A Love Letter To: Lana Del Rey


Been listening to Norman Fucking Rockwell! on repeat? Same.

Rachel Lucy Shnapp pens a love letter to LDR, unpacking Lana’s poetry and urges us to lean into our romantic side.

Collage by Pamela Boland

Collage by Pamela Boland

By Rachel Lucy Shnapp

A Love Letter To: Lana Del Rey

This is my second piece of writing on Lana Del Rey, and I hope it won’t be my last. However, if my literary career begins and ends with singing her creative praises, then it will have been a satisfying one. 

To begin, I’ll offer a Brief Introduction As To Why Lana Del Rey Is A Creative Genius™. Firstly, her lyrics are uniquely poetic, so much so, that if I had first read them in my huge, bible-papered edition of the Norton Poetry Anthology, I wouldn’t bat an eyelid - a feat that multitudes of musicians are not quite able to achieve. She is able to dig deep into our memories, ones that you might not even realise that you crave and ignite a hot nostalgia for our own histories. 

Del Rey seduces her listeners with a dangerous and exciting lust for love; she does this through her heightened romanticising of adoration, of men, of California, of femininity - in a certain right. Her lyrics allow space for women to adore being women, to adore the feeling of love and lust and desire. (Disclaimer: I realise many of Del Rey’s lyrics could easily be construed as non-feminist, non-progressive, problematic… but let’s give women some creative licence and not hold them under scrutiny for a short minute, shall we?) Del Rey lets us indulge in romance in a way that we might not always feel we have time for in our busy, 21st century lives. 

Lana Del Rey’s newest album: Norman Fucking Rockwell! was released last night, and let me tell you, it does not disappoint. Having spent this summer re-listening to older Lana tracks, my only criticism of NFR! Is that didn’t drop sooner. The album begins with a song titled after the album and opens with: 

“Goddamn/man child/you fucked me so good that I almost said I love you.” 

Setting her anticipating listeners up to expect Lana’s usual romanticised, poetic flair, but this time from a more light-hearted, or comical seat. The entire album is like the soundtrack to your favourite movie that hasn’t been made yet. We can only pray that the whole thing will be Abba-fied and that Gia Copolla or Baz Lurhmann will jump in to build a musical/film around it.  

I often hear non-fans complain that Lana’s music is too winey, but I also hear people say that Virgin Suicides is too slow, that Pride and Prejudice is boring, that Lee Krasner’s paintings are a mess. There’s never been an artist that everyone loves. One of the greatest joys of art is the multitudes of different routes it can take people, the different impressions it leaves. Personally, Lana Del Rey pulls me into a shiny cream Cadillac speeding down a dusty pink highway with some gorgeous silver flecked man feeding me cherries as he drives. And if that’s the road Norman Fucking Rockwell! takes me down, it’s a road I’m willing to take.

Rachel Lucy Shnapp 

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