Jessie Antonick fronts the New Orleans "cosmic folk" band Pony Hunt.

Courtesy of Pony Huny

Rigid gender norms suck. Pony Hunt's cosmic doo-wop rules.

Today, the New Orleans indie folk outfit shares a new track called "Stardust" — premiering below — which finds bandleader Jessie Antonick turning her own gender journey into something tender and heartfelt and uplifting.

"I'm a sunset ocean haze / sinking into the floor," Antonick coos in the song, a wide-eyed, doo-wop-tinged folk number. "As I lose my mind again / it rides through an open door / singing stories of a girl / who dream speaks 'I am a boy.'" The final refrain is especially affirming: "Rise from the water as you are," Antonick sings, her voice swelling as she repeats the line.

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TV Features

Netflix Adds a Little Haitian Voodoo to "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch"

It's a major step towards including Black spiritualism in TV storylines.

As far as Netflix original series go, The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina The Teenage Witch is a well-curated playlist of supernatural entities, occult practices, and teenage angst.

The third season delivered all the demonic drama we've been waiting for. Viewers reconnected with Sabrina, who is somewhere between being the Queen of Hell and just a "normal" teenage witch in Greendale. In Hell, Sabrina must defeat Caliban, who (if you didn't have to read The Tempest in high school) is the son of the witch Sycorax. Back in Greendale, the witches, mortals, and summoned hedge witches come together to fight a war with the pagans.

In episode one, we find Prudence (Tati Gabrielle) and Ambrose (Chance Perdomo) being led on a wild goose chase around the world as they look for Faustus Blackwell. Their latest chase brings them to New Orleans, where Ambrose begins to give up hope, but Prudence realizes there is witchcraft in the world that their former high priest does not know of.

The Introduction of Voodoo Priestess Mambo Marie

To search for Faustus in a more efficient manner, the pair make their way to a shop owned by a mysterious yet enticing Voodoo priestess. We meet a Black woman who introduces herself as, "Mambo Michele Marie Le Fleur, Priestess of High Haiti, Daughter of the Tiano people, faithful to Guinee" and informs the witch and warlock that she "don't do none of this watered-down New Orleans Voodoo Hoodoo bullsh*t." It's inferred that Mambo Marie is a descendant of the famous Voodoo queen of New Orleans Marie Laveau, though the show has yet to confirm this theory. When Ambrose and Prudence tell Marie their dilemma, she guides the duo through the recipe of a locator spell by working with blood magic.

2 Diyah Pera/Netflix

This scene, while small (and overlooked in many recaps of the season) is a major step in the right direction towards including Black spiritualism in TV story lines. Mambo Marie (Skye P. Marshall) is the first introduction to Voodoo in the series, prompted by Prudence's (another Black woman's) intrigue and interest in a new spiritual practice. A later scene shows Ambrose and Prudence performing the blood magic ceremony over a map of the world, subsequently leading them to the location of Father Blackwell. Mambo Marie states that the ritual requires something belonging to the person they're searching for, and they end up using Prudence's blood. Altogether, the scene evoked the origins of Voodoo.

Voodoo, also Vodou, was brought to French Louisiana in 1719 by captive West Africans through their various ethnic groups from (what is now recognized as) the Republic of Benin, east of Nigeria. These groups (Bambara, Mandinga, Wolof, Ewe, Fulbe, Fon, Yoruba, Chamba, Congo, Ibo, Ado, Hausa and Shango) continued their spiritual practices and ancestral worship through the use of herbs, their native tongue, song and dance, charms, spells, amulets and more. Each group is recognized as having an integral part of the growth of Voodoo as a faith, combining elements and knowledge through the generations.

It is heavily documented that the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) was powered by allegedly possessed slaves guided by the Yoruba orisha (or god) of war, blood, and iron, Ogun, during a Voodoo ritual in Bois Caïman. This ritual is famously known as the Bois Caïman Ceremony and is historically the reason Haitians were victorious against the French in this war.

Mambo Marie's Contribution to the Coven

The Voodoo priestess makes a return appearance in episode 5 after being presumably summoned by Zelda Spellman in an open call for all hedge witches (or witches not belonging to a coven) to help in the war against the pagans. Episode 6 opens with a sister circles of witches from diverse backgrounds, including the Icelandic cannibalistic Christmas witch, Gryla; the Norwegian witch of disease and plague, Pesta; and Sycorax, an evil witch from the city now known as Algiers.

