From the moment it was announced that Lana Del Rey’s next album was going to be called Norman Fucking Rockwell, ear-scorching lyrics were a given. Today, the promised record is out, and while its musical aesthetic is just as “laid-back California girl” as ever, the words are uncompromising. Every song seems to house its own bombshell; there’s not one that’s a casual listen, and the album’s beautiful genius makes it easily one of the year’s best.
Here are the most inspiringly jaw-dropping lyrics from every one of Norman Fucking Rockwell’s 14 songs.
“Norman Fucking Rockwell”
Goddamn, man-child / You fucked me so good that I almost said “I love you”
Del Rey comes out of the gate strong with this blistering judgment on a very, very bad guy; the song’s title references a classic vision of America that this album duly subverts and critiques.
“Mariners Apartment Complex”
You can see my heart burning in the distance / Baby, baby, baby, I’m your man
Once, her songs detailed heartbreak over men who’d leave a woman behind, but it feels like this time around, Del Rey is positioning herself as the locus of power. It’s a beautiful thing to see.
Oh, God, miss you on my lips / It’s me, your little Venice bitch
In an interview with Beats 1 Radio, the singer revealed that her decision to make this meandering, nine-and-a-half-minute-long song a single wasn’t exactly well-received by her team: “I was like, ‘Yeah, I think this is the single I wanna put out,’ and they were like, ‘It’s 10 minutes long, are you kidding me? It’s called ‘Venice Bitch,’ like...why do you do this to us?’”
“Fuck It I Love You”
I used to shoot up my veins in neon / And shit’s even brighter; you’re gone
While the drug reference here is provocative in an almost old-fashioned way, it’s the second half that’s more surprising, even affirming. Finally, the Lana Del Rey persona knows she doesn’t need that guy.
Summertime, and the livin’s easy / Bradley’s on the microphone with Ras MG
The reference to members of Sublime, whose song “Doin' Time” Del Rey covers here, is one of the few hints that this sultry, languid song isn’t an LDR original. Unless you were familiar with the original, you’d never guess.
You know that I’d just die to make you proud
Yes, here’s the fatalistic romantic we know and love.
Hold me, love me, touch me, help me / Be the first who ever did
As expected, there’s no shortage of heartbreak anthems on Norman Fucking Rockwell. These lines are delivered in a whispering falsetto that’s hard to make out, as if she can hardly bear to say it.
“How to Disappear”
Now it’s been years since I left New York / I’ve got a kid and two cats in the yard
On past albums, Del Rey has often evoked the femme fatale or the lost woman, so the opposite archetype—the girl who escaped the big city for a quieter life—seems even more restful in comparison.
I’ll pick you up / If you come back to America, just hit me up
Del Rey adds to the great canon of California songs with this wistful ballad entreating a former lover abroad to get in touch.
“The Next Best American Record”
We were so obsessed with writing the next best American record / ‘Cause we were just that good
This line feels piquant simply because Norman Fucking Rockwell is the real deal; it really is just that good.
The culture is lit, and if this is it‚ I had a ball / I guess that I’m burned out after all
If Del Rey was only deploying some slightly past-it slang, this might read as laughable. But it’s hard not to see “lit” in both its recent party sense as well as the more literal “the world is on fire” sense. It’s a phrase that captures millennial exhaustion with a dry, flammable wit.
You’ll just have to trust me on this one—it’s all about the delivery.
“Happiness Is a Butterfly”
If he’s a serial killer, then what’s the worst / That can happen to a girl who’s already hurt?
“Hope Is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me to Have—But I Have It”
Is there anything in recent pop music more delicate yet rousing than the defiance in that Dickinson-esque title? You’ll have to show it to me.
Norman Fucking Rockwell is out now.
Originally Appeared on Vogue