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Norman Fucking Rockwell! – Lana Del Rey

★ ★ ★

Lana Del Rey’s sixth studio album sees the return of her signature dreamy sound while the lyrics cut closer to the bone than ever before. Over 14 tracks, Del Rey laments the failure of the American dream, showing the listener what she sees around her; insecurity, beer bottles, and brokenness, punctuated by ghostly and understated instrumentation. In a political and social climate of so many loud voices clamoring to be heard, Del Rey showcases the power of silence.

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The opener starts the album strongly with a gorgeous, rolling piano backing joined by disdainful opening lyrics – “God damn, man child”. Throughout the project, the singer effortlessly melds compelling, thought-provoking lyrics with sexually charged, tongue-in-cheek quips. Highlights include her innovative cover of Sublime’s ‘Doin’ Time’, the plush violin and piano harmonization on ‘Love Song’, the eerily beautiful ‘How to disappear’, and the heart-wrenching lyrics of ‘California’.

Ultimately, where this project falls short is Del Rey’s tone. While her deadpan delivery has become somewhat of a trademark, some tracks in the second half of the album seem spiritless due to the lack of energy with which they are performed. Lana’s message feels so lethargic and lifeless at times that I don’t think I have the energy for a relisten. 

 

Nicholas Lane – Music Writer

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