Fashion Notes: The Anti-Lockdown Vibes of Lana Del Rey’s Latest Album

Lana Del Rey/YouTube

Lana Del Rey’s latest album, Chemtrails Over the Country Club, is perhaps the first post-pandemic reflection of life in organized, often coercive, isolationism and the longing for escape.

As is frequently the case with Lana, there are subtle hints and notes to her work’s aesthetics and lyrics — a sort of glimpse into her thoughts. What does she really believe? Who is she actually dating, and thus, singing about? Is she really living this glamorously destructive life? Is she woke?

Over the last year, following her Grammy-nominated Norman Fucking Rockwell!, the lockdowners and neolibs have tried desperately to sink Lana’s career with claims of racism, being anti-women, not having enough nonwhite friends, and even for briefly dating a cop! Each time, she’s given a subliminal middle finger.

For Chemtrails, Lana seems to take on a specific kind of hater: The lockdowners.

There are more than a handful of instances where we see Lana challenging the lockdown lifestyle that has eliminated the wonder of upper-middle-class eccentricities, forced small businesses to close, weaponized the establishment media against the citizenry, and become a virtue signal of those least impacted by the last year.

This isn’t far-fetched. Entertainment Weekly noted Lana’s “yearning for freedom.”

Waitressing Dreams

In the music video for the album’s first track, titled “White Dress,” a rollerblade girl cruises down an open highway, drifting off back and forth through each lane.

Flashes of open land and the sunrise are sporadic throughout and later, Lana is seen serving diner food to her friends at a little food stand with a giant open sign. At one point, a pirate flag is seen waving in the wind, imagery that’s become synonymous with rebellion.

In another scene, the rollerblader does an interpretive dance in front of a closed, abandoned gas station off the highway.

The video is paired with the track’s lyrics that are primarily tied to Lana’s time as a 19-year-old waitress when she was a nobody. Interestingly enough, Lana fantasizes about her past waitress work, the job hardest hit by lockdown states:

Sun stare, don’t care with my head in my hands 

Thinking of a simpler time

When I was a waitress wearing a white dress

Look how I do this, look how I got this

In the track’s first chorus, Lana remarks fondly about attending a large gathering in Orlando, Florida — arguably the most open state in the nation — with an old crush:

Down at the Men in Music Business Conference Down in Orlando,

I was only nineteen

Down at the Men in Music Business Conference

I only mention it ’cause it was such a scene

The nostalgia always runs deep with Lana. But the difference this time is that she’s nostalgic for a time she did, in fact, experience rather than eras that predate her. And those times she’s thinking about aren’t all that significant, except when you’re being asked to lock yourself up for more than a year.

Chemtrails Conspiracies and Useless Masks 

The title track of the album is trippy hippy dippy and quintessential Lana. Filled with emotions, talk of God (at the most inappropriate time — while chillin’ at the local country club), a suggestion of chemtrail conspiracies, old America iconography, and making household chores sound desirable.

At the track’s opening, Lana notes that she’s “on the run” and later “I’m not unhinged or unhappy, I’m just wild” while piling on her jewelry to go grocery shopping and the swimming pool.

The music video brings all the acid-tripping to life where Lana is literally “drag racing my little red sports car,” as she states, dressed up in pearls — almost cartoonishly overdone — as a woman of suburbia would heading to the country club.

About a minute into the video, Lana decides to bring back the Swarovski crystal mesh face mask that the lockdowners came after her over back in November 2020. Two months after that attempt at canceling her, she released the video and sported the mask.

(Screenshot via Lana Del Rey/YouTube)

Getting Out of Lockdown

Whereas in Norman Fucking Rockwell! Lana sings of her newfound carefree attitude in California, harking back to Joni Mitchells’ Ladies of the Canyon, she takes a right turn for the small towns and open regions of the midwest in Chemtrails.

In “Tulsa Jesus Freak,” she drags on about road-tripping to the Great Plains and the West South Central states. For Lana, it’s the freedom and the simplicity:

We should go back to Arkansas

Trade this body for that can of Gin

Like a little piece of heaven

No more candle in the wind

Most significantly, Lana is no longer singing “we should go back to New York” as she did in 2014’s Ultraviolence. That lyrical repetition and theme of time and place in Lana’s work are when she sometimes reveals the most.

Lana does it again in “Dance Til We Die” where she almost explicitly refuses to stop living her life despite the lockdowners. Like with the last track mentioned, Lana goes off on a bridge, torching the closed cities she’s leaving for the wide open spaces:

I went down to Woodside

I left Berkley, out of city, out of mind

Killin’ it, talkin’ shit

Joan said she was gonna quit

Tearin’ it up at the Afro-Caribbean two-step

I left San Francisco,

I’ve been coverin’ Joni

And I’m dancin’ with Joan

It’s kinda hard to find love

When you’re used to rolling like a rolling stone

“Wild at Heart,” maybe the album’s greatest track, and “Dark But Just a Game” Lana belts about her lack of wanting fame, or more, wanting a return to normalcy:

I left Calabasas, escaped all the ashes, ran into the dark

And it made me wild, wild, wild at heart

The cameras have flashes, they cause the car crashes

But I’m not a star

We keep changing all the time

The best ones lost their minds

So I’m not gonna change

I’ll stay the same

No rose left on the vines

Don’t even want what’s mine

Much less the fame

It’s dark, but just a game

Getting out of the city that brought America the Kardashians and running free is all she wants in the midst of travel restrictions.

Can you even be free as a famous person? You can try, but they’ll try to cancel you. And when they’re not canceling you, they’re asking you to stay indoors for just a little longer.

Wild West as a Way of Life

Lana’s albums are described as “eras” where her looks change and her mood board visions are emulated in her DIY music videos.

Undoubtedly, Chemtrails takes on a Wild West aesthetic. is it any wonder? The antithesis of lockdowns is the period in American history when the lawless ruled and the ruled were lawless.

In most of the promotional shoots for Chemtrails, Lana seemingly breaks California’s state orders urging people not to gather in large groups with folks from three or more households. The album’s cover, for instance, captures Lana excitingly smiling amidst her girlfriends in pilgrim-style ensembles.

It’s like Lana and her friends are the new settlers on a lockdown’d land. Rulebreakers and pirates amongst controlled bots spouting Center for Disease Control orders.

In other photos, Lana is on a quasi-trailer park ranch with her friends and siblings. One particular photo is set to a sepia filter as if it were taken at one of those tourist attractions in Tennessee where you get your picture taken as a saloon gangster.

Even in the album’s alternate cover, when Lana is photographed alone, she stands amidst an open field in a white dress, a reference to “White Dress” which sets the mood for the rest of Chemtrails.

“While the whole world is crazy, we’re getting high in the parking lot,” Lana sings. Maybe this was the answer all along to the last year?

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at Follow him on Twitter here


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