Lana Del Rey


Ann Zhang, Reporter

Lizzie Grant, better known as Lana del Rey, has returned to dry our tears during the inevitable transition from summertime sadness to autumn-time agony. On August 30th, she released her latest album, Norman F—- Rockwell!. She also took a recent step into the world of not-so-sad-girl-music to collab with Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus in “Don’t Call Me Angel,” featured on the soundtrack for the upcoming Charlie’s Angels remake.

I cannot give you the best lyrics from NFR for language-related reasons, so instead, I present to you some pretty good lyrics, interspersed throughout my highly scientific observations.

Norman F—– Rockwell: Angst Score: 4/10

To my best knowledge, NFR’s title track is not actually about Norman Perceval Rockwell. The real Norman Rockwell was a twentieth-century painter, whereas Lana’s Norman Rockwell sounds like a contemporary English major (“Your poetry’s bad and you blame the news”). Regardless, the subject provides a bridge for Lana to relate to potential listeners; Abby Greenberg (‘20) recounts, “I, surprisingly, have never listened to a single Lana Del Rey song, but I, too, like NFR.”


Mariner’s Apartment Complex: Angst Score: 8/10

Lana dropped the music video — in black and white! — in September of last year, and fans rejoiced at their queen’s first sign of return. This song delves right into the angst with its opening line: “You took my sadness out of context / At the Mariner’s Apartment Complex.” In the chorus, Lana frequently repeats, “I’m your man,” which is simultaneously soothing and intimidating.


Venice B—: Angst Score: 6/10

This song lasts a glorious 9:37, albeit the latter six minutes are mostly bizarre guitar riffs and Lana crooning lyrics such as “Wha-wha-wha-wha-whatever / Everything, whatever.” While this is rather edgy, it does not embody the frustration of angst. Also, this is not Lana’s first experiment with duration; her music video for “Ride” (2012) crosses the ten-minute mark (including a monologue), and six out of the fourteen songs on NFR last over five minutes.


F— It I Love You: Angst Score: 5/10

My personal favorite track off the album, a large part due to this resonating turn of phrase: “I moved to California but it’s just a state of mind / It turns out everywhere you go, you take yourself, that’s not a lie.”


Doin’ Time: Angst Score: 3/10

The band Sublime released the original recording of this song in 1996, narrating a man’s thoughts as he tries to have a good time while coping with anger at his cheating girlfriend (“I’d like to hold her head underwater”). Note: Lana, being the queen she is, does not change the pronouns! The music video released last month, featuring a skyscraper-sized Lana strolling through the city and wreaking destruction. It’s a catchy song with surprisingly dark lyrics, but the opening marimba solo significantly reduces the angst factor here.


Love Song: Angst Score: 1/10

Vibes are fairly positive overall, reminiscent of high school dances. In sharp contrast to the paternal element of “Mariner’s Apartment Complex,” in “Love Song” Lana takes on a new role: “I’m your baby.”  Babies do not have angst.

Babies do not have angst.

— Ann Zhang


Cinnamon Girl: Angst Score: 10/10

The preceding trend of descending angst ends here, with the angstiest track on NFR. Absolutely gorgeous. It was not the lyrics alone which propelled this song to the championship title (“If you hold me without hurting me / You’ll be the first who ever did”), but the way that Lana sings them — delicately, desperately. To answer an inquiry raised by Lindley Morton (‘24) — “who lana del rey” — Lana del Rey is the Cinnamon Girl herself.


How to Disappear: Angst Score: 5/10

Points for angst: “John met me down on the boulevard / Cried on his shoulder ‘cause life is hard.” However, I cannot overlook the fact that Lana repeated a rhyme almost identical to her debut single (in “How to disappear,” “You just crack another beer / And pretend that you’re still here”; in “Video Games,” “Open up a beer / And you say get over here”). I suppose you begin to run out of words to rhyme after writing six albums, though.


California: Angst Score: 6/10

This song is about an ex-lover whom Lana is unlikely to encounter again. It mirrors Lana’s ultimate anthem of teenage angst, “Summertime Sadness” (2013); she begins both songs by counting: “1, 2, 3, 4….”


The Next Best American Record: Angst Score: 2/10

I subtracted angst points when Lana sang, “He was cool as heck.”


The Greatest: Angst Score: 3/10

I should clarify that I am identifying sad-girl angst as a specific subset of angst: puerile and misunderstood. While this song contains plenty of angst — “The greatest” turns out to mean “the greatest loss of them all” — I would classify its angst as a more jaded breed (“The culture is lit and I had a ball / I guess I’m signing off after all”). (Don’t worry, she’s set to release another album in 2020.)


Bartender: Angst Score: 2/10

Perhaps this song deserves more credit than I gave it, but I didn’t understand the vast majority of its allusions. Also, I felt mildly perturbed when Lana stretched the word “bartender” to five syllables by pronouncing it as “bar-t-t-tender.”

Serial killers are scary.

— Ann Zhang


Happiness is a Butterfly: Angst Score: 6/10

Underrated, but logically questionable (“If he’s a serial killer, then what’s the worst / That can happen to a girl who’s already hurt?”). Serial killers are scary.


Hope is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me To Have- But I Have it: Angst Score: 0/10

Lana ends the album on a high note (or a low note, angst-wise). In a melodically pleasing manner, Lana describes her character as “24/7 Sylvia Plath,” but then turns herself around towards the end of the chorus with a sophisticated observation: “Don’t ask if I’m happy, you know that I’m not / But at best, I can say I’m not sad.” This song sounds the final draft of a lot of NFR’s mediocre songs (“California,” “Bartender”); this is the good one. Title is an entire album in and of itself.