Wow. After hearing Ms. Rey’s awfully mediocre cover of Sublime’s Doin’ Time, I had some to little anticipation for her next project in defiance of the fact that I’ve always had a soft spot for her as an artist. I should be ashamed of myself!
Regardless of what the album title may suggest, Norman Fucking Rockwell has got to be Lana Del Rey’s most instrumentally mature album since Ultraviolence and, if not, her most instrumentally impressive album yet. What I felt both Lust for Life and Honeymoon lacked was the naturalistically luxuriating melodies of Lana’s previous LPs, as it more-so decided to shadow technical trends of modern pop/hip-hop music by using artificial beats and percussion hooks rather than impersonating the orchestrated tunes of the “Frank Sinatra era.” This sixth album of hers, therefore, is certainly a step in the right direction, even if that direction is almost identical to the concept of time-traveling back to the days of Lana’s earlier works and picking influence from thereon after.
This album outshined my pitiful expectations, conclusively. Like, this…fucking…banged—for the most part. It’s still a shame to see that Lana’s lyrical impressions are quite as indifferent as usual, and some songs and ballads sound too indistinguishable to tracks that she’s already produced in the past—which has always been a pet peeve of mine when it comes to her discography (the nerve-racking feeling of Déjà vu is a curse and a blessing). However, Norman Fucking Rockwell is nice, sugary, and lulling to take in through the ears—which is all I really want from her albums, to be frank. Nobody makes guilty-pleasured throwback-y symphonic music quite like Lana does.
“Norman Fucking Rockwell” is now available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music, and other platforms.