By Marisa Valentino
Del Rey’s style of music has been described as grunge, indie, dream-pop and so on. Although it can be difficult to assign a specific genre to her songs, they are easily identifiable. Gloomy melodies and poetic lyrics are distinctive and present in almost everything Del Rey does.
This rings true with White Dress, the first of eleven tracks on Chemtrails Over the Country Club. Delicate piano melodies start the song followed by Del Rey singing in a whispered tone. The first line of the chorus is “When I was a waitress wearing a white dress.” Referencing her possibly fictional past, Del Rey introduces themes of nostalgia. Continuing these song she sings, “Look how I do this, look how I got this.” Del Rey seems proud of her waitressing abilities. The chorus ends with the lyric, “I only mention it ’cause it was such a scene/ And I felt seen.” It’s hard to tell if “scene” is used as a positive or negative descriptor. Is she comparing this memory to a movie clip or a chaotic event? Leading to another question; is she fond of being seen?
The music video for White Dress offers no answer to these questions. In fact it provides almost no context for the song. The only similarities between the lyrics and the video are that Del Rey is wearing a white dress and around 3:57 waitresses are seen serving food. A majority of the video is Del Rey roller skating down a road in what appears to be the desert. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a cool scene. I just don’t understand how it relates to the song.
It’s worth noting that the album cover for Chemtrails Over The Country Club caused quite a bit of controversy. The cover is a black and white photo of Del Rey and friends dressed in 1920s-esque clothes sitting around a gingham patterned table. In an instagram post she described the photo as “extremely inclusive” because some of those in the cover photo are women of color. She went on to say some of her best friends are and boyfriends have been rappers. Many commenters criticized her for insinuating all rappers are POC.
In another recent heated social media post, Del Rey announced an upcoming album. “I will continue to challenge those thoughts on my next record on June 1 titled Rock Candy Sweet,” was Del Rey’s response, issued via her Instagram story, to a Harper’s Bazaar article that criticized her for cultural appropriation.