‘Let Me Love You Like A Woman’ is on the way.
She’s now given another update, saying the album is “incredibly close” to being finished. She offered the new info in a wide-ranging and chummy chat in Interview Magazine with super producer Jack Antonoff, who helmed 2019’s Norman Fucking Rockwell! and is again the lead producer on the new album, as well as Del Rey’s new collection of spoken word poetry, Violet Bent Backwards Over The Grass.
The chat, conducted by phone while Del Rey was driving back from Oklahoma to LA, covers a lot of ground, including Del Rey’s experience of clubbing with folk veteran Joan Baez, breakdowns of some tracks on the album, mental health, and why we should be optimistic about the future.
We’ve gone through the interview and pulled out the biggest takeaways. Dive in.
She Was Really Stressed About The Direction Of The Album
Del Rey’s 2019 album Norman Fucking Rockwell! was a masterpiece of songwriting, and Del Rey admits to being unsure of her direction after finishing it.
“I’ve been really stressed about this album,” she tells Antonoff. “From the top, we knew what Norman was. But with Chemtrails, it was like, ‘Is this new folk? Oh, god, are we going country?’ Now that it’s done I feel really good about it.”
She also says she doesn’t know whether the album is “perfect”, and she was a little distracted throughout its creation. “The one thing that makes me upset is that if I hadn’t been so distracted with my personal life and my poetry, I could’ve broken it down in a more delicate, precise way.
“I guess the way I could’ve done that is just by adding one more defining song to it. Right now it’s really, really good, but I don’t know if it’s perfect, and that really bothers me.”
The resulting album apparently sounds quite “Midwestern” — a change from her ongoing obsession with LA and its imagery and history. She also is apparently tossing up whether to add another track to the album, called ‘Dealer’, in which she just yells..
“I’m just screaming my head off,” she explains. “People don’t know what it sounds like when I yell. And I do yell.”
The Track ‘White Dress/Waitress’ Is Momentous
Del Rey points to a track called ‘White Dress/Waitress’ as being a “defining moment” on the new album, which started with Antonoff just playing the piano at Jim Henson’s studio.
“What I like about that song is that for all of its weirdness, when you get to the end of it, you understand exactly what it’s about,” Del Rey says.
“I hate when I hear a song that has a great melody, but I have no idea what they’re talking about. In the grunge movement, a lot of the lyrics were super abstract, but the melodies and the tonality were such a vibe that you felt like you knew exactly what the singer was thinking. Nowadays, you get a beautiful melody but you don’t really know what the person is talking about, or if it’s even important to them.”
Joan Baez Outlasted Her On A Night Out
Last year, Baez — a legend of American music who headlined the first night of Woodstock — jumped up on stage with Del Rey in Berkeley to sing her 1979 track ‘Diamonds & Rust’.
In the lead up, Del Rey tells Antonoff that she drove to Baez’s house in the lead up to the gig to practice the harmonies. If it was good enough Baez would agree to come and perform it with her. They managed to lock down the harmonies, and afterwards the two singers hit the town, winding up at an Afro-Caribbean two-step place where they danced all night.
“She fucking outlasted me,” Del Rey laughs.
She’s Optimistic About The Future
This year might have been the most tumultuous in living memory, but Del Rey is steadfast in her belief that we’re going to get through it — and things will get better.
“There’s no way we’re going to get it wrong,” she tells Antonoff. “We’re really on the right path. The #MeToo movement was not just a passing movement. Black Lives Matter, no way in hell that’s going away. People talking out about mental health, there’s no way they’re not going to seek even more genetic testing to find out what they’re predisposed to.
“All the scariness and worriedness and disappointment at the same time is like being in a big rocket that is shooting us into a new emotional place, and we’re going to come out of it and be like, “I don’t want to go shopping. I need to go talk to somebody about something.”
Read the full chat in Interview Magazine here.