Song of the Day #4,192: ‘How to disappear’ – Lana Del Rey

Best Albums of the 2010s – #2
Norman Fucking Rockwell – Lana Del Rey (2019)

Lana Del Rey’s Norman Fucking Rockwell is the newest album on this list, having come out only a few months ago. I suppose that opens it up to potential recency bias, but its greatness is so undeniable I couldn’t stop myself from placing it this high.

Del Rey truly belongs to the past decade. Her hard-to-find self-titled debut dropped in 2010, and she’s released five brilliant albums about every other year since then, culminating in her finest work to date with Rockwell.

Her creative evolution is inspiring, and it’s heartening that critics are on board as well. When Born to Die was released in 2012, you were more likely to read snarky comments about Del Rey’s weird SNL performance than the greatness of her album.

But her reputation grew with each release, and this year more than a few media outlets hailed her as the best songwriter of a generation. Norman Fucking Rockwell showed up on top ten lists by mainstream and artsy critics alike.

Del Rey’s music has always felt a bit out of time, hearkening back to Hollywood glamour of the 40s and 50s. But she infuses those classical styles with a distinctly modern sensibility. She’s a millennial bomb-thrower in a vintage gown.

Norman Fucking Rockwell, its provocative title itself tweaking the idea of an idealized Americana past, is a blissfully sad soundtrack of the country under Trump. Del Rey never gets overtly political on the album, but references to arrogant man-babies and fires on the horizon feel just right for these casually apocalyptic times.

And her voice is as angelic and aching as ever, working with Jack Antonoff’s production to bring these great songs to beautiful life.

This is easily the album of the year, and one of the very best of the decade.

[Verse 1]
John met me down on the boulevard
Cried on his shoulder ’cause life is hard
The waves came in over my head
What you been up to, my baby?
Haven’t seen you ’round here lately
All of the guys tell me lies, but you don’t
You just crack another beer
And pretend that you’re still here

[Chorus]
This is how to disappear
This is how to disappear

[Verse 2]
Joe met me down at the training yard
Cuts on his face ’cause he fought too hard
I know he’s in over his head
But I love that man like nobody can
He moves mountains and pounds them to ground again
I watched the guys getting high as they fight
For the things that they hold dear
To forget the things they fear

[Chorus]
This is how to disappear
This is how to disappear

[Guitar Solo]

[Verse 3]
Now it’s been years since I left New York
I’ve got a kid and two cats in the yard
The California sun and the movie stars
I watch the skies getting light as I write
As I think about those years
As I whisper in your ear

[Outro]
I’m always going to be right here
No one’s going anywhere

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,192: ‘How to disappear’ – Lana Del Rey

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    “She’s a millennial bomb-thrower in a vintage gown.” Very nice turn of phrase.

  2. Peg says:

    I agree 😊

  3. The Cool Guy (Daniel) says:

    I had not heard this album yet but had heard many great things about it. This placement and glowing review was the push I needed. I listened to it about 3 times through on my plane ride to LA today. Soon to become one of my favorites as well. Venice B*tch and Doin’ Time have got to be the ones I love most on the album though I found new moments to enjoy in each song. I can’t wait to listen to this album more and can easily see why it is one of your favorites.

    Great lyrics, impeccable production, and her mellifluous voice are a killer combo. I will say though I’m glad that this album is getting the Grammy love it deserves that Taylor Swift’s album should be receiving similar love especially because some of the tracks on that record clearly emulate Lana very effectively such as False God.

  4. Peg says:

    New York Magazine has placed this album in its top ten for this year. At number 7 it says “like a Great American Novel, it opens in turbulance and closes on a glint of hope” Ends with “Imagine a Great Gatsby in which Jay skips town,mellows out, and enjoys his money in the Hollywood Hills” high praise indeed!

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