Love Lessons We Can Learn From ‘Norman F***ing Rockwell!’

With the arrival of the cold weather, one may begin to feel lonely. From there on the itch to find someone and commit to a relationship with them becomes hard to ignore. It is during these moments where one has to decide whether they want to give in and scratch the itch, or pretend it does not exist. Choosing a side can be difficult since one does not know the possible outcomes that can arise from the decision.

Luckily on August 30th, 2019, Lana Del Rey released her sixth studio album Norman F***ing Rockwell! in which she discusses her viewpoints on love and losing it. With the help of the album, one can find the answer to their seasonal dilemma. 

  1. 1. “Norman f***ing Rockwell”

    Starting with the first track of the album, Lana Del Rey describes a relationship where one person is giving all their love and affection to an individual who does not give back the same attention. With lyrics such as, “You’re fun and you’re wild / But you don’t know the half of the s*** that you put me through,” Del Rey warns that even though a person may seem like the perfect partner, they may not be ideal when it comes to emotional support. However, Del Rey also sings, “Why wait for the best when I could have you?” indicating a problematic belief of people believing that their partner is the only one for them, which makes them stay in the unhealthy relationship. The big takeaway is that if someone does not show interest in the other person’s well-being, then it is better to not commit to them.

  2. 2. “Mariners Apartment Complex”

    “Mariners Apartment Complex” is the first single off Norman F***ing Rockwell! and it deals with the role of being the support system in the relationship. Del Rey sings, “You lose your way, just take my hand / You’re lost at sea, then I’ll command your boat to me again / Don’t look too far, right where you are, that’s where I am.” It’s important to be supportive because it allows for an opportunity to provide moral guidance, advice and a chance to help one another reach a goal. Being supportive and looking out for each other is healthy. Having someone to support their partner’s goals is essential in developing a strong relationship.

  3. 3. “Venice B****”

    The second single off the album, “Venice B****”, deals with the theme of nostalgia, specifically of a past relationship. With lyrics such as, “Oh God, miss you on my lips” and “You should come, come over / We’ll be hanging around now,” the narrator wants to relive those memories, which makes going back to their ex tempting. Sometimes getting back together makes the relationship stronger, but it can also result in making the same mistake of being with that person again. Reminiscing about the good times may lead to rash decisions - it’s during these situations where one has to think about why the relationship ended and if it’s okay to go back to them.

  4. 4. “F*** it I love you”

    Having a crush on someone is hard, especially when one does not know how to approach them. As a result, one is left daydreaming about scenarios, creating an escape from the tragic truth of not being with them. “Wish that you would hold me or just say that you were mine / It’s killing me slowly,” and “So many things I would say to you / I want you,” encapsulates the inner dialogue one has when thinking about the person they are fond of. During these moments, one should decide whether they want to take the opportunity in exposing their emotions or to keep it a secret and continue to create their fantasies. If someone gets rejected, chances are that they don’t have to worry about their crush anymore and can invest their time in other things.

  5. 5. “Doin’ Time”

    This track is a cover of Sublime’s 1996 hit, which is also a cover of “Summertime” from the opera Porgy & Bess. A component of the song involves being in a relationship with a person who does not treat their partner kindly. Del Rey sings, “Me and my girl, we got this relationship / I love her so bad, but she treats me like s***”. Just like in “Norman F***ing Rockwell”, the partner is not the best match for them. But in this case, one is aware of how incompatible they are with their partner and so they go on to warn others about them. “Evil, we’ve come to tell you that she’s evil, most definitely / Evil, ornery, scandalous and evil, most definitely.” This becomes a tricky situation because one thinks warning others about this person would save the new partner of the heartbreak. Instead, the warning can be ignored, and the new partner might think they are with their ideal lover. The new partner should make their own decisions. After a breakup, it’s better to keep out of each other’s future relationships.

  6. 6. “Love song”

    “Love song” highlights how comfortable one feels in a relationship. Lyrics such as, “I believe that you see me for who I am,” and, “[I] Would like to think that you would stick around,” showcase how serene and healthy the bond is, which is what positive relationships should feel like. By feeling comfortable, the couple can be honest about what they like and express their thoughts and ideas without the fear of being judged. It should be all right for one to express their unique personality to their partner, even though some may consider concealing their true selves due to being ridiculed by a past lover. Letting go of these insecurities will allow for the connection to grow and strengthen.

  7. 7. “Cinnamon Girl”

    An important element of a healthy relationship is communication. In this track, Lana wants to tell her lover how she wants to be treated but is too afraid to speak up. She sings, “There’s things I wanna say to you, but I’ll just let you live / Like if you hold me without hurting me / You’ll be the first whoever did.” One shouldn’t have to feel as if they’re walking on eggshells whenever they want to express their thoughts because it shows that there’s no trust within the relationship. With no trust, problems can arise, which can result in a breakup. Lana also sings, “You make me mad, on fire again.” Having intense feelings about an individual houses stress and should be avoided to prevent being overwhelmed.

