*sniff sniff* Why, hello there, dearest tear-stained Filthy Dreams readers! What’s that? Oh, I’m just sobbing as I can feel that chill in the summer air, and you know what that means…no, not our World Famous Pumpkin Punch, though that would make any stable person weep (Secret: it’s the sheer amount of cinnamon, nutmeg, and an eyebrow-searing pour of gin). It’s because with that cool breeze, it’s out with the summer (an especially Hot Girl Summer this year) and in with Sad Girl Autumn. So start gathering Kleenex now, practice looking pretty when you cry, and make some tragic rainbow-teared paintings like Lana Del Rey:
Lana, our Patron Saint of Driving Fast, Cherries and Sad Girls, is primarily responsible for this Sad Girl Autumn by blessing us with her new album Norman Fucking Rockwell yesterday–the Friday before Labor Day. No, last beach fun here! It’s time to close your eyes, sway, and twirl while considering about the dissolution of America and the beautiful disaster you can become in its wake. Drive around aimlessly to “Venice Bitch” and think about getting high now because we’re older. Obsess about buying a truck in the middle of the night to find your “Bartender.” This, of course, doesn’t mean we have no hope. I mean, hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have, but I have it.
In Lana’s honor (and just wait for more Norman Fucking Rockwell rabid obsessing here on Filthy Dreams), I’ve gathered together five videos to inspire your entry into Sad Girl Autumn. Your family wants to have one final barbecue before the summer ends? Other than playing “boar on the floor,” why not gaze into the middle-distance and quote Laura Palmer?! I’m just a turkey in the corn! Friends want to go out to the beach for one last hurrah? Arrive dressed like a Sicilian widow and stare miserably into the waves! When someone asks you what the hell is going on with your morbid and morose attitude, simply burst into tears! Let everyone know that you’re fucking crazy, but you’re free.
1. Lana Del Rey “Fuck It I Love You/The Greatest”
Could this list start out with anyone but our queen we don’t deserve–Lana Del Rey? Of course not! Lana graced us last week with a double video for her two songs “Fuck It I Love You” and “The Greatest” from Norman Fucking Rockwell. Sadly, there’s no poetic interludes like my favorite Lana video “Ride,” most of which I can recite from memory to horrified onlookers. However, this twosome does give us some depressing dive bar realness, campy vintage California surf nostalgia, choked-up singing, and Lust/Wrath patches on denim shorts. Rather than being a lounge singer to biker daddies, Lana, in this rendition of her fantasy, is a broken-down blues singer to drunks, lushes, and alcoholics in a bar that I desperately want to haunt. Just look at the jukebox: Bowie, Leonard Cohen, and even Ritchie Valens! I want to play “Now You’re Gone” over and over and over until I get kicked out. But looking at the weathered patrons in this bar, that’s unlikely to happen. Speaking of getting drunk, is there any more of an advertisement for getting loaded on nasty well liquor before spinning around some dangerous, hard-hat-required industrial site than this video? I’m ready to go! Just watch out for the cranes.
2. Blood Orange “Benzo”
While not a Sad Girl per se, Blood Orange has captured a certain gorgeous melancholy in their work ever since 2011’s Coastal Grooves, particularly with the song “Champagne Coast” that seems to gesture to some impossible queer utopian elsewhere. Take me there, Dev!. Blood Orange’s new release “Angel’s Pulse” is more a mixtape than an album, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less genius. In particular, the video for the song “Benzo” is lushly decadent with rich fabrics, cotton candy-colored wigs, and bright swatches of makeup and rhinestones. It’s quintessentially camp, grounded in camp’s Versailles origins, though much less blindingly white than Louis XV’s court or the Met’s Camp: Notes on Fashion exhibition for that matter. Though drenched in glamour, there is a certain sadness that resides in this sumptuousness too. Or maybe that’s just the downers talking.
3. Sky Ferreira “Night Time, My Time”
Was Twin Peaks’s Laura Palmer the original Sad Girl? Probably not. But I’m attributing it to her nonetheless. I mean, Laura is the one. Sky Ferreira’s “Night Time, My Time” takes quotes straight from mouth of the coke-addled doomed homecoming queen from the now-reassessed film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, including her assertion to her hanger-on friend Donna (Chug-a-lug Donna!) that “Night time is my time” and a vivid description of falling faster and faster through space. Sky transforms this Lynchian fanaticism into a dark and moody song worthy of Laura’s precarious existence, a jarring juxtaposition with some of the cheerier, poppier songs on Sky’s record like “Boys” (And if it ever comes out, Sky’s next record will further cement her place in the Roadhouse if the song “Downhill Lullaby” is any indication). The video sees Sky in her best Laura Palmer drag, all dark circles and hopelessness, roaming outside motel rooms, writhing on beds in costumes worthy of One-Eyed Jacks, and walking in front of car headlights in a ratty fur coat. I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to Laura and her secrets.
4. Chromatics “I Want To Be Alone”
Related to Twin Peaks and the Roadhouse, I saw Chromatics play in Brooklyn earlier this summer (long before Sad Girl Autumn) and their deliciously apathetic stage presence was only topped by eerily mesmerizing videos that ran alongside their performance, which consisted mainly of Chromatics’ lead singer Ruth Radelet staring intimidatingly wide-eyed into the camera. Occasionally she’d dreamily put her hands in front of her eyes and remove them. It was like being hypnotized by someone who also blatantly didn’t care if you were conscious or not. I’ll do whatever you tell me to do, Ruth!! In addition to giant eyes, the videos also included countdown clocks, spinning classical busts and other maddeningly inexplicable yet romantic imagery. If you missed the show, the band’s new video “I Want To Be Alone” combines much of this imagery with crushingly depressing lyrics about, you guessed it, wanting to be alone. And they’re not kidding as they repeat that line again and again, and with this desired alienation comes references to graves, mourning, and silent rain. A perfect party anthem!
5. Billie Eilish “when the party’s over”
As if Euphoria wasn’t enough to tell you the kids in Generation Z aren’t alright, Billie Eilish‘s rapid rise to fame should do it too. And this isn’t a slight. Unlike many cranky millennials, I love her and her tendency to whisper/sing, her spookiness, and her chain-draped, giant baggy clothes aesthetic, even though she’s literally half my age. Much of Billie’s music could be added to the Sad Girl Autumn list, including her sleep paralysis nightmare “bury a friend.” But, “when the party’s over” seems to be the most affecting and pertinent with her layers upon layers of vocals–not to mention the video, which features Billie guzzling some shady-looking black liquid (don’t do it, Billie!) only to have black tears stream down her face like the alien in The X-Files. Hey, even inky tears can be tears of joy!