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  • Roisin Hickey

Album Review: Lana Del Rey - 'Norman Fucking Rockwell'

Roisin Hickey explores the sixth studio album and fifth major-label release from the haunting megastar Lana Del Rey, who with co-producer Jack Antanoff, has produced an album of intense beauty to contrast the chaotic climate it finds itself being released in today.


Lana del Ray courteously graces us with her ethereal American Dream-personified songs on her latest album Norman fucking Rockwell. Her lyrics are deeply haunting, erotic and entrancing… what’s not to love about classic Lana? It seems that Lana’s intentions are to make a comment on America in the real world versus the idealised America that we have all envisioned.


The album starts with title track Norman fucking Rockwell. It oozes Hollywood glamour as Del Rey flutters lyrics ‘Goddamn man-child…You fucked me so good that I almost said I love you’. Even from the beginning there is no escaping the twisted hopeless romantic that Lana is. Mariners Apartment Complex is full of melody and expressive lyrics such as ‘you’re lost at sea and I’ll command your boat to me’. It is so easy to overlook the lyrics of songs we listen to and follow the beats and melodies rather than what the artist is trying to illustrate to their audience.


Venice Bitch later follows and seems like a fitting title for Lana as a resident of Venice Beach. It is the longest song on the album with it being just over nine minutes long. The song itself makes you feel as if you are on Venice Beach with notes of psychedelic guitar, crashing waves and chilled lyrics.

‘Lana Del Rey is the epitaph of melancholy, glamour and of course the American dream and its dreamers.’

Fuck It I Love You is another sensual song which arguably acts as a continuation of opening track Norman fucking Rockwell, with the singer declaring her love for this ‘Man-child’ she is entranced by. Doin’ Time has a twisted creepy vibe to it. It moves at a faster pace to the other tracks on the album and takes on a more 1960’s Latin American vibe.


Love Song follows and is poetic in every way possible. If you were to take away the violins and romantic piano, it would be the most romantic love letter. Yet it still carries the chilling lyrics that nobody quite manages to carry off like Lana does. She sings ‘Spill my clothes on the floor of your new car’. Although this seems so passionate and lustful, it is simply the honeymoon stage of the relationship between her and this man-child. Cinnamon Girl follows and is one of many emotive songs on the album. Cinnamon Girl uses juxtapositions of love and sweet things such as cinnamon against the entity of toxic relationships. The song sounds so entrancing until you listen to its haunting lyrics.

How to Disappear is another tribute to one of Lana’s loves on the album and possibly the same love as referred to in all the other songs on the album. Substance abuse is a hot topic with a lot on Lana’s work. How to Disappear highlights how one of her loves goes to drugs to find temporary comfort from reality. She sings ‘I watched the guys getting high as they fight for the things they hold dear to forget the things they fear’ and as such would choose this temporary reality over Lana any day.


The Greatest is one of Lana’s prime examples of how she creates a cinematic mood. It sounds like a song that would feature in a Hollywood film, and it still has lyrics that are speaking for a nation and all its dreamers.

‘Her lyrics are deeply haunting, erotic and entrancing… what’s not to love about classic Lana?’

The penultimate song on the album Happiness Is a Butterfly has quite a philosophical meaning behind the title. It has been said that it is inspired by the American novelist Nathan Hawthorne which is not surprising as Lana herself is a poet. Hathorne had compared happiness to a butterfly by saying that when happiness is pursued it is just that bit beyond our grasp but when we sit back we may be lucky enough for a butterfly or happiness to land on us. The song also makes a reference to a previous song on the album love song. Love Song reflected on the beginnings of love, filled with passion and erotica. Happiness Is a Butterfly however, tells the tale of a relationship that has fallen to pieces.


Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me to Have- but I Have It, is the last song on the album. She refers to the feminist poet Sylvia Plath who wrote about female writers in the 1960’s before her suicide. This seems to tie in extremely well with Lana’s whole essence being a voice for all genders of America.


In conclusion, it is safe to say that Lana del Ray has produced a beautiful and mindful album. It is a combination of 60’s, 70’s and 90’s bliss all entwined into one. It seems that Lana Del Rey is the epitaph of melancholy, glamour and of course the American dream and its dreamers.

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