Lana's Latest Doesn't Disappoint: "Norman F-cking Rockwell" Review

With 15 dazzling tracks, Lana Del Rey’s fifth album Norman F-cking Rockwell has taken the music industry by storm. As per usual, Lana created a window into a different world with her beautiful voice and powerful lyrics. Her ballads revist themes from previous records—exhaustion from American culture (particularly in California), paparazzi, passionate relationships with dangerous men and the struggles of being a very beautiful yet very troubled woman. 

In May Lana released her bouncy Sublime cover “Doin Time,” which quickly became fans’ summer anthem and teased of what was to come. Lana kept pretty quiet about the album, announcing it only a month before its release. Now that it has arrived, it is a must-listen for this fall season. 

Lana has always been a proud west coast woman. In songs like “West Coast” and “High by the Beach” we see the side of Lana that lives to soak in the sun. On this record, however, Lana radiates feelings of lassitude. In the song “F**k it, I Love You,” she sings “I moved to California / but it’s just a state of mind / [T]urns out everywhere you go, you take yourself, that not a lie.”  

 DAZED

Lana Del Rey is used to being in the public eye. As a star she deals with paparazzi and fans constantly invading her personal space, wanting to know what she is doing, where she is doing it and who she is doing it with. Much like the songs “13 Beaches” from Lust for Life and “F-cked My Way up to the Top”  from Ultraviolence, Lana uses powerful lyrics to address the wreckage caused by fame. In “Hope is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me to Have—but I Have it” she sings, “Maybe I would be less stressed if I was tested less like all of these debutantes.” Similarly, in the song “Bartender” she sings of buying a truck late at night in hopes for “[P]hoto free exits from babies bedside,” confessing that she’s just “trying to keep my love alive.”

From “Million Dollar Man” to “Ultraviolence” Lana Del Rey’s “love” songs have haunted fans hearts. She sings of dating older men, being the other woman, and even violence in relationships. As expected, Norman F-cking Rockwell has served up a new batch of these heart achingly beauitful lullabies. “Cinnamon Girl” lyrics will echo in the brains of anyone who’s ever been hurt as Lana sings “There’s things I want to say to you / [B]ut I’ll just let you live / [L]ike if you hold me without hurting me / [Y]ou'll be the first who ever did.” 

Lana often shows her more vulnerable side in her love songs but in “Mariners Apartment Complex,” she reveals her power. She sings “You lose your way, just take my hand / [Y]ou’re lost at sea and I’ll command your boat to me again.”

 PressIt’s never been a secret that this beloved artist struggles with sadness. In past albums, she has opened up about topics such as depression, loneliness and the struggle to feel content. Sometimes it seems like Lana Del Rey is romanticizing these topics, making sad synonymous with beauty. There is validity in these concerns, but her openness arguably does more good than bad. Major Depressive Disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44.3. When Lana uses her platform to express her emotions it keeps the conversation of mental health alive and proves that people experience real struggles with mental health. In her song “Hope is a Dangerous thing for a woman to Have—but I have it” she sings “Don’t ask if I’m happy / [Y]ou know that I’m not but at best I can say I’m not sad / [C]ause hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have.” She also sings of fighting to find happiness, metaphorically comparing happiness to a butterfly in the song “Happiness is a Butterfly.” Despite her quest for happiness, Lana describes, she can never seem to catch it; it escapes into moonlight.

Lana Del Rey seldom disappoints fans and Norman F-cking Rockwell is no exception. Moody, passionate, thought-provoking lyrics come together with soft beats and the occasional electric guitar to make her fifth album one for the books.

Now, we just wait for tour dates.