Out of anger and confusion, Pesta attempts to attack Zelda for summoning them, only to be stopped by Mambo Marie, who reminds them all, "We do not need to fight each other, that is what men do. But we are women, n'est-ce pas (isn't that so)? Witch women. We can do more than fight, can we not?"

Later in the episode she introduces the girls of the coven, formerly known as The Church of Night (later named The Order of Hecate), to a traditional Haitian Voodoo dance of protection. This unknown ceremony being performed within the Academy is not initially welcomed by Zelda Spelman. After a private conversation with Marie, Zelda realizes that she's nonthreatening and a potentially beneficial presence in the church (in more ways than one).

With powerful performances in just a handful of scenes, Mambo Marie has solidified herself as a recurring character in the show, not only as the love interest of Zelda's but as a solid representation of Louisiana Voodoo (Sorry AHS: Coven) that fans are ready to see.

CULTURE

Broadway Will Never Be the Same After Hadestown

Anaïs Mitchell and Rachel Chavkin have created a revolutionary work of art.

Near the end of the first act of Hadestown, the stage goes completely dark, save for an array of huge lamps swinging from hooks somewhere in the rafters.

They swirl around Orpheus (Reeve Carney), lighting his descent into hell. With each rotation, they narrowly avoid his body, instead spinning to the rhythm of the electrifying beautiful song that he's singing, called "Wait for Me"—a song which we later find out made a crack in the wall, a crack that opens up a passage into the blinding lights of Hades' industrial lair.

"Wait for Me" from the Broadway Production of Hadestown www.youtube.com

As the show's narrator, a version of the god Hermes, describes the treacherous journey to the underworld over an exhilarating backdrop of violins and drums, the set begins to change. Wooden walls open up and roll back to reveal the framework of Hadestown itself, consisting of pipes and blinding lights that throw the stage into stark relief.

It's one of the most spine-chilling and seamless transitions in modern musical theatre history, so magnetic and moving in fact, that the audience cheered for around a full minute after the set change was complete. It's also one of many meticulously orchestrated moments in Broadway's most innovative show. That's Hadestown for you, though. The show is equal parts technical precision and raw emotion, winding mythology and searing social commentary into a kaleidoscopic carnival.

Hadestown is the project of singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell, who began writing it over a decade ago. She first performed the show on a bus in Vermont, touring around schools and using the songs to teach kids about the myths of Hades, Persephone, Orpheus, and Eurydice.

Anaïs Mitchell. Image via Broadway Direct

Sometimes, even in a theater in the heart of Times Square, you can almost feel the remnants of the songs' beginnings on that bus—a closeness to the land, the rhythm of wheels turning on uneven terrain, the emptiness that defines so much of the American landscape. That closeness to the earth, and the show's intimate connection to real struggles faced by everyday people, are unexpected on a stage that usually celebrates glitz and glamor and in a show about ancient Greek myths.

Hadestown winds together two old tragedies: the stories of Hades and Persephone, and Orpheus and Eurydice. In the first myth, Hades steals Persephone away while she's playing in a field. Due to the protestations of her mother, the earth goddess Demeter, Hades agrees to let Persephone return to earth for six months out of the year—and so summer was born.

In the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, Orpheus follows his lover down to Hades after her death. After enchanting Hades with his music, the god of death agrees to let them go—if Orpheus can make it home without looking back to see if Eurydice is following.

Mitchell's reinterpretation, enhanced by brilliant directing from Rachel Chavkin, transfers these myths to a modern-day setting, painting Hades' underworld as a walled factory-wasteland filled with dead-eyed workers forever constructing a wall, "punching in and punching in and punching in" for all of eternity.

Eurydice, played by the extraordinary Eva Noblezada, is a jaded runaway who falls for Orpheus after he makes a red flower bloom with his music. Their love is strong in the summer, when Persephone is back "living it up on top" and food is abundant, but by winter Eurydice grows frustrated by hunger and Orpheus's disconnect from reality, and finally agrees to go work in Hadestown in exchange for what is essentially eternal job security. Naturally, Orpheus—directed by the silver-clad god Hermes, who serves as his guardian as well as the show's narrator—follows her into the underworld.

