Lana Del Rey’s Newest Album Norman F-cking rockwell is Everything We’ve been Waiting for
Lana Del Rey is one of my idols. She is one of my top three favorite artists. I love almost every song she blesses this world with. I think the’s an amazing writer and an incredible singer. Her voice is soothing and her words are woven together like a warm, colorful quilt. This time of year actually reminds me a lot of Lana Del Rey. It’s the time of the year when I started becoming obsessed with her seven years ago. Back then, I was in high school, and I had just discovered Lana’s Born to Die album. It ended up becoming a soundtrack for the events in my life that were occurring over the next few months that year. (You can read about my obsession with Lana Del Rey here). That is why I am so thankful Lana released Norman fucking Rockwell about a week ago.
Listening to Norman fucking Rockwell has really brought me back. It reminds me why I love Lana so much. I’ve been waiting for this album to come out for a while now. In fact, I’ve been waiting almost an entire year for this album. Lana first teased us with hopes for her new album back in September 2018 when she released “Mariners Apartment Complex.” And then, she teased us again when she released “Venice Bitch” only a few days after. One thing she didn’t release, although, was the release date for the full album. She then released “Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me to Have – but I Have It” in January 2019, and a cover of Sublime’s “Doin’ Time” in May 2019. I t wasn’t until late July when Lana finally unveiled the release date for NFR to be on August 30th, 2019.
From only hearing the first singles off of the album, I knew NFR was going to be a beautiful, hypnotic album. Last Friday, I made it my mission to listen to the entire album as soon as possible. And, I was right – Norman fucking Rockwell is a masterpiece.
While I prefer some albums over others, I’ve never been disappointed with any album Lana has created. What I really love about Lana is that she is true to herself. In each album, you can tell she is evolving – the production of the songs, the lyrics, her vocals, and even her experiences. Lana isn’t the same person she was when she released Born to Die in 2012, – I mean, none of us are the same people we were in 2012 – but there are still elements from those songs that a weaved into the Lana songs we know and love today.
There are a lot of elements from Lana’s older music that can be found in the songs from Norman fucking Rockwell. This album feels a lot rawer than, say, Born to Die or Lust for Life. The songs on this album remind me of some of the demos from her pre-BTD days that I used to find on YouTube and listen to for hours because I needed more Lana than what iTunes had to offer.
It also reminds me of almost every slow and/or sad song on her previous albums like “Flipside” from Ultraviolence. Those songs have a similar style as her demos like “Pawn Shop Blues.” I really feel like a lot of this album is inspired by the music used to make before she was the “Lana Del Rey” she is today. I think that the style she used to make in her demo music is the true sound she’s always wanted. Before she’s snuck in one or two songs into her previous albums like “Pretty When I Cry” that are similar to her demo songs, but this is the first album that mostly sounds like the style from some of her demos. I think this album is Lana’s way of finally making the music she was always born to make.
I noticed that this album sounds very raw. A lot of the vocals are backed by piano and other more organic sounds. While this album is very raw, it also has cinematic elements to it. The songs from BTD were very cinematic. The instrumentals had what sounded like tons of sound effects that really gave the music alternative feel and symphonies of strings. The songs on this album don’t sound as over the top as the songs on BTD, but there are subtle touches of sound effects in many of the songs on this album. “Cinnamon Girl” is the perfect example of this. In the last minute or so of the song, you can hear a symphony of strings as well a few sound effects that take us back to our LDR BTD roots.
“Cinnamon Girl” is actually one of my favorite songs on the album. I really like how the song starts off soft with Lana’s vocals surrounded by the piano, but there are also small hints of sound effects. The sound effects pick up towards the chorus, making the song even more intoxicating. In the chorus, Lana sings a series of “ahs.” The way she sings it completely engulfs the listener’s ear. It sounds beautifully hypnotizing. I really like the lyrics “But if you hold me without hurting me, you’ll be the first whoever did.” Those lines sound very vulnerable, but also hopeful.
Another one of my favorite songs off this album is “Love Song.” It’s such a beautiful song. In a way, it kind of reminds me of “Video Games.” In both songs, the verses have a slightly sad and longing feeling to them, but the chorus is filled with contentment. The chorus tries to convey the exhilarating, yet often debilitating feelings of love. My favorite lyrics from this song are “Oh, be my once in a lifetime, lying on your chest in my party dress. I’m a fucking mess, but I…” We all have that great love that no matter what we do or how bad we’re hurting, the person will always be there to help us through it. This person is our once in a lifetime that we would be dumb to let out of our lives.
I really also like “Venice Bitch.” This is an almost-10-minute song with a music video like a home movie from the 70s. I listened to this song when it came out almost a year ago, and I was instantly intrigued by the lyrics. Lana is an extremely talented lyricist, and she shows it in this song. Almost all nine minutes are filled with rich, creative lines. In particular, I really love the lyrics “Give me Hallmark. One dream, one life, one lover. Paint me happy and blue.” It plays on the American Dream and the need to have someone to love for a lifetime. This song has a mesmerizing vibe to it, especially in last five minutes of the song when it’s mostly instrumental with occasional lyrics.
Overall, Lana’s Norman fucking Rockwell is a winner. It’s everything we’ve waited for in an LDR album. I can’t wait to continue binge-listening to this album for the next month or two. I do have one final thought before I close out this post – since Marina (originally Marina and the Diamonds) are so close, when are we going to get a Marina and Lana collab?? That would be absolute heave.
What’s your favorite song from NFR, my Dolls?
You know what else this time of the year reminds me of? Back to school! Read my last post “How to Have Confidence for the First Day of School.”