• The Gaudie

Norman Fucking Rockwell! | Review

by Alba Lopes Da Silva


5/5


The title of Lana del Rey’s sixth studio album Norman Fucking Rockwell! feels like a slap in the face of the idealised, utopian American dream, especially in our current age and with the current American political climate. Norman Rockwell was known for his idyllic paintings of 20th-century life in America, as well as his illustrations for the American propagandist newspaper Saturday Evening Post. By adding a exclamative hyphen by Rockwell’s name, this whole idealised American modern dream feels sarcastic, even irrelevant – is this the American dream? Although Lana, through exquisitely nostalgic and poetic lyrics, cuts through an outdated ideal while showcasing an extreme sensibility, her album is, before anything else, a display of her most complex and intimate feelings – men, heartaches, nostalgia for a world come and gone, glamour - Norman Fucking Rockwell! has it all.

‘God damn, man child’, chant the opening lyrics of the album. Lana’s blaming the men in her life for not taking responsibility is a blow at the man-ego. On a political side-note, can those lyrics point the finger at a certain hot-headed American president? On ‘Mariners Apartment Complex’ she confidently recalls a conversation with a past love which had the energy of a fateful romantic encounter - ‘I'm the board, the lightning, the thunder’ she sings. Over are the days when Lana was a girl waiting to be saved by her ‘daddy’; now she is the man (‘I'm your man / I’m your man’).

A beautiful mix of tragic and heart-aching lyrics, with a hint of political commentary on American life, this record is the natural consequence of Lana’s personal and emotional growth through time.

‘Love Song’ is a slow, minimal ballad in which Lana is hoping for love: ‘Be my once in a lifetime’. Although she admits being ‘a fucking mess’ the goal is to accept it and try to change, but above all, try to navigate the world of troubled lovers while remaining intact. ‘The Greatest’ is without a doubt my favourite song on the album. A beautiful piano ballad, this track feels like it could be played in a Californian bar at the end of the world. One can’t help but feel nostalgic for her Californian dream world.

All in all, Norman Fucking Rockwell! is a brilliant album, maybe even Lana’s most honest one. . A beautiful mix of tragic and heart-aching lyrics, with a hint of political commentary on American life, this record is the natural consequence of Lana’s personal and emotional growth through time. The album might be a bit too slow and sleep-inducing for some people, however, I personally find it perfectly touching and beautiful.

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