Doja Cat’s ‘Scarlet’ Has Arrived, Ending a Bizarre Album Rollout

2023 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals - Credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic
2023 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals - Credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Doja Cat, aka She of the Many Spiders, has sadly let the sun to set on one of the quirkiest album rollouts in recent memory — even by Doja standards — with the release of Scarlet, her fourth LP. The 15-track album, which includes the singles “Attention,” “Paint the Town Red,” “Demons,” and “Balut,” is out now.

But what a web she wove to get to this point.

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In May, she started tweeting things like “scarlet was here” and “scarlet’s watching” and “let myself heal, scar finally sealed.” She topped that in June with some blood-splattered artwork and introduced “Attention” with video of her saying, “Look at me, look at me. You looking?” And all this was after she said she was changing her name to Emcee Flapchunks the 3rd, which still kind of has a nice ring to it. She also said at the time she had a new song called “Wet Vagina,” which unlike the Flapchunks name, turned out not to be a joke, and that the new album would be “rock/spoken word” and titled Moist Holes (a joke!).

“I’ve been messing around with name ideas for the album and have like 8 of them that I’m deciding between,” she told Rolling Stone that month. “I’ll be announcing the real title soon. I’ve been reconnecting with the music that I was raised listening to; Erykah Badu, John Coltrane, Nineties hip hop…the music that influenced me as a kid. I think my new music will bring some of that inspiration forward.”

Then she released “Attention” and announced her first-ever arena trek, the Scarlet Tour with Ice spice and Doechii opening. Normal enough, right? Well, Doja waited a month to return with “Paint the Town Red,” a track she previewed with her painting a canvas bloody, and officially rolled out with a surrealistic video.

Doja formally announced Scarlet, her first new record since 2021’s Planet Her, at the end of the month, and that’s when things started getting really surreal. The album art featured a pink spider designed by an artist known as Dusty Ray. Around that time, internet sleuths noticed the same spider on the cover art for an album by a German hardcore band called Chaver. Neither Doja, Dusty, or Chaver commented on why the two records had the exact same spider — and Doja deleted her album announcement. When she posted new art, it was … two spiders, also illustrated by Dusty Ray. Once again, the announcement came with little fanfare and was quickly followed with the video for “Demons,” which featured Christina Ricci.

She began to close out her long Scarlet preamble with “Balut” and a medley of “Attention,” “Paint the Town Red,” and “Demons” on the MTV VMAs. Doja debuted the record with fans at Spotify’s “The Scarlet Experience” in Los Angeles, California on Thursday, marking the occasion with a painting created live with the words “Not Afraid.” The night also saw the video release for “Agora Hills,” a dream-like visual pumped with Nineties aesthetics.

Thus ends the ballad until a few years from now when Doja releases another new album… hopefully with even more spiders.

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