*Disclaimer: I’m using the abbreviation of the album’s title in this blog post. Just for clarification.*
I’ve never been one to obsess over the West Coast or dream of living on the beaches of Malibu. In fact, I typically wish I was in a cozy NYC loft or strolling through Central Park.
But Lana Del Rey’s latest release has me wishing I spent all summer laying on the beach in Cali with the warm sunlight peeking through pollution.
Or spending summer nights indulging in the luxe life at the Chateau Marmont.
Or maybe towering over the city of Los Angeles, as Lana does in her vintage film-inspired music video for Doin’ Time. Nevertheless, my cat eye sunglasses only magnify the vibes this album exudes, as I listen and daydream of a fantasy summer filled with heartbreak and lost romance.
In 2013-2014, I was obsessed with Lana. I bought flower crowns from Forever 21 to match her Born To Die aesthetic, and I thought I was the coolest kid in school (I can assure you, I was most definitely not).
As time passed, either I “outgrew” her or her albums got progressively worse. So, I just kind of stopped listening to her. But now she’s back with another album.
And I can’t stop listening to it.
NFR!–Lana Del Rey’s newest release–is a dreamy, hazy mix of songs about her former summer lover(s) and her new life in L.A.
Behind the Album
NFR! is Del Rey’s sixth studio album, produced with the help of Jack Antonoff, frontman of Bleachers.
It’s no secret that Del Rey tends to include American cultural references into all her albums, and this album is no different. Instead of paying homage to the cherry pie and retro red lipstick (or being the “classic” Americana diva), she chooses to use this album as a sort of mourning of American culture.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Lana explores the meaning behind her latest aesthetic. “The chaos of the [current] culture is interesting, and I’m hopeful that there’s room for there to be some movement and excitement within it.”
NPR music critic Ann Powers claimed that “On NFR! Del Rey is at her most instantly compelling, a pro asserting her future spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”
As Time magazine points out, Del Rey’s voice is extremely unique. “She laments, stretching out the final word ominously, amid verses that enumerate the things she misses: Long Beach, New York, idleness and, somehow most chillingly, rock ‘n’ roll.”
My Thoughts? Lana is the epitome of the next internet sensation: Sad Girl Fall.
The title track opens with an instrumental swell that is soft and sweet, setting up the scene for the rest of the album. The lyrics, however, are harsh and crude against the instrumentals, giving the entire album an interesting contrast.
While I love the sound of the album, my one complaint is that most of the songs sound the same (as it goes with indie pop I suppose). Nonetheless, listening to her album was a serendipitous moment. I wasn’t expecting much, and she really outdid her previous albums.
Fave song: Mariner’s Apartment Complex or Doin’ Time
Least Fave: Bartender
Overall, I give this album an 8.5/10. The last half of the album was less impressive than the first half, but Lana still manages to top all her previous work with NFR!
What did you think of the album? Leave a comment below!