Norman F****** Rockwell by Lana Del Rey

“Norman F****** Rockwell” is Lana Del Rey’s sixth studio album, released on August 5th 2019 with much anticipation. When reviewing albums or other collections of music, I try and always give myself enough time to listen to the collection from beginning to end, multiple times. I think this is important because I am not here to give you only first impressions, but a complete review. Just as with the “Lover” album review I posted the other day, I will be discussing my top 5 songs from the album as well as covering the album as a whole.

super official ranking system

  1. Bartender
  2. hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but I have it
  3. Venice B****
  4. Norman F****** Rockwell
  5. Happiness is a butterfly

Baby, remember, I’m not drinking wine
But that cherry coke you serve is fine
And our love’s sweet enough on the vine

Bartender, Lana Del Rey

I did not expect Bartender to be my favorite song from the album, but no matter how often I listened to the album, I always began with this one particular track. During this song, we can hear her doing something interesting with the word ‘bartender’ that stood out to me while listening.

A modern day woman with a weak constitution, ’cause I’ve got
Monsters still under my bed that I could never fight off
A gatekeeper carelessly dropping the keys on my nights off

hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but I have it, Lana Del Rey

Wow is this title a mouthful, but it’s such a powerful title that I have to take the time to type the entire thing out each time. Not only is her voice so melodic and beautiful in this one (and every song on this album) but there is something to be said about the lyrics. It’s one thing to be a great vocalist but it’s another thing entirely to be a great songwriter as well as a vocalist. She and Jack Antonoff do a great job with this song.

And as the summer fades away
Nothing gold can stay

Venice B****, Lana Del Rey

This entire album seems to be a tour of nostalgia, traipsing different sounds and eras while remaining one cohesive collection. I recommend listening to the album in order for the first listen, then allowing the songs to play in shuffle the next time. In all honesty, each song should be on my super official ranking list but I had to pick which ones stood out to me for one reason or another. I don’t have anything negative to say about this album, if you liked her other music you will like this, and if you didn’t know her before you should definitely know her now.

What did you guys think of the album? Have you had a chance to listen to it yet?

2WAYMIRROR by Gabbie Hanna

Gabbie Hanna has a brand new EP titled 2WAYMIRROR, and I couldn’t wait to listen and review.

Since releasing “Out Loud” in 2017, Gabbie Hanna formerly known as thegabbieshow has been working to carve a place for herself amidst other musicians. Up until this point she has always released her work in the forms of singles, with the most recent being “Medicate.” As she’s learned more about the craft and more about her style and even her voice, one thing has remained the same; her ability to be vulnerable and give us lyrics that are raw.

If you listened to this album for the first time and forgot to take it off of shuffle, then you probably missed a few connecting points. I’m going to review this EP in the order of the items on it for the sake of doing it justice.

She Wrote It About You?

This first one is only 7 seconds long and it is a short clip of a conversation between two people, one of them saying “it’s called broken girls? she wrote it about you?” What is being said, while important, isn’t the main focal point here. It’s the fact that the beat playing in the background blends seamlessly into the next piece on this EP titled “Broken Girls.”

Broken Girls

This is one of my favorite songs by far with a lyric that says “you like broken girls because they make you feel put together.” The whole song sounds fun, it has an upbeat vibe to it and it’s the first time on this EP we hear the calling card for Gabbie; the distant repetition of lyrics as the beat continues. I’m sure many girls can relate to this song but I like that it doesn’t sound like she is angry, she’s just sizing someone up and explaining how they are.

Broken Boys

Another short piece, with Gabbie repeating “I like broken boys” that fades into another audio clip of two guys praising the song.

Butterflies

Having watched the video where she showed the writing process that went into this one, I was still pleasantly surprised by the final product. It has a really pretty sound that contradicts with the lyrics and that is what makes it so cool. It reminds me of the song by Twenty One Pilots “Not Today” from their Blurryface album. The lyric that stuck with me was “new situation with no expectations and you still managed to let me down.”

It’s Not Okay What I Did

Another short piece, with a guy telling Gabbie that what he did wasn’t okay but ending the clip with him saying that he loves her.

Perfect Day (A True Story)

So this one is my favorite. There, I said it. It starts off with her telling us the story of a perfect day they spent at the beach where she goes to take a shower and at one point she sees a message in the foggy mirror. Pause there. Up until this point, you can practically hear Gabbie smiling as she reminisces on everything that happened that led up to this moment. She asks “What did I do to deserve this?” in reference to how nice the day had gone and how happy she was. The message in the mirror said “I love you” but then the tone shifts, when she reveals that it wasn’t in his handwriting.

There’s a major shift in this moment because now she’s angry, angry at what happened but also that what could have been forever remembered as a perfect day was now ruined. She says “we ended on a perfect day.” I love this song so much because of the parallels, because the lyrics are still the same with “Because after all this time, you still give me butterflies” but now when she is singing them, she’s rightfully angry and just, it’s such a good song.

Pillowcase

This song has a cool sound to it and the beat is catchy. At this point, I’m still reeling from “Perfect Day” but I also didn’t fail to notice the nod to an upcoming song on the EP “Medicate.” I like the message behind this one because it shows Gabbie’s complexity and the polar opposites in her emotions.

Exhausted

Second to last audio clip and this one is just of Gabbie crying and explaining that she is “just f******* exhausted.”

Medicate

I like this song a lot, the beginning is really smart because she says “I’m unwell, thanks for asking.” It catches your attention from the jump because it wasn’t expected. Now, I’m biased because as a psych major I am very interested in the idea that this song is playing with. The idea of “killing sadness with science.” But there’s a line in this song that I thought was really striking, and it’s when she says “I worry I won’t be the same but I guess that is the point.” There’s a point where she is singing and it sounds like she is farther away again which causes this echo effect and I’ve really come to love that.

Chances

She’s explaining to someone that all she has done is give them chances and she keeps being let down. Something we can all relate to in one way or another.

Goodbye, For Now

When I first heard this song it immediately reminded me “Goodbye Until Tomorrow” from the musical The Last Five Years. I couldn’t get that connection out of my head. She says “make another first impression because it turns out I don’t know you all that well.” The idea of coming back to this person at another time when there isn’t so much baggage matches that of “Goodbye Until Tomorrow” because in the musical, this is the song where the beginning of their relationship meets the ending of the relationship and it just seemed to really resonate with “Goodbye, For Now.”

I’m Sorry

The last piece, another audio clip of the same guy just repeating that he was sorry.

My Closing Thoughts

A really good composition of pieces that fit together really nicely and tell a story that must have been really hard to go through. It’s gotta be hard to be that vulnerable in front of such a large audience but Gabbie does it beautifully.