Albums of the Year 2019: #1 Lana Del Rey – Norman Fucking Rockwell!

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Lana Del Rey’s album, Norman Fucking Rockwell!, has been voted as our favourite album of 2019. It has also been given a score of 9.4 by Pitchfork magazine, which is the highest any solo female artist has been given.

Lana released her sixth studio album this year, in which she has re-imagined the themes of her music. It has become more focused on self-empowerment rather than dependence on relationships, such as when she lyrically criticises a man’s ego in the song ‘Norman Fucking Rockwell’. She has also moved away from her use of the American flag aesthetic after Donald Trump came into power and incorporated more political messages into her tracks. Lana manages to include this heavy subject-matter into her songs, whilst still keeping her sound enjoyably serene, which is what makes it the best, and arguably most relevant album of the year.

Singles on Norman Fucking Rockwell! question the trouble of modern America. An example is ‘The greatest’, a melancholy song tinted with a classic-rock sound. In the track she includes the motif of the California wildfires that runs throughout her album. These fires are even featured on the album’s cover. She also brings in political themes, such as when she mentions how Kanye has become “blond and gone” through his plummet into world-wide controversy. Through this, her record relates to many and easily has a big impact on listeners.

With the release of this album, Lana has exposed herself as one of the greatest songwriters on the radar. Her words form like poetry accompanied by mellow piano and psychedelic sounds. She has evolved from being almost a character in her other albums, who is obsessed with the American dream, into a songwriter who fearlessly faces the trials of our contemporary situation.

Other than its poignant messages, what also makes this album great is it’s elements of nostalgia. Lana’s voice could be inserted right into an old-Hollywood film, it is smooth, glamorous and beautiful. She also covered Sublime’s song, ‘Doin’ Time’, in the album and manages to keep the atmospheric mood of California’s summer within the song, whilst incorporating her elegant sound and tranquil nature.

Norman Fucking Rockwell! is a timeless album that truly showcases Lana’s songwriting talent and beautiful voice, which is what makes it the most impressive album of the year.

Lana Del Rey’s Norman Fucking Rockwell! is out now via Polydor Records. 

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