The cover you never knew you needed: Trixie Mattel tackles Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games”
When you talk about something coming out of left field, there’s really a range of unexpectedness at play; there’s “Beyoncé’s surprise album drop” left field, there’s “I had no idea my husband was cheating on me” left field… and then there’s “Trixie Mattel covers a Lana Del Rey song” left field. An unlikely collision of musicians that seems so impossible, so wrong… and so, so right.
It has no right to work, but it absolutely does.
Wielding her trusty autoharp and serving us lewks with her face painted to the gods as usual, Mattel comes out of left field all the way from Wisconsin to put her signature spin on Del Rey’s iconic first hit. If you’re anything like me, you probably can’t even imagine what that would sound like. Does Trixie Mattel still work when slowed down and filtered through an empty bottle of Xanax? Luckily we might never need to find out, as Mattel’s spin on “Video Games” drops the heavy-handed solemnity for something a little… lighter. The song, which originally sounded like a dreary and yearning ode to loving dudes who like cheap beer, is transformed into a hypnotic midtempo country ballad that’s equal parts sexy, sad and fun.
Maybe that just makes it 100% on-brand—After all, Mattel is no stranger to melancholy material—but Lana Del Rey’s specific brand of melancholy, crafted for hipster himbos and “bad girls” who date fuckbois, feels like a far cry from the corn-fed, down-home bluegrass of Mattel’s three EPs. On the other hand, Mattel has a keen eye for the levity in melancholy and heartbreak, and paired with her recent duet with Lavender Country on “Stranger,” this latest cover just feels like the logical next step in her ever-evolving journey as a drag queen who knows a thing or two about high art. We are, after all, talking about a skinny legend whose Christmas EP contains a certified bop called “All I Want for Christmas is Nudes,” a cover of Mariah Carey’s classic Christmas hit “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” They’re basically the same person.
We have no choice but to stan.
Stream “Video Games” on Spotify or watch it on YouTube above.