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“Rockwell” Review

September 5, 2019

Lana Del Rey has packed a punch with her fifth album, “Norman F-ing Rockwell.” Being known for her deep, chilling lyrics, Lana outdid herself with her themes this time around. Some of the more prominent topics on “Rockwell” are love, hopelessness and the disappointing reality of the American Dream.

This album has been teased for nearly a year, with “Mariners Apartment Complex” and “Venice B—-” being released in Sept. 2018. The album was named after Norman Rockwell, an iconic 20th century illustrator known for his portrayals of everyday life. Lana drew inspiration from him in her track “The greatest,” in which she sings about modern America. She clearly mocks the current culture when she sings, “L.A. is in flames, it’s getting hot / Kanye West is blond and gone / ‘Life on Mars’ ain’t just a song.”

In her opening track titled “Norman F-ing Rockwell,” Lana sings about an immature poet who fails her emotionally. The chorus echoes, “Cause you’re just a man, it’s just what you do / Your head in your hands as you color me blue.”

There are a variety of love songs (or as close to love as Lana dares) on the album, including one titled “Love song.” “Bartender” features a smooth beat with piano structures flowing in and out of the song. Lana delivers sweet-sounding vocals and sings about a love interest using metaphors, and includes allusions about how her life has changed.

“Love song” is obviously an ode to her romantic partner with references to fast cars and lyrics like “Oh, be my once in a lifetime.” The slow tempo and soft piano add to the soothing effect of the song.

In “How to disappear,” Lana describes her mixed feelings about a man and how he seems incapable of expressing himself. The closing lines of the song end on a hopeful note with Lana singing, “I’m always going to be right here / No one’s going anywhere.”

One of the most powerful songs on the album in terms of instrumentals is “Venice B—-,” which spans for over nine minutes. Lana wrote this song with Jack Antonoff, an upcoming producer who recently worked with Taylor Swift on her album, “Lover.” The track is about Lana and her man living happily forever as time fades away. Feelings of nostalgia take over and transform into a psychedelic trip composed with guitars, drums and synths. It leaves listeners in a dreamy, airy state of mind.

Lana clearly has an affinity for California, so it’s no surprise that she included a song called “California” on her latest album. She once again delivers feelings of nostalgia by reminiscing about old love letters and parties. She comforts her love by saying, “You don’t ever have to act stronger than you really are when you’re lying in my arms.” Lana switches between a deep, crooning voice and soft, higher pitched vocals to provide contrast to the song, and it ties together beautifully.

While Lana has been in the music industry for a while, “Rockwell” may be her best album yet. Her wonderfully unique voice and thrilling lyrics are a breath of fresh air compared to other pop songs of today. She can express such real emotions through her music and can free even the most lost soul.

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