Lana Del Rey has been reflecting on the vastly changing social dynamic which has been imposed on people due to the coronavirus pandemic.
While most people around the world has faced some degree of lockdown since the prominent spread of the virus earlier this year, numerous restrictions remain in place to protect the lives of the vulnerable as the spread of COVID-19 continues to linger in the form a second deadly wave.
For Del Rey, a feverish creative who lives life on the stage performing to her adoring fans, she is one of many to see her work life also substantially altered amid the health crisis. With album delays a common sight within the music industry, touring dates have been shelved and the introduction of ‘socially distanced gigs’ are failing to capture the interest worldwide, the singer-songwriter has been discussing how life has changed.
Speaking as part of a new feature in Interview Magazine alongside her closest collaborator Jack Antonoff, Del Rey talks of the overwhelming sense “existential panic” that has engulfed her daily routine. “I’ll say: ‘Today was a bad day and it’s because of you, and I don’t even know you anymore.’ I don’t necessarily think there’s much value in doing that — it’s just what’s true. I don’t ever feel bad for saying to someone: ‘I’m having a panic attack because of what you’ve done.’ That’s black-belt life, like 3.0,” she said.
Adding: “What’s insane is that the pandemic has brought up all of these mental health crises and domestic crises that were always there, that I always sang about, that people had so much to say about in terms of: ‘She’s just feigning emotional fragility’. And it’s like: ‘Well, not really. You’re feigning emotional togetherness despite the fact that you’re a wack-job Monday through Friday.’”
The candid conversation, which also included comments on her impending new album, touched on the topic of mental health and, more specifically, how Del Rey has been dealing with panic attacks during the pandemic, explaining that the people in her inner circle “know the ins and outs of why I sometimes catch sheer panic out”.
The serious nature of the talk prompted Antonoff to ask Del Rey is she feels like she’s “doing okay because you’re sort of always in touch with some sort of underbelly”. Reflecting on the question, the singer replied “I don’t feel like I’m doing okay. I just know now that I was always right.”
While millions of people have been affected by the pandemic in differing ways, Del Rey said that she “subscribes to the idea that what’s going on in the macrocosm, whether it be in the presidency or a virus that keeps us isolated, is a reflection of what’s going on in the individual home and inside bedrooms and what people intimately talk about”.
“I think there’s been existential panic for a long time, but people haven’t been paying attention to it because they’ve been too busy buying shoes. And shoes are cute. I love shoes,” she said. “But now that you can’t go shopping, you have to look at your partner and be like: ‘I’ve lived with you for 20 years, but do I even know you?’ You realise maybe you’ve only ever allowed yourself to scratch the surface of yourself because if you went any deeper, you might have a mild meltdown for no reason, just out of the blue, and no amount of talking could explain why.
“It’s just a part of your genetic makeup. You could just be prone to panic. I think a lot of people are that way,” she added. “I got a lot of shit for not only talking about it, but talking about lots of other things for a super long time. I don’t feel justified in it, because I’m not the kind of artist who’s ever going to get justified. I will die an underdog and that’s cool with me.
“But I was right to ask: ‘Why are we here? Where did we come from? What are we doing? What happens if this insane, crazy, sci-fi crisis happens, and then you’re stuck with yourself, and you’re stuck with your partner who doesn’t pay attention to you?’ I’m not saying it’s more relevant than ever, but my concern for myself, the country, the world — I knew we weren’t prepared for something like this, mentally.
Del Rey concluded: “I also think it’s a really good thing that we’ve gotten to this point where we have to bump up against ourselves, because it’s not going to be the same when the Beverly Center reopens.”