This was the year that everything was supposed to be better.
No more Donald J. Trump stinking up the White House with Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s takeout, and Count Jared Kushner. No more thinking about Melania Trump laying pipe in the presidential bathroom, grunting and straining while grimly muttering “Be best, Slovenian Sphinx, be best”.
The year 2021 was supposed to mark the end of COVID-19, the return of travel and happy hours on the shores of Cabo, and the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney Word.
Instead, we’ve got organic-foodies in Viking Hats and B-grade metal musicians pillaging the U.S. Capital. Diaper Donald still unclear on the reality that he lost the election. And Eric Trump still refusing to close his mouth when breathing, sleeping, swimming, or sitting downwind from Rudy Giuliani.
Meanwhile, up here in the more boring half of North America, lockdown has become a way of life that looks like it won’t be ending any time soon. Which is to say "God help us all with Family Day on the horizon".
On one level, we’ve been wondering if it’s too soon to say “Fuck 2021, man.” But on another, maybe we’re going at this all wrong.
Instead of looking forward and hoping for better times, maybe we need to be flashing back to when the world was a more magical place.
When three-Sidecar lunches we’re considered part of a balanced diet, especially when accompanied by a half-pack of Lucky Strikes and a two-pound blue-rare steak. When Jay Gatsby threw the kind of gin-soaked parties that made you eternally grateful to be a blue-blood born in West Egg. And when Duke Ellington was popular music’s most relentlessly elegant badass.
Those ’20s were inarguably more wonderful than these ones, which so far have been about as enjoyable as eating a bowl of sand salted with week-old cat turds.
And no one knows that better than Lana Del Rey, who continues to forge one of the most fascinating careers in music by looking back while somehow being brilliantly forward-looking.
Why bring up pop’s most enchanting chanteuse now?
After releasing one of the decade’s most timeless records in 2019—Norman Fucking Rockwell!, in case you’ve somehow forgot—Ms. Lizzy Grant is promising an official follow-up this summer.
You want an album title almost as great as Norman Fucking Rockwell!? How about Chemtrails Over the Country Club, which somehow speaks volumes about the unending shitshow that is life in the modern world.
As a taster Del Ray has sent a video for the title track out in into the world. Gloriously colour-saturated, the five-and-a-half minute clip initially throws back to more glamourous times. Times when women never left the house without their white pearls and blood-red lipstick. When swimming-pool-sized cars were downright opulent—all endless miles of chrome and sparkling whitewall tires. And when gloves were a fashion statement, not something you wore so you didn’t pick up the Spanish Flu at the Stork Club.
But pay attention and you’ll notice how Del Rey makes it crystal clear she knows what year it is by breaking out a facemask. And then get ready for the storm that indicates that, yes indeed, this year is ugly and scary to the core. Which shouldn't stop you from hoping for something beautiful down the road.