Lana challenges the norm with Norman F***ing Rockwell


courtesy of Hypebeast

After much anticipation singer/songwriter Lana Del Rey released her sixth studio album Norman F***ing Rockwell to great acclaim. Many fans declare the album as her best one. “Lana really did a great job with this album, she went for something different and it really paid off. The aesthetic and sound are amazing and it’s honestly my favorite out of all her albums. The two-year wait was worth it.” NC Senior Isabel Daez said. A North American tour accompanying the album starts on September 21 with tour stops in New York, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California.

Luis Ponce, Staff

Singer Lana Del Rey finally released her highly anticipated sixth studio album, Norman F****ing Rockwell, on August 30. Produced by Jack Antoff, Rick Nowels, Andrew Watt, and Del Rey herself, this album thoroughly impressed, receiving acclaim from fans and critics alike. The album currently resides at #3 in the iTunes charts since its release. Usually recognized by her retro mid-century sound, Del Rey used inspiration from the psych-rock genre to create the album.

Norman F***ing Rockwell did a unique job with its fourteen tracks. Del Rey managed to combine the aesthetics portrayed in her past albums to create a unison sound which gives off a 60s and 70s classic rock flavor. Del Rey uses her music to explore classic themes and subjects in America and relate them to current events and situations. 

The title of the album refers to American painter Norman Rockwell, whose paintings depicted the traditional idea of an American life and dream; she sings about “going to Mars” and about how “Kanye West is blonde and gone” in her song “The Greatest” to show what  life in America currently looks like, demonstrating her longing for simpler times. When asked about the title, she explained that it started off as a joke but then turned serious.

 “It was kind of an exclamation mark: so this is the American dream right now.  This is where we’re at—Norman F***ing Rockwell. We’re going to Mars, and Trump is president, all right,” Del Rey said in an interview with Vanity fair.

The album starts off strong, setting the mood for the rest of the album with the titular song, “Norman F***ing Rockwell”. The chorus in this song excels with the combination of piano, strings, and vocals. The third track, “Venice B*tch” divided audiences; while the first section of the song may sound outstanding to a portion of listeners, the majority feel that the length of the song, a whopping nine minutes and forty-two seconds, influences their affinity for it. This album includes a cover of the song “Doin’ Time” by the band Sublime. The reimagining of the song Del Rey presented stays as close as it can to the original by using a similar trip-hop style beat while managing to make it her own through her unique interpretation of the material.

Halfway into the album, the structure derails a bit and begins to lose the audience’s attention by placing very similar songs next to each other. The songs fall flat, leaving the listener feeling bored as the tracks lack catchy hooks making the listener hope for the songs to end soon. As the album begins to wrap up, the final tracks “Happiness is a butterfly” and “Hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but I have it” seal the deal with beautiful lyrics and sounds that remind the audience of what the album set out to achieve, A different but familiar sound and showing growth in her music and character throughout the  fourteen tracks.

Ultimately, the production should receive the most acclaim out of the whole album. The light instrumentals that play in the back of each song and the lack of guest singers help embrace Del Rey’s unique voice, emphasizing it more than in her previous albums. Most aspects of this album, from the performance to the writing, exceeded expectations, but parts of it did need more attention than others.  It did not stray from attempting different ideas while still staying in the same lane which made it impactful to listen to. The unique connection she creates with the audience genuinely captivates them with her voice and allows them to engage with what she sings. 

The Chant’s Grade: A-