Albums of 2019: Norman Fucking Rockwell! // Lana Del Rey

 Albums of 2019: Norman Fucking Rockwell! // Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey has always had a sort of other-worldly ability to capture a specific moment in time, and then write an album about it. But whilst previous releases have relied on nostalgia for the Hollywood glam of days past, Norman Fucking Rockwell! is firmly rooted in the late summer, almost-dystopia of 2019, and the inescapable political climate of our times.

From genius album-opening line “Goddam man-child, you fucked me so good I almost said I love you” to the biting “Kanye West is blonde and gone” on ‘The Greatest’, Del Rey has mastered the art of poetic social commentary on her sixth studio album, rejecting the sad-core Hollywood pastiche that has all-too-often plagued her discography in favour of something far more honest and raw.

So often reliant on just a piano in this latest venture, Del Rey’s soft vocals and adept lyricism call to mind the 70s folk rock of Joni Mitchell and Cat Stevens. On stand-out single ‘Mariners Apartment Complex’, she asserts her dominance in a relationship (where she has often played the classic debutante), seductively telling her partner, “I’m your man”, whilst she later croons with heart-breaking vulnerability, “If you hold me without hurting me, you’ll be the first who ever did” on album highlight ‘Cinnamon Girl’. She even manages to manipulate Sublime’s 90s trip-hop hit ‘Doin’ Time’ to fit both sonically and lyrically with the rest of the album, in an excellent cover perfect for that summertime sadness she always manages to encapsulate.

After almost ten years and five albums, Lana Del Rey has crafted her most mature, in-depth and sonically consistent and pleasing record to date – all good signs for any future releases, ones I hope, and Del Rey herself may hope, will match or exceed the beguiling Norman Fucking Rockwell!

Hope may be a dangerous thing for a woman like her to have – but she has it. 

Words by James Nash

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James Nash

Age 20, studies English Literature at Newcastle University.

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