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Album Review: “Norman ******* Rockwell” by Lana Del Rey

Imagine the last couple weeks of summer, enjoying one last wild boat ride across the sea, in the beautiful country of the USA. Then you go relax with a drink and an enchanting woman comes in to play tunes on the piano and sing songs with her lovely voice.

Yet this is no ordinary woman, this is Lana Del Rey, and she does not hold back.

“Goddamn, man-child,” is her opening line. Her first track, “Norman f******* Rockwell,” is a beautiful piano ballad that portrays a man with a paintbrush, ready to paint your heart blue. You too, will feel the heartbreak.

And by the second track, “Mariners Apartment Complex” you can already get a feel for the whole vibe of the album, classic LDR but also something completely different. Very chill and also catchy with a lot of piano and acoustic guitar.

Venice B****” has a similar sound. It is the longest track on the album — over nine minutes long.

**** it I love you,” is just a beautiful and absolutely cheesy song.

I really like the Sublime cover of “Doin’ Time,” how she made it a little different and made it her own. I also really enjoy the music video.

Love song” is nice but does not necessarily stand out to me, maybe it will grow on me.

What a sweet and sugary melody “Cinnamon Girl” has — but the lyrics, not so much, very sad. One of my favorites on the album.

“How to disappear” is an interesting song. In the first verse she sings about one man, in the second another, and in the third no one in particular except for a nameless “you.” And in the end, she says she will always be there and never disappear.

“California” is about missing someone who feels they have to conceal that they are missing you back.

The Next Best American Record” is similarly about missing someone with more of a nostalgic feel. It also has a little more rock to it.

The greatest” continues with the theme of aching for the past — not so much a specific person but times of the past. There is also worry about having already “peaked” in life and things looking downhill from here on.

Bartender” is a cute song but also does not necessarily stand out to me. Although I do like the t-t-t sound she makes.

“Happiness is a butterfly” is another one of my favorites on the album. I find it inspiring. I love the ending, great way to wrap up the album.

Finally, we end with “hope is a dangerous word for a woman like me to have — but I have it.” This is a wonderful song! It feels raw, vulnerable, yet also empowering. Another favorite!

NFR! covers everything from heartache and total despair, to true love and unshakable faith — all the colors of the paint palette. I like her deliberate use of upper and lower cases of the song titles. This unique album stands out on its own and each song fits together like a beautiful masterpiece. It is an album of reflection and being completely honest with oneself and one’s emotions.

Top 25 Darkest & Saddest Lana Del Rey songs

Lana Del Rey has A NEW ALBUM coming for us on August 30! I decided to do a thorough investigation into Lana Del Rey’s top 25 darkest & saddest songs. Keep in mind that this has nothing to do with my personal favorites — that would be really tricky, but I may do it another time. This is a bit more fact than opinion. We are looking for 50% dark and 50% sad. LDR specializes in darkness/sadness because she is not afraid of the controversy/public shaming that comes with romanticizing masochistic tendencies — in fact she is “the starving artist” who recognizes that great art comes from great pain. (Even her “happiest” songs have a melancholy tone.) Let’s begin…


25. In My Feelings (Album: Lust for Life)

“If you were me, and I was you, I’d get out of my way.”

Dark, but a lot more ‘anger’ than ‘sadness.’

24. 24 (Album: Honeymoon)

“There’s only 24 hours in a day, and half you lay awake with thoughts of murder and carnage.”

This is very dark, but just not sad enough. Very sassy, actually.

23. Blue Jeans (Album: Born to Die)

“And I know that love is mean and love hurts.”

Kind of sad and kind of dark. Man would rather go out and make money than be in love.

22. Without You (Born to Die)

I can be your China doll if you’d like to see me fall.”

Blessed with fame and fortune — but that means absolutely nothing without love.

21. Million Dollar Man (Born to Die)

“You said I was the most exotic flower.”

This is just hopeless heartbreak.

20. Ride (Album: Paradise EP)

“Been trying hard not to get into trouble but I’ve got a war in my mind.”

Feeling out of control, needing to rely on others just to survive.

