“Old Town Road”? I haven’t heard that name in weeks. Nowadays, the safest thing to do is to not have been up off your porch. Better to just gaze out the window and pine for better times. That’s where Lil Nas X’s fellow queer country king Orville Peck comes in. On his 2019 album, Pony, Peck’s songs were all about lone rangers, lost ramblers, and ex-lovers, wistfully singing about human contact like a distant memory. It now makes for a relatable, melancholy quarantine listen. Peck’s new single, “Summertime,” is another romantic variation on the theme: Peck misses the summertime, he misses “you and I,” and something inside him is dying.
The music video is like a one-man Western Midsommar, right down to a May Queen outfit reveal. There’s more than a little Annihilation to it, also, but in a pretty way. We’re all mourning a springtime, and probably a summertime, that we won’t get to enjoy this year, and all of the open spaces and warm-weather romances that would have gone along with it. Heck, Peck was supposed to be the special guest at Harry Styles’s two-night Madison Square Garden Harryween bash on October 30 and 31; now, even that seems like wishful thinking. All we can do is bide our time. Now we just need Peck to teach us how to make those excellent fringed leather face masks while we wait. Public safety, but make it fashion.