  8. 8. “How to disappear”

    One of the hardest types of relationships to maintain is with those who are struggling with an addiction. In “How to disappear,'' Del Rey talks about being in love with a person suffering from an alcohol addiction. “I watched the guys getting high as they fight / For the things that they hold dear / To forget the things they fear.” In her position, it’s difficult to build a strong connection due to the person choosing their addiction over anything else. They can become distant and can be more concerned with getting their next fix. Even though they may engage with risky behavior, one can stay in the relationship and help motivate their partner to get better. Lyrics such as, “I know he’s in over his head / But I love that man like nobody can,” and, “I’m always going to be right here / No one’s going anywhere,” demonstrate the willingness to help. However, it’s important to note that while you’ll want to help them on the road to recovery, it’s their decision whether or not they want to receive help. Additionally, it is crucial to support them, but when it gets overbearing one should talk with a professional on how to keep them safe.

  9. 9. “California”

    There may be moments where a person isn’t confident about themselves. In this track, Lana sings, “I shouldn’t have done it, but I read it in your letter / You said to a friend that you wish you were doing better / I wanted to reach out, but I never said a thing.” Feelings of not being enough or thoughts about being worthless can negatively affect a relationship since there’s an invisible barrier separating the couple from effectively communicating their thoughts. In “California,” Del Rey wants to be the support system just like in “Mariners Apartment Complex.” Whenever this sadness occurs, one should remind the person how wonderful they are, hyping them up. “You don’t ever have to act cooler than you think you should / You’re brighter than the brightest stars.” Talking to them is a great first step, which allows for a couple to set goals and make sure all parties are content.

  10. 10. “The Next Best American Record”

    Not all relationships have to be serious; being carefree in a newfound romance could be the ideal way to bond with one another. In this track, Lana talks about having fun, singing, “Whatever’s on tonight, I just wanna party with you.” It’s essential to have fun in a relationship so that it doesn’t get boring. Going on new adventures and taking chances can help elevate the relationship and help strengthen the bond between the involved parties. “It’s you, all the roads lead to you / Everything I want and do, all the things that I say / It’s true, all the roads lead to you / Like the 405 I drive through / Every night and every day / I see you for who you really are.” By using a laid-back approach in a new romance, one doesn’t have to dwell on their past relationships or worry about being a burden to their partner. Starting a new relationship should be stress-free and fun.

  11. 11. “The greatest”

    Unfortunately, not all relationships last long. There comes a time when two people are not the right fit for each other, and the only solution is for them to break up. This conclusion is hard to make because of change. A change in headspace and routine can alter a person’s environment, and it takes some time to get used to it. Some people who break up would rather stay with their partner because they have a desire to go back to how things used to be since it’s what they know. “And I’m wasted / Don’t leave, I just need a wake-up call / I’m facing the greatest / The greatest loss of them all.” People avoid breakups due to many factors: fear of being alone, fear of not finding a lover, and uncertainty of the future. Additionally, time and emotions were invested into the relationship, creating memories to look back to. No one can accurately predict when a couple will end their relationship. Therefore, one can’t prepare themselves for the heartbreak. Just as Lana says, “We didn’t know that we had it all / But nobody warns you before the fall.”

  12. 12. “Bartender”

    In “Bartender,” Del Rey sings about being with someone but keeping their relationship hidden from peers. To shield the romance, she sings, “I bought me a truck in the middle of the night / It’ll buy me a year if I play my cards right.” Meeting up with a person in secret is challenging, especially when wanting to hide it from others because one becomes worried that they’ll get caught, adding stress to the new couple. In some cases, people don’t tell others that they’re in a relationship because they might fear judgment from their close friends. It’s not that they are embarrassed by who they’re with, but the type of relationship that it is. For instance, it might be a friends-with-benefits type of situation and they are ashamed of explaining that to their friends. In the end, the relationship might not last that long if the partner is being kept hidden. It’s better to let the friend group know so that the relationship won’t be affected as well.

  13. 13. “Happiness is a butterfly”

    Sometimes, fights occur in relationships and they usually happen due to miscommunication by both parties. Just like in “Cinnamon Girl”, effectively talking with your partner is important in avoiding fights to not end up breaking hearts. Lyrics like, “Do you want me or do you not? / I heard one thing, now I’m hearing another,” showcase how not communicating can lead to extreme assumptions. If a couple isn’t on the right page with each other, they may choose to walk away from the problem and not be on speaking terms, which further complicates the situation. By not bonding with each other, it creates a false idea that the other person is being selfish, focusing more time on other things instead of checking up on their partner. At this point a dispute can occur from the smallest actions, like forgetting to do the dishes or not taking out the trash (assuming the couple lives together). Communication is very important, and without it, the relationship isn’t going to work itself out.

  14. 14. “hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have - but I have it”

    The most important relationship of them all is the relationship with oneself. Self-love can sometimes be overlooked because one is occupied with different tasks and the feeling of being pressured by time clouds the mind. By ignoring one’s connection with themselves, negative thoughts start to rain down on one’s mental health. By setting apart time to treat oneself, a person can develop their thoughts and evaluate what they want to accomplish in life, bringing new ideas and solutions to existing problems. Just like Lana sings, “Hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have / But I have it.”

Hopefully, Lana Del Rey’s album Norman F***ing Rockwell! provided insight on what to expect in a relationship. When thinking about all the elements that go into building a strong connection with a partner, one begins to realize the obstacles they may face. The next time you’re thinking about engaging in a new romance with someone, play the album again and think about whether or not you’re making the right choice. If it doesn’t work out, just relax because there’ll be more opportunities in the future.