Made famous for her song “Born to Die” and then for “Summertime Sadness,” Lana del Rey has been a household name for almost eight years. Whether you love her music or hate it, Del Rey has carved out a name for herself in the music industry, making her voice distinctly recognizable.
Del Rey has produced six major studio albums. Her newest creation was released in August 2019. Titled “Norman F***ing Rockwell!,” the album features 14 songs, each one unique in both their length and content. In preparation for the album debut, Del Rey released a few songs early, such as “Venice B**ch,” which clocks in at a whopping six minutes, and “Mariner’s Apartment Complex,” a romantic song with a slow and gentle beat.
As is the case with most of Del Rey’s music, this album has nostalgic and soothing vibes. From the title song “Norman f***ing Rockwell,” to “Happiness is a Butterfly,” Del Rey crafts a lovely, dreamy beat with lyrics that sound equal parts romantic and sad.
Some of her earlier work has often been criticized for being insincere. Several critics accuse Del Rey of crafting a persona who often relates to things that have nothing to do with her actual life. One such critic was Ann Powers, a writer for NPR who calls Del Rey’s persona, “a bad girl to whom bad things are done.”
This album, however, seems to follow “Lust for Life” thematically and musically, and seems like it is more true to who she actually is. The album seems to go beyond the persona that Del Rey has crafted, and instead tries to broach new subjects.
Del Rey seems to have taken a different route from albums like “Born to Die” and “Ultraviolence,” actually giving listeners a peek into her inner life. The songs on “Norman F***ing Rockwell” seem more introspective and genuine, and seem to reveal aspects of her actual life and experiences.
The album features songs like “Cinnamon Girl” and “Love Song,” which are romantic and catchy with sentimental lyrics that get stuck in your head for days. Aside from romantic and sentimental songs, Del Rey also delves into past romance to make comments on the current political climate and the complexity of living in today’s society.
In “Norman F****ing Rockwell,” Del Rey comments on the patriarchy of society, which is a big departure from her old Gatsby-esque, patriotic style. She is no longer praising the good ‘ole days of America, but is instead trying to show how we can’t necessarily live that kind of life anymore, saying in “Mariner’s Apartment Complex,” “When everyone’s talking, you can make a stand.”
“Norman F***ing Rockwell!” is Del Rey’s attempt at adding her voice to the chorus, carving a place for herself in the changing world that we live in. The album is thoughtful, sentimental and romantic, but also seems to delve deeper than much of her previous music, allowing us to understand her in a way that we haven’t been able to before.
Del Ray decided to take a risk with “Norman F***ing Rockwell,” and it paid off. So far the album has been a pretty big success, and hopefully Del Rey will continue showing more of this new side of her music.