Lana Del Rey’s fifth and newest album, "Norman F*cking Rockwell!" debuted at the end of August, but here we are in the middle of September, and I can’t stop thinking about it or listening to it. This album came two years after her last, "Lust For Life," and Del Rey took her time to perfect this one. A few songs off the album were released as singles in late 2018 before she had debuted the whole collection that was "Norman F*cking Rockwell!"
If you’re unfamiliar with the name "Norman Rockwell," you’re not alone. When you search his name on google, one of the first results has Del Rey’s name in it. Rockwell was known way before this pop singer, living from 1894 until 1978. He was an American author, painter and illustrator, best known for his work that reflected the culture of America. Many of the songs Del Rey has released in general over the years have had a certain classic American aesthetic, so it makes sense why she would feel inspired by such an influential artist to our country.
With 14 unique tracks, Del Rey did not disappoint her fans with this project. Her soft voice comforts the listener alongside her relaxing tracks. The lyrics have a deeper meaning specifically to Del Rey, something that she is notorious for in her work. Her music consistently makes pop references from the 1960’s and she loves to sing about where her heart calls home. In this album, “Venice Bitch” comes to mind, a nod at where Del Rey now resides in Venice Beach, California. This is similar to her song “Brooklyn Baby” from her "Ultraviolence" album, where she refers to what was once her home, Brooklyn. Her songs are personal to her, specifically. Meaning she has spent time writing and producing each one, rather than having someone write a catchy tune that means nothing to her. To me, Del Rey has always been an artist rather than a singer because of her transparency in her work. She has exposed herself to the world and opened up to her fans with her work, connecting with people who may feel alone all over the world.
The album itself is beautiful, elegant and gentle (oddly enough to describe an album). Del Rey has a classic voice and style that she’s remembered for. Each song has its own message and interpretation for the listener, some being longer than others (for example, “Venice Bitch” is almost 10 minutes long). The one exception of her album being her own work is her cover of Sublime’s “Doin’ Time”. Her rendition brought this song back to life, as if it could ever have flat-lined. This song in particular shows what a spin Del Rey takes on music. It is so different than those who are typically in the limelight: Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, etc. Her voice has such a unique sound alongside her creative touch, it’s something that no one else could ever recreate. Somehow, it seems to even make a sad story feel sweet, like you’re eating candy.
Though Del Rey is unique in her own personal work, she is about to release a song alongside pop stars Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande. This will probably end up being one of her most played songs on the radio, as most of her work beyond “Summertime Sadness” has been robbed of mainstream attention. If you end up liking her newest release, then take a listen to "Norman F*cking Rockwell!" to get a real taste of what Del Rey’s music is really about.