Del Rey chatted with Annie Mac about the lack of diversity on the album cover, which is a vintage black-and-white shot featuring her longtime girlfriends. The Norman F—ing Rockwell star told Mac she suspected the issue would arise once she unveiled it. “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,” the singer-songwriter said. “My friends, my family, my whatever… they’re not all one way and we’re not the ones storming the Capitol. We voted for Biden.”
She elaborated further on the Capitol riot, when Trump supporters stormed the building on Jan. 6 to contest the results of the presidential election, leaving five people dead. “I think, for the people who stormed the Capitol, it’s disassociated rage. They want to wild out somewhere,” she said after calling Trump “unwell” and claiming he didn’t know “he’s inciting a riot” while his supporters describe it as a “revolution.” “And it’s like, we don’t know how to find a way to be wild in our world.”
She touches on feeling “wild” in a standout lyric from the first verse of her title track, which got a whimsically wicked music video treatment: “I’m not unhinged or unhappy, I’m just wild.”
“If I go to the Brentwood Country Mart barefoot or whatever, I’m not insane; I’m connected to the earth. … I think people are having to re-evaluate what is strange and not strange,” she continued. “Like 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.’ 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.”
Del Rey says she thinks the last four years were necessary in order for there to be change in this country. “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 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.”
Shortly after posting her album artwork on Instagram on Sunday, Del Rey shot back at haters in a lengthy comment underneath the photo in question. “These are my friends this is my life. We are all a beautiful mix of everything- some more than others which is visible and celebrated in everything I do,” she wrote. “In 11 years working I have always been extremely inclusive without even trying to. 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.”
Del Rey noted in her BBC Radio 1 interview that half of the women featured in her Chemtrails cover are people of color, and she felt “uncomfortable” having them dragged into the controversy. “But I spoke to them as well and they were like, ‘We don’t care. You should not care. … Your friends are from all over the place, and you’ve never represented yourself in any other way.'”
Update (Jan. 13): Following the pushback for her comments about Trump, Del Rey posted a series of tweets on Tuesday (Jan. 12) clarifying that her words were not intended as a defense of Trump, who she called, “so significantly impaired that he may not know what he was doing due to his significant lack of empathy and the wider ranging problem is the issue of sociopathy and narcissism in America.”
The singer also posted an accompanying 95-second video in which she expanded on what she said was the real message she was trying to convey in the interview.
Listen to LDR’s full BBC Radio 1 interview here and see her followup tweets below.