Norman Fucking Rockwell!

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Norman Fucking Rockwell!
Del Rey holding out her hand on a boat around a man
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 30, 2019 (2019-08-30)
RecordedLate 2017 – June 2019
Studio
Genre
Length67:38
Label
Producer
Lana Del Rey chronology
Lust for Life
(2017)
Norman Fucking Rockwell!
(2019)
Violet Bent Backwards Over The Grass
(2020)
Alternative cover
Urban Outfitters exclusive vinyl cover
Urban Outfitters exclusive vinyl cover
Singles from Norman Fucking Rockwell!
  1. "Mariners Apartment Complex"
    Released: September 12, 2018
  2. "Venice Bitch"
    Released: September 18, 2018
  3. "Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me to Have – but I Have It"
    Released: January 9, 2019
  4. "Doin' Time"
    Released: May 17, 2019
  5. "The Greatest"
    Released: September 13, 2019
  6. "Norman Fucking Rockwell"
    Released: November 1, 2019[1]

Norman Fucking Rockwell! is the sixth studio album by American singer and songwriter Lana Del Rey. It was released on August 30, 2019, by Polydor and Interscope Records.[2][3] The album was primarily produced by Del Rey and Jack Antonoff, with additional contributions from Zach Dawes, Andrew Watt and longtime Del Rey collaborator Rick Nowels.[4][5] Musically, Norman Fucking Rockwell! features a soft rock sound consisting of psych-rock jams and piano ballads,[6] and features references to various classic rock artists.[7]

The first singles from the album, "Mariners Apartment Complex" and "Venice Bitch", were released in September 2018,[8] followed by "Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me to Have – but I Have It", "Doin' Time", "The Greatest", and "Norman Fucking Rockwell" in 2019.[9]

The album is nominated for Album of the Year at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, while the title track is nominated for Song of the Year. To promote the album, Del Rey embarked on a concert tour, titled The Norman Fucking Rockwell! Tour.

Background[edit]

Del Rey announced she had begun working on a follow up material to 2017's Lust for Life in January 2018. Del Rey confirmed she had been working on songs including one titled 'Bartender', but did not know if it would be featured on an album.[10] In September 2018, Del Rey revealed that the album was nearly complete, and that she had recorded eleven tracks for it.[11] In a September 2019 livestream on Instagram, Del Rey announced that the album was almost named Bird World.[12]

Composition[edit]

FLOOD Magazine described the album's sound as "a mellow soft rock" and noted that Del Rey's improved lyrics tackle larger themes than her previous work.[13] According to critics, Norman Fucking Rockwell! features "psych-rock jams" and piano-based ballads.[6][14] Consequence of Sound described the record as featuring "psych-pop lullabies, tales of complicated, consuming romantic love, and overt odes to the tarnished dream of California."[15] It has been characterised as a "pop classic",[16] as well as embodying folk rock,[17][18] and existing somewhere between the desert rock and "minimalist" trip hop of Del Rey's previous efforts.[19]

The album features a strong influence from '70s classic rock.[7] Kitty Empire of The Observer noted that "strings and synth washes soundtrack multiple love songs", and also noted several classic rock references throughout the album, including Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl", Crosby, Stills, & Nash, and Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy.[20] Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone noted the album's "Laurel Canyon '70s soft-rock fantasies", including references to Joni Mitchell and the Eagles.[16]

No Ripcord describes Norman Fucking Rockwell! as "a remarkably sharp pop record that retains her fascination with pop-culture iconography and the rosey simplicity of a post-war America where classic rock and blue jeans ruled and takes them to much deeper places".[21]

Release and promotion[edit]

The album's cover art, release date, and track listing were announced by Del Rey on July 31, 2019.[22] The cover art features Del Rey and Duke Nicholson—actor Jack Nicholson's grandson—posing on a sailboat, with the album title and Del Rey's initials written in a comic-inspired style.[23] The photo was taken by Del Rey's sister, photographer Chuck Grant.[24] The following day, Del Rey released an album trailer.[25] On August 2, Urban Outfitters announced an exclusive vinyl of the album featuring an alternative album artwork.[26] The alternative cover was also shot by Chuck Grant.[27]

Throughout 2018, Del Rey shared snippets via social media of several songs intended for the album, including "Happiness Is a Butterfly",[28] "How to Disappear",[29] and "Cinnamon Girl".[30] She performed "How to Disappear" on October 29 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, debuting the full song for the first time.[31] A trailer for the album was released on August 1, 2019. It features three of the album's singles—"Doin' Time", "Mariners Apartment Complex", and "Venice Bitch"—as well as the title track.[32] On August 22, 2019, "Fuck It, I Love You" and "The Greatest" were released as promotional singles along with a double music video. The music video runs at 9:19 minutes long, with the same shoot as the album trailer.