Image via Broadway Direct

Hermes and the three fates, who float gracefully around the stage and sing in heart-stopping harmony, are instrumental to the show's rhythms, pumping real magic into the music. When Orpheus sings his epics, his voice is stark at first against the sound of just his electric guitar, but soon harmonies seem to grow up from the shadows themselves, followed by a haze of warm piano, ghostly violins, and a virtuosic trombonist. "[Orpheus] could make you see how the world could be, instead of how it is," repeats Hermes throughout the show, and when you hear the music rise to its full heights, it's hard not to share in that vision.

Hadestown, on the whole, doesn't shy away from showing you how the world is—but it also shows you how it could be, painting that world with its soft lighting and bittersweet poetry. Ultimately, it's an example of the transcendent works of art that human beings are capable of creating, using ancient stories and melodies to tap into the universal stories that connect us all and hint at the existence of much larger, even divine forces.

Despite its grandiose foundations, Hadestown is so game-changing because of how relevant it is to modern life, and how intimately it explores the deepest human experiences we share. Essentially, it's a show about working, about greed and struggle, about love in the midst of hunger and poverty; and perhaps most of all, it's a critique of capitalism. It's a damnation of the American ethos of greed and unchecked consumption that lift up the super-wealthy while leaving the poor in the dust, an ethos that has generated the wastefulness that created the modern environmental crisis. This is what makes the show so radical, radical enough that it may be the start of a pronounced change on Broadway and in musical theatre on the whole.

That's not to say that Hadestown doesn't also offer an escape. On the contrary, the whole production is so captivating that you hardly know where to look and at times may forget how to breathe. But it also reaches beyond the cloistered walls of New York's bubble of liberalism, beyond Broadway and Hollywood's tendency to worship the glamorous and the gilded, instead of approaching the reality we're all actually living in—of course, through the lens of Mitchell's finely wrought poetry and virtuosic compositions.

That reality becomes apparent when, just after Orpheus enters Hades, the god of death leads his workers in a song called "Why We Build the Wall." It's impossible not to think of Donald Trump when the chorus rings out, "Why do we build the wall?" croons Hades, and the crowd of faceless workers chants, "The wall keeps out the enemy / and the enemy is poverty / and we build the wall to keep us free." Mitchell actually wrote the song way back in 2006, but it's a stunning protest anthem for right now, one that laments the evil hypocrisy of a capitalist society that hoards wealth, exploits its own workers, and rejects its weakest citizens who cannot keep up with its relentless pressures. With every day brings another revelation about the state of the US-Mexico border—from the removal of protections for asylees seeking protection from domestic violence to the family separations and children's deaths at the hands of ICE—the song feels like a searing indictment of this border wall and all of the American exceptionalism and greed that it symbolizes.

Hadestown: Why We Build The Wall #NoWalls www.youtube.com

In spite of this, "Why We Build the Wall" and Hadestown, on the whole, are not located in any specific time period or place, and the show never expresses an us-against-them sentiment. Instead, it humanizes even Hades. "The heart of a king loves everything like the hammer loves the nail," Orpheus sings, as part of his plea to Hades. "But the heart of a man is a simple one, small and soft, flesh and blood...What has become of the heart of that man? Now that the man is king? Now that he has everything?"

So Hadestown is not an overt damnation of Trump. It is, however, a rousing call to protest even in the face of seemingly indomitable evil. "If it's true what they say, then I'll be on my way," sings Orpheus, considering the futility of his task. "But the ones who deal the cards / Are the ones who take the tricks / With their hands over their hearts / While we play the game they fix." His hope inspires other factory workers to look up from their machinery, and eventually wins him and Eurydice passage out of Hadestown. It is a doomed passage, of course, as Hermes tells us from the beginning, the inevitable ending of a very old story that has always ended in tragedy.

13 - If It's True (Anaïs Mitchell - Hadestown) www.youtube.com

At its heart, Hadestown asks why human beings keep singing, creating, and falling in love despite knowing that it all might be useless in the end. It asks why we bother to speak out when individual protests and art seem so futile, and when forces like capitalism and climate change seem too vast and overwhelming to comprehend, let alone fight. "Cause here's the thing," Hermes says at the very end of the show, just before launching back into the opening number. "To know how it ends, and still to begin to sing it again, as if it might turn out different this time…"

Ultimately, Hadestown doesn't promise that if we just hope a little harder, everything will be fixed. But it does, in Mitchell's words, raise a glass to the ones who try.


Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York. Follow her on Twitter @edenarielmusic.


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New Releases

Popdust Exclusive: Young & Sick Talks New EP "Size of Relief"

The Dutch artist and musician's newest release is buoyant dance music inspired by nighttime bike rides.

You might recognize some of the art created by Nick van Hofwegen, aka Young & Sick. It's adorned the covers of Foster the People's Torches and Mikky Ekko's Kids, among many other albums.

You might also recognize his music—and if you don't, you very well may be hearing him everywhere soon. His newest EP, out May 3, is a collection of dance music that's as atmospheric and complex. With its crystalline production, pumped-up rhythms, and dreamy loops of synths and keys, it's tailor-made for clubs, bike rides, or for any time you need a pick-me-up or an excuse to take off and drive. Ultimately, it's the product of a mind that's clearly enamored with its own ability to distill color and sound into shapes and tunes.

The music has a buoyancy to it, a clarity that belies meticulous attention to detail but still meshes well with its sense of electric intensity and free-spirited energy. Standout tracks include "JET BLACK HEART," a track that—despite its brooding lyrics—feels like the sonic equivalent of making it to the top of a mountain after a long trek; the thrilling, bittersweet "IT'S A STORM," and "SIZE OF RELIEF," which layers van Hofwegen's angelic, slightly overdriven vocals over an arrangement of reverb-drenched horns, cool synths, delicate strings, and tense rhythms.

Popdust talked to Young & Sick about the relationship between visual art and music, inspirations for his upcoming EP, and the importance of listening to albums all the way through.

Can you tell me a little bit about your upcoming EP, and the inspiration behind it?

YOUNG & SICK: This collection of work was made right before I went on tour with the Knox. In the back of my mind, while knowing I was gonna be on tour with them, I got really in the mood to make something more uptempo and uplifting, so that drove me to be faster in BPMs than I usually am. I'd also been making a lot of remixes for people, so it tied in with that, too. I took European dance roots and made something more sample-heavy and dancey.

At the time, I was also living in the valley in Los Angeles, and when I was making all the songs I was going on long bike rides in the evening. The songs I'd listen to while riding also shaped what I was creating—it was more dance music, so it made me shift towards that.

Are there any other inspirations, sonically or in terms of place, that you feel influenced your new work?

This EP is very largely inspired by the emotion of the city passing by on the bike. A lot of my inspiration—especially with this record—is drawn from sampling; I'd find a nice little piece of music that I'd chop up, and it would guide me to the next spot.

Have you always been into dance music? Did you grow up going out and dancing?

Growing up in the Netherlands, dance music was always pretty prevalent. I grew up a rock kid. Nirvana was my first love. There was always a lot of dance music around me, though, and when acts like the Chemical Brothers came out and started merging rock music with dance, a lot of people like me got very into that. Dance music has always been around me, and I've always had a big love for it, but it hasn't necessarily always come out in my music before.

YOUNG & SICK - BITTER END www.youtube.com

I know you do a lot of art as well, and it's pretty unique to see someone doing such high-quality work in two fields at once. Which did you start out with—art or music—and how do you see those two fields relating to each other?

That's really kind. I've always done both, as long as I can remember. I've been drawing as long as I've been playing guitar. I always say I feel like they come from the same place, and anyone's brain that can do one can do the other—it's multidisciplinary. They feed off each other so well. If I get stuck in either, I just switch up and keep going. I don't think there was one before the other; it was a chicken-and-egg kind of thing.

Your art and music seem to fit so well together. Do you have any sort of synesthesia? Do you see music in colors, or see them related in that kind of way?

I do think they tie into each other incredibly. I know people have full-on synesthetic things where they actually see color in sound—I don't have that to the full degree, but if I do artwork for my music or others' I tend to listen to it while creating the artwork, to really shape them around each other. I do see a very strong connection between them. When a band or artist gets that connection right, it makes me very happy—when someone's just getting it when the music and art live in the same world, it's such a gratifying feeling.

Did you feel pressure to choose between them? Was there a moment when you decided you weren't going to pick one of the two fields?