19. This Is What Makes Us Girls (Born to Die)

“She starts to cry, mascara running down her little Bambi eyes, ‘Lana, how I hate those guys.'”

Very interesting song, probably only relatable if you are a girl. It’s a spotlight on female friendship: how someone can mean so much to you and you can have so much fun together, until boy-drama gets in the way and rips it apart. It’s sad because ladies need to stick together and support one another, but jealousy can ruin it all. The bond is eternal and never forgotten about, though.

18. Pretty When You Cry (Album: Ultraviolence)

I’m stronger than all my men… except for you.”

This is the best song to cry to, if you want to feel glamorous through all the pain. It’s almost kind of funny.

17. The Blackest Day (Honeymoon)

“Got my blue nail polish on, it’s my favorite color and my favorite tone of song.”

Quite sad, quite dark.

16. Is This Happiness? (Ultraviolence)

“Taking violet pills, writing all my songs about my cheap thrills.”

Is it…?

15. Tomorrow Never Came (Lust For Life)

I waited for you.”

Having so much hope, and then getting let down.

14. Terrence Loves You (Honeymoon)

But I still got jazz when I’ve got those blues.”

Really, really missing someone who you lost. And feeling absolutely empty because of it. But you can get through it with sad music and substance abuse.

13. 13 Beaches (Lust For Life)

I’d be lying if I kept hiding the fact that I can’t deal, and that I’ve been dying for something real.”

I think it’s about being fed up with the world and trying to find some peace and quiet, so you can sit back and fully feel your sadness.

12. Body Electric (Paradise)

“Elvis is my daddy, Marilyn’s my mother, Jesus is my bestest friend.”

Loneliness… and cleverness. Inspired by Walt Whitman’s “I Sing the Body Electric” poem.

11. Shades of Cool (Ultraviolence)

“My baby lives in shades of cool: blue heart, and hands, and aptitude.

Cold love.

10. Born To Die (Born To Die)

“The road is long, we carry on, try to have fun in the meantime.”

Life is short. We are missing out by rushing to our deathbeds.

9. Carmen (Born To Die)

“Darling, darling doesn’t have a problem lying to herself cause her liquor’s top shelf.”

Dangerously sick and depressed alcoholic woman who has the world convinced she is happy, healthy, and having fun.

8. Sad Girl (Ultraviolence)

“He’s got the fire and he walks with fame, he’s got the fire and he talks with fame.”

The verses are so confident on the surface and then the chorus is so vulnerable and raw. She makes it seem like she is the one in control, but she is powerless.

7. Summertime Sadness (Born To Die)

“Think I’ll miss you forever, like the stars miss the sun in the morning sky.”

What is summer without sadness?

6. Cruel World (Ultraviolence)

“Because you’re young, you’re wild, you’re free, you’re dancing circles around me.”

Twisted.

5. Old Money (Ultraviolence)

“If you change your mind, I’ll come, come, come.”

Impossible to listen to this song without crying! It’s simply about missing someone and waiting for them to come back even though they never will. The way the song is composed, the whole melody and such, paints a dark energy over heartbreaking lyrics.

4. Ultraviolence (Ultraviolence)

“Cause I’m your jazz singer, and you’re my cult leader.”

Darker than ultraviolet radiation.

3. Heroin (Lust For Life)

“But the facts of life can sometimes make it hard to dream.”

It gets darker and sadder the more you listen to it.

2. Black Beauty (Ultraviolence)

“Oh, what can I do? Life is beautiful, but you don’t have a clue.

When you fall in love with someone who is depressed and you get sucked into their black hole of sadness. Unable to see the beauty of life — that’s sad. Painting the house black — that’s dark.

1. Dark Paradise (Born To Die)

“Your soul is haunting me and telling me that everything is fine, but I wish I was dead.”

This song is the ultimate mix of darkness and sadness. If there was an official Venn diagram for darkness vs. sadness, this song would be smack in the middle. Dark Paradise is when death seems more tranquil than life.

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Album Review: “Lust For Life” by Lana Del Rey

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Lana Del Rey released her fourth studio album this summer called, “Lust for Life.” Her new music is classic Lana with a new twist. Overall, I really enjoyed it.