Singles[edit]

"Mariners Apartment Complex" was released as the album's first single on September 12, 2018.[33] The following week, on September 18, Del Rey released the second single "Venice Bitch" and revealed the album title.[34] "Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me to Have – but I Have It" followed as the third single on January 9, 2019.[35] Del Rey released a cover of Sublime's "Doin' Time" on May 17, 2019, for a documentary about the band.[36] It also served as the fourth single from the album.

Tour[edit]

On August 1, 2019, Del Rey announced two legs of a tour in promotion of Norman Fucking Rockwell!. The first leg is set to take place in North America in the fall of 2019,[37] and the second in Europe in early 2020.[38]

Film[edit]

On December 20, 2019, Del Rey released a 14-minute-long short film featuring the songs "Norman Fucking Rockwell", "Bartender", and "Happiness is a Butterfly". The film was directed by Chuck Grant and premiered on YouTube.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?8.5/10[39]
Metacritic87/100[40]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[7]
The A.V. ClubB[41]
Consequence of SoundA−[15]
Entertainment WeeklyB[42]
The Guardian3/5 stars[43]
The Independent4/5 stars[19]
NME5/5 stars[44]
The Observer4/5 stars[20]
Pitchfork9.4/10[18]
Rolling Stone4.5/5 stars[16]
Uncut8/10[45]

Norman Fucking Rockwell! received widespread acclaim from music critics and is also the most critically acclaimed studio album of Del Rey's career to date. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 87 based on 28 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[40]

Jenn Pelly of Pitchfork wrote that the album "establishes [Del Rey] as one of America’s greatest living songwriters".[18] In his review for Rolling Stone, Rob Sheffield wrote that "the long-awaited Norman Fucking Rockwell is even more massive and majestic than everyone hoped it would be. Lana turns her fifth and finest album into a tour of sordid American dreams, going deep cover in all our nation's most twisted fantasies of glamour and danger."[16] He concluded that Del Rey "has finally made her pop classic."[16] In a five-star review for NME, Rhian Daly called the album "nothing short of stunning."[44] Kristel Jax of Now wrote that "Del Rey has shifted her kitschy patriotic fixation, dropping her flag-draped persona and making peace with a more complex, dystopian reality", also giving the album five stars.[46] For Slant Magazine, Sal Cinquemani described the album as being "a heady collection of psych-rock and piano dirges that pour into each other and rarely shift tempo from track to track" as well as "frank assessments of the psychic effects of a world spiraling into chaos."[14] Also writing positively, Alexandra Pollard of The Independent wrote that "The album is sultry and soporific, sitting somewhere between the minimalist trip-hop of Del Rey’s early days, and the scuzzy desert rock she has toyed with over the years," and concluded that "This is Del Rey at her most assertive."[19] In his 'premature evaluation' for Stereogum, Tom Breihan wrote that the album is "a beautiful opus for a new dark age — a fond look back at the world we just wrecked", calling it "yoga music for the apocalypse."[47]

In a more mixed review, Alexis Petridis of The Guardian described the album as "an alternately beguiling and frustrating experience", concluding that despite Del Rey's evident talent, "it’s hard not to wish that she would broaden her perspective, adopt a different persona, shake things up a little."[43] Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph similarly wrote that the album "reveals Del Rey to be something of a one trick pony, but what a beautiful trick it is."[48]

Year-end lists[edit]

Publication List Rank Ref.
The Atlantic The 18 Best Albums of 2019
[49]
The A. V. Club The 20 Best Albums of 2019
7
Billboard 50 Best Albums of Albums of 2019: Staff Picks
6
[51]
Clash Clash Albums of the Year 2019
22
Complex The Best Albums of 2019
18
[53]
Consequence of Sound Top 50 Albums of 2019
9
[54]
Dazed The 20 Best Albums of 2019
2
Double J The 50 Best Albums of 2019
5
[56]
Entertainment Weekly The Best Albums of 2019
9
[57]
Esquire The Best Albums of 2019 (So Far)
[58]
Exclaim! 20 Best Pop and Rock Albums of 2019
1
[59]
Flood The Best Albums of 2019
5
[60]
Gorilla vs. Bear Gorilla vs Bear's Albums of 2019
1
[61]
GQ 21 Favorite Albums of 2019
[62]
The albums that made 2019 great again
7
The Guardian The Best 50 Albums of 2019
1
[64]
The Irish Times Best International Albums
1
[65]
Mojo Top 75 Albums of 2019
7
[66]
Metacritic Music Critic Top 10 Lists
1
[67]
The New York Times The New York Times: Jon Caramanica's Best Albums of 2019
6
[68]
The New York Times The New York Times: Jon Pareles' Best Albums of 2019
7
[68]
NME The 50 Best Albums of 2019
3
[69]
NPR Top 10 Albums of the Year
1
[70]
OOR Top 20 Albums of the Year
1
[71]
Paste The 50 Best Albums of 2019
19
[72]
Pitchfork The 50 Best Albums of 2019
1
[73]
The Ringer Best Albums of 2019
1
[74]
Rolling Stone The 50 Best Albums of 2019
3
[75]
Slant The 25 Best of Albums of 2019
1
[76]
Slate The Best Albums of 2019
[77]
Stereogum The 50 Best Albums of 2019
1
[78]
Thrillist The Best Albums of 2019 (So Far)
4
[79]
Time The 10 Best Albums of 2019
4
[80]
The Times The Top 100 Best Records of the Year
7
[81]
Uproxx The Best Albums of 2019
1
[82]
Uncut Top 75 Albums of 2019
5
[83]
Variety The Best Albums of 2019, Andrew Barker's Top 10
2
[84]
Vice The 100 Best Albums of 2019
2
[85]
The Washington Post Top 10 Albums of 2019
1
[86]
The Los Angeles Times Best Albums of 2019
2
[87]