I wouldn't say I was pressured to ever choose. There were early moments where I was thinking, I want to use this name for both fields, for doing art for other people and for myself and also for making music, and there were definitely moments where people were kind of wary of that. But I never had to choose, luckily.

Your music and art are very psychedelic. Is that something you're interested in and do you explore spirituality in any way, or where does that imagery come from?

My work draws from 70's psychedelia, and obvious bands like the Grateful Dead that I've always looked up to, in terms of their art and how well they made an insane brand for themselves. I'm a big proponent of that type of art, going that far in detail and tying everything together that well. I'm not necessarily a very spiritual person but I do tend to like the occasional psychedelic… I definitely draw inspiration from that.

What's happening next with your music?

I'm working hard on a follow-up. A lot of musicians like me, as soon as you finish something, it's kind of out of your system. I'm working to follow it up with something different, but in a similar line.

What's the inspiration behind your band name?

My manager used to throw a lot of parties in New Orleans when he was going to Tulane University. He'd ask me, do you know a good name for a party? I'd come up with one and make a flyer, and he'd start passing them out. One day I saw those two words [young and sick] together, sitting next to each other, and I made a poster for him with that name, and he said that was one of his favorite parties. I had that poster up in my bedroom in London when I was living there, and I was looking at it and thought, I kind of need that name. I started putting out songs and making art with it, and it kind of stuck. It's a simple, striking name—you just have to tell someone once and they remember.

Are you going on tour soon?

There's going to be a few shows—LA and New York and some festivals—and I'm doing a bunch of DJ sets as well. We're figuring out what the next tour is because we just came off of one.

You do a lot more than visual art and songwriting. What other fields do you work in?

Remixing is something I've been very fond of lately. Obviously, the art for festivals and other people and that kind of thing has been amazing. Fine art and making things, in general, is definitely a big passion. With music and art, there are so many little nuances within each field.

Are you particularly excited about any of the songs on the upcoming EP?

Every time you make a release, there are a lot of songs that don't end up on it—usually I make about triple the amount, and we send them to the people we work with at the label and they come up with their favorite lists, which were pretty close to what I had in mind for this one. Sometimes it's hard to pick between the songs because you made all of them, so it works well when somebody on the outside picks one and it aligns with your choices. My favorite songs all ended up on this EP. The song that's about to come out, which will close the EP, is called "SIZE OF RELIEF," which is also the name of the EP. I wrote it in New Orleans in such a short time—maybe a two-hour window of making the first loops and all the vocals—and it just felt so right. I just had to change a few things, and detailing and mixing took a lot more time—but initially, it just took a few hours, and when that happens, I just feel so good. That one is definitely one of my favorites.

Anything else you want people to know?

I know it's hard for a lot of people these days to take in more than a few songs at once, but I'd encourage people to take off 20 or 25 minutes and listen to the EP in full.

It seems like kind of a lost art to go through and listen to a full album, but it's super rewarding when you do.

That's kind of how it was meant to be heard. If anyone's able to do that, that'd make me happy.

Young & Sick's debut album was released in 2014. "Size of Relief" is now available on streaming services. Listen here.


Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York. Follow her on Twitter @edenarielmusic.


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MUSIC

A Brand-New Song, and All the Snippets Lana Del Rey Has Released from "Norman F**king Rockwell"

Fans are calling this the "messiest" Lana era ever. But it also could be the best, judging by the quality of the music. Here's everything we know.

In January 2019, Lana Del Rey told the world that her sixth album, Norman F**king Rockwell, was complete.

Since then, she's teased dozens of songs and visual clips—but the album's release date remains elusive, infuriating legions of devoted fans.

It's unclear whether the album is still undergoing a prolonged period of revision, if she's decided to scrap the whole thing, or if it's all beyond her control, though it's always hard to know with Del Rey, who has never been one to follow rules. Still, she's certainly given fans a fair amount of teasers to hold them over in the interim. Here's a timeline of every quote, whispered clip, and blurry visual we have so far.

In January 2018, in an interview with Pitchfork, Lana mentioned that one of her newest songs was called "Bartender," and described it as "super weird."

Then on February 25, Del Rey uploaded a video that featured her hanging out with Jack Antonoff, prompting later-confirmed suspicion that they were working together on a new project.