I first discovered Lana Del Rey after purchasing her first studio album (Born to Die) back in 2013. I was instantly hooked, and I was so ecstatic when she released her next album (Ultraviolence) that following year in 2014. I was even happier when she released her third album (Honeymoon) in the summer of 2015. Understandably, she took a bit more time to release the fourth. Just two years later, and Lana has gifted us with even more music. She truly spoils her fans – especially the impatient ones like me.

It is quite difficult to describe the unique style of Lana Del Rey, however I will try my best. Her music is dreamy and hazy; it takes you to another world and another time. She has a gospel voice that takes you back to the 30s, American pride that takes you back to the 50s, a psychedelic vibe that takes you back to the 70s, hip-hop beats and minimalistic electronica that takes you back to the 90s, and a modern way of mixing it all together to keep you grounded in the present day. Along with that, her lyrics are brutally honest and she is completely self-aware of how crazy she is (after all, the greatest artists are always the craziest.) Her lyrics carry the wisdom of an old sage as well as the crude humor of a teenager. Although each album is slightly different, these are the common themes that carry on throughout her music.

“Born to Die” can be best described as hip-hop alternative rock with a nostalgic touch. “Ultraviolence” is dreamier and hazier, as well as more “alternative” than “pop” compared to her earlier work. Both albums have a sense of darkness to them – but not in a depressing way, more like in a romanticizing way. Onto her third album (Honeymoon), there is still a theme of rainy day gloominess, however there is also a strong sense of positivity and hope.

I was curious about her new album – would Lana’s new music slope back into total darkness, or continue growing with light? Prior to the release date, she made a note to her fans on social media about “the dark times” we have been facing these past several months, specifically regarding the U.S. election – which has been a great inspiration for her new music. Well, it seems like these dark times have inspired Lana Del Rey, the queen of darkness, to find greater hope.

This new album, “Lust for Life,” is certainly Lana Del Rey’s most inspiring album. The album artwork shows Lana with a giant, toothy grin on her face. (It should be noted that her past three albums display her with a blank, toothless expression.) Something distinctly different about this album is that it includes featuring artists on several tracks. I was a little disappointed when I first found out she would be collaborating with others – Lana Del Rey is such a strong and unique artist who can sing on her own. However, she made it work, and I’m glad she tried something new.

“Lust for Life” begins with the track “Love,” which sets a theme of hope for the entire album. It emphasizes the power of love over worry & anxiety. It is about embracing the moment as a new beginning and a blank slate, verses fear of what could go wrong in the future. “Doesn’t matter if I’m not enough for the future or the things to come, cause I’m young and in love.”

The next track is titled “Lust for Life,” featuring The Weeknd. The message of the song is straightforward: a lust for life keeps us alive. “We’re the masters of our own fate, we’re the captains of our own souls.” It’s another hopeful track, possibly even more positive than the previous one. As the line “take off, take off…” is repeated, I believe on a deeper level it refers to taking off the invisible masks we wear in life to protect ourselves, which holds us back from experiencing living life to the fullest.

“13 Beaches” is dreamy, catchy, and peaceful. It reminds you of being on the beach… all by yourself. “Cherry” is completely random, but is also another track with an uplifting message about the power of love. “Summer Bummer” and “Groupie Love” both feature rapper A$AP Rocky.

The following tracks (“Coachella – Woodstock in My Mind,” “God Bless America – And All The Beautiful Women In It,” and “When The World Was At War We Kept Dancing” continues with the optimistic and positive vibes. Her lyrics state that the world is constantly crumbling but the human race still goes on with faith.

“Tomorrow Never Came” and “Heroin” are sadder songs that easily fit onto older Lana Del Rey albums. However the album ends by swinging back onto happier feelings with “Change” and “Get Free.”

Lana Del Rey continues to satisfy with her new music. I can’t say that this album beats her previous ones – however it is still spectacular! I am happy to see a greater theme of hope in Lana Del Rey’s music while she still carries on with her romanticized, dreamy despair. She acknowledges that war and conflict is a part of life, and once you accept that, you can begin to make a change.

Overall rating: 4/5 stars