Review: Lana Del Rey, ‘Norman Fucking Rockwell!’

The sixth studio album by Lana Del Rey is rightfully receiving the critical acclaim it deserves.

Veering away from her loving homages to American culture, this album takes a more sombre tone, reflecting on the changes the country has encountered since the election in 2016. The album as a whole, in fact, has a reflective, accepting tone, with Lana’s usual optimism about American culture evaporating as the album progresses through its 67 minute run time.

Highlights include the final two tracks, ‘Happiness is a butterfly’ and ‘hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have- but I have it’. This final track sums up the album as a whole; her dismay at her dreamlike image of America being shattered, but also her hope that one day this will return.

Another high point is the title, and opening, track ‘Norman Fucking Rockwell’. It sets the album up neatly; the romantic tone of her past five efforts gone, and replaced with an older, wiser, more cynical outlook. She discusses her relationship with her artist boyfriend, who shares an occupation with the songs namesake. His gloominess and depressive state is infectious, and Lana finds herself slipping into the same mind set. This in turn carries across the other thirteen tracks on the album.

Simply put, the divided, antagonistic state of American culture has dripped into her music, and made it more of a reflection on the current state of the country, and not the dreamlike love story she once made it out to be.