Lana Del Rey hanging out in the studio with Jack Antonoff www.youtube.com

On February 28, Del Rey visited the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, where she began writing a song called "Starry Eyed" on ukulele, which she promised to finish and dedicate to the foundation; it's also unclear whether this song will be on the album.

Live in Seacrest Studios with Lana Del Rey www.youtube.com

On March 5, 2018, Del Rey first teased the lyrics of a song called "Happiness is a Butterfly," a lullaby-like sigh of a track that has continued to reappear throughout Norman Fucking Rockwell's forked pathway to release. On March 30, she released a snippet of the song on Instagram, which she later removed and then un-archived.

On June 12, MTV released a list of upcoming albums, which featured an obviously false March 29 release date for Norman Fucking Rockwell.

A few months later, Del Rey teased and then premiered the psychedelic, Leonard-Cohen-quoting "Mariner's Apartment Complex," which was released on September 12.

Lana Del Rey singing Mariners Apartment Complex acapella www.youtube.com


Lana Del Rey - Mariners Apartment Complex www.youtube.com

Then on September 18, she released the equally trippy, luxurious "Venice Bitch" on an interview with Zane Lowe for Beats 1. [links] Regarding the song's length, Del Rey said, "I played it for my managers and I was like, 'Yeah, I think this is the single I want to put out.' And they were like, 'It's 10 minutes long. Are you kidding me? It's called 'Venice Bitch.' Like, Why do you do this to us? Can you make a three-minute normal pop song?' I was like, 'Well, end of summer, some people just wanna drive around for 10 minutes [and] get lost in some electric guitar.'"

Lana Del Rey - Venice Bitch www.youtube.com

In the same Zane Lowe interview, Del Rey also said, "Working with Jack [Antonoff], I was in a little bit of a lighter mood because he was so funny. So the title track is called 'Norman Fucking Rockwell' and it's kind of about this guy who is such a genius artist but he thinks he's the shit and he knows it and he, like, won't shut up talking about it… I just like the title track so much that I was like, 'OK, I definitely want the record to also be called that."

Several music sites later reported that these singles were "fan singles" and would not be on the actual album, though Del Rey has not confirmed this speculation.

Then on October 4, Del Rey posted an extended video of "How to Disappear," which she later deleted and subsequently unarchived.

Lana Del Rey - How to Disappear (Snippet) (Instagram Video) www.youtube.com

On October 12, Del Rey posted a clip of her singing a song called "Cinnamon" on Instagram, which she later deleted and then reposted as well.

In response, a fan Instagram account posted a 2017 quote from an interview with Pitchfork where Lana stated, "I had some people in my life that made me a worse person. I was not sure if I could step out of that box of familiarity, which was having a lot of people around me who had a lot of problems and feeling like that was home base. Because it's all I know. I spent my whole life reasoning with crazy people. I felt like everyone deserved a chance, but they don't. Sometimes you just have to step away without saying anything."

Del Rey commented on the post, "the quote [from Pitchfork] is a perfect quote to go along with cinnamon [sic]. Some people don't deserve a chance."

On October 30, Del Rey performed "How to Disappear" and "Venice Bitch" at an Apple special event in Brooklyn, a show that was widely praised by fans including CEO Tim Cook.

Lana Del Rey - How to Disappear and Venice Bitch Live at Apple Event 2018 www.youtube.com

She also released the full audio for "How to Disappear."

Lana Del Rey - How To Disappear (Official Audio) www.youtube.com

On December 5, she officially announced the album's title at Jack Antonoff's concert for the Ally Foundation and performed two country songs which she announced would not be on the new album.

Lana Del Rey - Hey Blue Baby [Live at Ally Coalition Talent Show] www.youtube.com


Lana Del Rey and Jack Antonoff - Ally Coalition Talent Show “I Must Be Stupid For Feeling So Happy" www.youtube.com

On January 1, 2019, Del Rey posted a video of her singing along to a song called "In Your Car," featuring the lyrics "In your car / I'm a star / and I'm burning through you."

Lana Del Rey teases new song "In Your Car" on her Instagram (Snippet) www.youtube.com

The next day, she posted the audio for her song "Hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have — but I have it."

Lana Del Rey - hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have - but i have it www.youtube.com

Producer Jack Antonoff tweeted his support, advising fans to "listen at night alone."

