Lana Del Rey: Norman Fucking Rockwell review – stops you in

(Polydor)
With its classic rock references and brazen lyrics, the American’s involving fifth album proves she can do more than merely conjure up a mood

It was probably inevitable that Lana Del Rey would one day write a song called California. Having often set her tunes in specific locales – Brooklyn Baby, West Coast and Venice Bitch are just three previous stops on the open-top Del Rey bus tour – it comes as little surprise that at the heart of Norman Fucking Rockwell, the fifth of her acknowledged studio albums, Del Rey should be throwing a party for some hot guy, if he’s ever in California again. “Crazy love,” muses Del Rey, audibly shaking her head at the memory, yet nursing some unspecified guilt.

What’s odd, however, is that while California is technically one of the strongest songs (there are actual beats; it’s about something tangible) it’s also one of the least interesting tracks on this unorthodox, involving album, named after a devotee of lived American iconography, the 20th-century illustrator Norman Rockwell. Rarely has the offer of a party, with “your favourite alcohol off the top shelf”, seemed so unenticing, compared with everything else that’s going on here.

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