Decade-end lists[edit]

Publication List Rank Ref.
AllMusic 200 Best Albums of the 2010s
[88]
Cleveland.com 100 Greatest Albums of the 2010s
43
Gorilla vs. Bear Albums of the Decade
6
The Independent The 50 Best Albums of the Decade
22
NME Greatest Albums of the 2010s
89
Noisey The 100 Best Albums of the 2010s
62
[93]
Paste The 30 Best Pop Albums of the 2010s
17
Pitchfork 200 Best Albums of the 2010s
19
Rolling Stone The 100 Best Albums of the 2010s
32
Slant Magazine The 100 Best Albums of the 2010s
3
[97]
Stereogum The 100 Best Albums of the 2010s
67
Uproxx All the Best Albums of the 2010s
15
Vice The 100 Best Pop Albums of the 2010s
62
The Young Folks Top 50 Albums of the 2010s
21
[101]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United States, the album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 with 104,000 album-equivalent units, of which 66,000 were pure album sales, making it Del Rey's sixth US top ten album.[102] In its second week, the album dropped to number nine with 35,000 units.[103]

In the United Kingdom, the album debuted at number one with 31,539 copies, becoming her best first week sales in the country since Ultraviolence.[104][105] The album became Lana Del Rey's fourth number one album in the UK tying Taylor Swift as the female artist with the most solo number one albums in the UK during the 2010s.[106] In France, the album sold 8,000 copies in its first week, 800 more than Lust for Life's first week.[107]

Accolades[edit]

Year Organization Award Result Ref.
2019 Q Awards Best Album Nominated [108]
2020 Grammy Award Album of the Year Pending [109]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Norman Fucking Rockwell"
  • Antonoff
  • Del Rey
4:08
2."Mariners Apartment Complex"
  • Del Rey
  • Antonoff
  • Antonoff
  • Del Rey
4:06
3."Venice Bitch"
  • Del Rey
  • Antonoff
  • Antonoff
  • Del Rey
9:38
4."Fuck It, I Love You"
  • Del Rey
  • Antonoff[b]
  • Antonoff
  • Del Rey[b]
3:38
5."Doin' Time"
3:17
6."Love Song"
  • Del Rey
  • Antonoff
  • Antonoff
  • Del Rey
3:49
7."Cinnamon Girl"
  • Del Rey
  • Antonoff
  • Antonoff
  • Del Rey
5:00
8."How to Disappear"
  • Del Rey
  • Antonoff
  • Antonoff
  • Del Rey
3:48
9."California"
  • Dawes
  • Antonoff
  • Del Rey
5:05
10."The Next Best American Record"
  • Nowels
  • Kieron Menzies
  • Dean Reid
  • Mighty Mike[a]
5:49
11."The Greatest"
  • Del Rey
  • Antonoff
  • Antonoff
  • Del Rey
5:00
12."Bartender"
  • Del Rey
  • Nowels
  • Del Rey
  • Nowels
4:23
13."Happiness Is a Butterfly"
  • Del Rey
  • Antonoff
  • Nowels
  • Antonoff
  • Del Rey
  • Nowels[a]
4:32
14."Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me to Have – but I Have It"
  • Del Rey
  • Antonoff
  • Antonoff
  • Del Rey
5:24[c]
Total length:67:38

Notes

  • ^[a] signifies an additional producer
  • ^[b] On digital versions of the album, the version of "Fuck It, I Love You" featured is the single version, credited as written by Del Rey, Antonoff, Louis Bell and Andrew Wotman; and produced by Antonoff, Watt and Bell.[110]
  • ^[c] On physical versions of the album, "Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me to Have – but I Have It" includes an outro and is 5:58 in length.
  • All track titles are stylized in sentence case, except "Cinnamon Girl" and "The Next Best American Record" which are stylized in title case, and "Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me to Have – but I Have It" in all lowercase.[111]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[152] Silver 60,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]