Then on January 11, 2019, she released an extended clip of a video for "Happiness is a Butterfly," which used the same visuals she had previously released alongside teasers for "Mariner's Apartment Complex" and "Venice Bitch." The video, relatively dreary and mellow compared to Del Rey's earlier work, featured Ashley Rodriguez and Alexandria Kaye and was directed by Lana Del Rey's sister Chuck Grant.

On March 23, 2019, Del Rey performed "Mariner's Apartment Complex" live for the first time in New Orleans, taking to an onstage swing and thanking the audience for "indulging [her] little folk sensibility" in the process.

Lana Del Rey @ Buku 2019 (Mariners Apartment Complex, Video Games, High by the Beach) www.youtube.com

Most recently, on April 3, 2019, Del Rey posted a snippet of a song that fans have named "You Don't Ever Have To." Some fans speculated that it's a part of "In Your Car," but this remains unknown.

In the midst of it all, she also released a Gucci ad with Jared Leto and has been teasing a book of her poetry, periodically releasing haikus and typewritten pages and even putting out a call for indie bookstores who might want to sell it. When asked about the price, Del Rey said that the book will cost $1, because "my words are priceless."

It's anyone's guess as to when Norman F**king Rockwell will drop, but Del Rey has always been adept at draping all of her work in auras of mystery. She's a master of contrasts, always throwing critics for a loop by combining kitsch and rawness, strength and vulnerability, apathy and passion. She's also always been great at making us wonder about the extent to which her appearance and art have been meticulously manufactured.

Maybe she's leaving a paper trail of sorts that resembles her own fractured consciousness. Maybe she's painting our schizophrenic reality, one defined by upheaval and exponential technological innovation. Or maybe she's just a free spirit whose artistic vision "gets messy" when it comes in contact with reality, as a friend once said.

Regardless, judging by the quality of the fragments that we do have, when the album finally does appear, it'll have been worth the wait.


Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York City. Find her on Twitter @edenarielmusic.


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Sports

Drew Brees Breaks NFL's All-time Passing Record

The New Orleans Saints quarterback ended Monday night with a career total of 72,103 passing yards.

Scott Clause / CBS Sports

Drew Brees is solidifying his place as one of the NFL's best.

The New Orleans Saints quarterback broke the NFL's all-time passing record on Monday night with a 62-yard touchdown pass to Tre'Quan Smith, surpassing the previous records of Peyton Manning and Brett Favre and ending the night with a career total of 72,103 passing yards.

While the record-breaking pass was a beauty to watch, it was the quiet but frenetic celebration Brees shared with his family that became the night's best instant replay.

"You can accomplish anything in life you're willing to work for," a visibly emotional Brees told his three sons between embraces.

"That's honestly what I whisper in their ears every night before they go to bed," Brees explained on Today Wednesday morning. "I want them to approach life with a great sense of gratitude, humility, and respect for others."

His reaction in the moment was no surprise to fans that have followed his career, as Brees has come to be known for his philanthropic endeavors almost as much as his passing accuracy. In 2010, Sports Illustrated named Brees Sportsman of the Year, calling him "the heart of New Orleans" and praising him not just for leading the Saints to that year's Super Bowl win, but also for his dedication to rebuilding the city so devastated by Hurricane Katrina. On top of this, the Brees Dream Foundation, co-founded with his wife Brittany, has raised over $25,000,000 for cancer research and community-building initiatives since 2003.

Given his reputation as possibly the nicest player in the NFL, it's no surprise that athletes and celebrities took the celebration online to share their congratulations on Twitter.

Though the overall reaction was generally positive, some felt that the NFL's official recognition of the record left something to be desired.

Despite the milestone, Brees isn't slowing down. “There are still goals to be accomplished. There are still challenges to be met," he said in a post-game press conference. In fact, he's hardly slowing down to celebrate. He quickly regained focus after a brief delay in Monday's game, giving a hasty hug to Sean Payton before adding, “Let's go win this game, alright?"

As for future accomplishments, Brees won't have to wait much longer; with 499 career touchdown passes, Brees is only one touchdown shy from joining NFL legends Manning, Favre, and Tom Brady in the "500 Club."


Rebecca Linde is a writer and cultural critic in NYC. She tweets about pop culture and television @rklinde.


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