Americana Melancholy: Lana Del Rey Makes Us Sway Yet Again

American singer-songwriter, poetess and model Lana Del Rey released her latest album on August 30. Her sixth studio album, titled Norman F*ing Rockwell!, is chock-full of nostalgia, carelessness, self-abandonment and the glamorous struggle that comes with being famous. That being said, Lana is a fantastic songwriter and is able to incorporate retro elements into her songs, along with references to songs from her previous albums. The title of the album itself is a glance to the past by referencing the American author and artist Norman Rockwell. This is how our glamorous queen Lana modernizes the past as no other has done.

  1. 1. "Venice Bitch"

    "Venice Bitch" is the second single from Lana’s latest album. Remember that sorrowful, careless behavior that would take over you while listening to "Ride" from Lana’s Born to Die: Paradise Edition album? That need to climb on a motorcycle and move to California to find the perfect wave? This song will make you feel that again with its psychedelic vibe and soft guitar melodies.

    A noticeable reference in the song can be found in the post-chorus, in which Lana sings “nothing gold can stay." This is a reference to Robert Frost’s poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay," which was published in October of 1923. Another reference can be found in the second verse, in which Lana refers to the album's single: "Paint me happy in blue, Norman Rockwell."

    "My baby, crimson and clover," Lana sings in the fourth verse of the song. "Crimson and Clover" is a psychedelic rock song by the American band Tommy James and the Shondells, released in 1968.

  2. 2. "Doin’ Time"

    This song is, in fact, a cover of American ska band Sublime’s "Doin’ Time." Sublime’s song is also a reference to "Summertime" from George Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bees. In the chorus, two people are mentioned: Ras MG and Bradley. Marshall Goodman (Ras MG) is Sublime’s former drummer, while Bradley Nowell is the lead vocalist and guitarist for the band.

    In technicality, Lana’s rendition of "Doin’ Time" isn’t much different from Sublime’s version, but Lana’s morose style added facets to the song that Sublime’s summery ska beats couldn’t achieve.

    "Summertime and the living’s easy," Lana said, so it must be true.

  3. 3. "The Greatest"

    In the first verse, one can find Lana's first reference: "I miss the bar where the Beach Boys would go. Dennis’ last stop before Kokomo." California-based band Beach Boys lost their drummer Dennis Wilson, who drowned to his death in 1983. Six years later, the band released their song "Kokomo." Later on, during the outro of her song, Lana begins to recite common events such as the missile alert in Hawaii in 2018, the fires in Los Angeles and makes a nod at "Life on Mars" by David Bowie by declaring that it isn’t "just a song."

    This song rings nearly prophetic.

  4. 4. "Hope is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me To Have—But I Have It"

    "Hope is a Dangerous Things for a Woman Like Me To Have—But I Have It" is the last song listed on the album, but it is the golden bow that ties the entire package together. The first reference is about Slim Aarons, who was renowned for his photographs of socialites and celebrities in their full glamour. The second reference is about the feminist poet and novelist Sylvia Plath, who suffered from chronic depression and died in 1963. The song shines a light on the stress that comes with being famous and constantly placed under the magnifying glass of society.

Lana Del Rey is the embodiment of the whiskey-in-a-teacup archetype: feminine yet strong and intimidating to most. With her raw talent and living poetry, Lana has released yet another beautifully haunting, sensual and melancholic album. Time to dust off our flower crowns, wing our eyeliners, blast Norman F*ing Rockwell! through the speakers and lounge dramatically in our cars as we wait in the drive-thru of our favorite coffee shop for our pumpkin spice lattes.

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5