You Need To Listen To My 2nd Favorite Album Of 2019: Lana Del Rey, “Norman Fucking Rockwell!”

It’s amazing what one year can do.

If you told me a year ago that I would not only enjoy, but love albums from artists like Tyler, The Creator and Lana Del Rey, I would have scoffed at first, but then probably would be excited to know exactly why. One of the things I wanted to get out of writing this blog was to expand on my taste in music. All too often, I will stand firm in my opinions and ultimately it’s a losing battle. I feel like taking a stance in an artistic endeavor is never a good thing. It really limits the enjoyment out of the whole thing.

This blog has been an effort to step outside of what I would typically listen to. Initially, I wanted to revisit my own music collection and actually listen to everything. I am still doing that, but while doing that I wanted to stay atop of what is happening currently. To this day there is nothing better than finding that new artist or rare gem that you fall in love with and obsess over for that day, that week, that year, or even forever. So while going back to the massive library in my iTunes account, I wanted to add streaming music into my arsenal and have an open mind and ear.

I was shocked to find out how much of this year’s output I just ate up. Even more shocking is seeing that some of the albums I really dug ended up on other publication’s lists. I try to not let that influence me, but it’s feels good to see some similarities. It also feels even better to fall in love with albums and champion the ones that others may not have liked. I stand by my picks, but I probably have about ten to twelve records that I didn’t give a real proper listen to, and I am excited to check them out and re-examine my list later in the future.

With a new album from Lana Del Rey this year, I was expecting an outpouring of praise, which there were tons of, obviously. I wasn’t expecting how enjoyable and phenomenal it really was for me.

Norman Fucking Rockwell! may go down as not only one of the best albums of 2019, but one of the defining albums of the decade. It’s an album where it feels as the idea, the aura, the majesty of Lana Del Rey has begun to flesh itself out. With Norman Fucking Rockwell! It feels Lana Del Rey is more aware of the world she created and it’s hard to tell if that was exactly the intended outcome or not. The never-ending conflict between self-assurance mixed with certain doubt and doom helps blur the lines as you listen.

The instrumentation is rich and engulfing and Lana Del Rey is on her A-game. Not saying her previous efforts aren’t good, I’ve gone back and enjoyed them a lot, it’s just that some of these tracks from NFR! are on another level. Hell, she turned Sublime’s alt-rock classic “Doin’ Time“, a song that has been played to death for twenty years and counting, and made it into something fresher, more vibrant, and a lot cooler.

There is an air of maturity in a way that is sounds like Lana has grown tired of it all and is desperate for a change. It’s mournful without feeling hopeless. All the while it’s still relatable. There are intense moments on this record where it feels like life is flashing before you in still shots. While listening to NFR!, you’ll question whether or not these flashes from the past are actually from your life or the environment Lana Del Rey created herself. It’s a glamorously melancholy masterpiece where you feel yourself is a part of, even if the 405 is a mere three thousand miles away.

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