Neil Runge | Staff Writer
Lana Del Rey has returned with a beautiful album to end the summer. Released this past Friday, Norman F*****g Rockwell, sometimes referred to as NFR, is a perfect way to say goodbye to a summer filled with songs about partying and summer flings, while saying hello to the season of hoodies and fall-themed everything.
After she released many of the songs last year on an EP and as singles, the alluring singer is now back to give the soundtrack to nights spent driving around the city until the sun rises or hanging out with friends at a party before everyone leaves for campus. It gives a sense of wandering and fills listeners with a feeling of nostalgia even if they hadn’t experienced the moments Del Rey is singing about.
Del Rey and record producer Jack Antonoff worked together to bring the aesthetic that gave Del Rey her well-deserved popularity. She comes into this album giving what she’s known for: angelic beats and often times melancholy lyrics about love and men that have caused her pain. Icons from her past albums don’t leave; they still play a large part in the image of her newest album.
What makes Norman F*****g Rockwell different though is that this album aims to tackle the cliche journey of moving out west to become a star in Hollywood — the idea that leaving a small town and going to a big city where dreams of being a star always come true. In NFR, Del Rey is past the dreams of partying and being glamorous, she’s done that. Now she wants to slow down and settle.
The production on this album is next level. It pulls the listener into a world that Del Rey has created in order to show off her opinions and ideas on what California and the dream of becoming a star really means. Being a star isn’t what it seems. Yes, there’s glitz and glamour, but there’s also heartache and men with fast cars that move on quickly, unaware of the hearts they’re breaking.
She doesn’t give up on the dream of settling down and having a white picket fence and nuclear family, though. The song “How to Disappear” adds to the theme of the American dream. Along with the album as a whole, she sings about partners that have broken her heart and disappeared, but she still dreams of a life away from all the nightlife she used to chase.
The single “Venice B***h” is a wrench in this story. It was one of the first singles released off of NFR, and it is a nearly 10-minute song that feels like it won’t ever end. The rest of the songs on this album are about five minutes. It was only the second song on the tracklist, and after a strong start with the song title track “Norman F*****g Rockwell” the flow of the songs was wrecked.
NFR stands far above her other albums. It has similarities and themes that tie this piece of music in with the rest of her discography. The hope is that she continues in this direction of music. This album is a must-listen for anyone who’s been putting off or hasn’t gotten around to Del Rey’s music.