MUSIC

A Brand-New Song, and All the Snippets Lana Del Rey Has Released from "Norman F**king Rockwell"

Fans are calling this the "messiest" Lana era ever. But it also could be the best, judging by the quality of the music. Here's everything we know.

In January 2019, Lana Del Rey told the world that her sixth album, Norman F**king Rockwell, was complete.

Since then, she's teased dozens of songs and visual clips—but the album's release date remains elusive, infuriating legions of devoted fans.

It's unclear whether the album is still undergoing a prolonged period of revision, if she's decided to scrap the whole thing, or if it's all beyond her control, though it's always hard to know with Del Rey, who has never been one to follow rules. Still, she's certainly given fans a fair amount of teasers to hold them over in the interim. Here's a timeline of every quote, whispered clip, and blurry visual we have so far.

In January 2018, in an interview with Pitchfork, Lana mentioned that one of her newest songs was called "Bartender," and described it as "super weird."

Then on February 25, Del Rey uploaded a video that featured her hanging out with Jack Antonoff, prompting later-confirmed suspicion that they were working together on a new project.

Lana Del Rey hanging out in the studio with Jack Antonoff www.youtube.com

On February 28, Del Rey visited the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, where she began writing a song called "Starry Eyed" on ukulele, which she promised to finish and dedicate to the foundation; it's also unclear whether this song will be on the album.

Live in Seacrest Studios with Lana Del Rey www.youtube.com

On March 5, 2018, Del Rey first teased the lyrics of a song called "Happiness is a Butterfly," a lullaby-like sigh of a track that has continued to reappear throughout Norman Fucking Rockwell's forked pathway to release. On March 30, she released a snippet of the song on Instagram, which she later removed and then un-archived.

On June 12, MTV released a list of upcoming albums, which featured an obviously false March 29 release date for Norman Fucking Rockwell.

A few months later, Del Rey teased and then premiered the psychedelic, Leonard-Cohen-quoting "Mariner's Apartment Complex," which was released on September 12.

Lana Del Rey singing Mariners Apartment Complex acapella www.youtube.com


Lana Del Rey - Mariners Apartment Complex www.youtube.com

Then on September 18, she released the equally trippy, luxurious "Venice Bitch" on an interview with Zane Lowe for Beats 1. [links] Regarding the song's length, Del Rey said, "I played it for my managers and I was like, 'Yeah, I think this is the single I want to 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? Can you make a three-minute normal pop song?' I was like, 'Well, end of summer, some people just wanna drive around for 10 minutes [and] get lost in some electric guitar.'"

Lana Del Rey - Venice Bitch www.youtube.com

In the same Zane Lowe interview, Del Rey also said, "Working with Jack [Antonoff], I was in a little bit of a lighter mood because he was so funny. So the title track is called 'Norman Fucking Rockwell' and it's kind of about this guy who is such a genius artist but he thinks he's the shit and he knows it and he, like, won't shut up talking about it… I just like the title track so much that I was like, 'OK, I definitely want the record to also be called that."

Several music sites later reported that these singles were "fan singles" and would not be on the actual album, though Del Rey has not confirmed this speculation.

Then on October 4, Del Rey posted an extended video of "How to Disappear," which she later deleted and subsequently unarchived.

Lana Del Rey - How to Disappear (Snippet) (Instagram Video) www.youtube.com

On October 12, Del Rey posted a clip of her singing a song called "Cinnamon" on Instagram, which she later deleted and then reposted as well.

In response, a fan Instagram account posted a 2017 quote from an interview with Pitchfork where Lana stated, "I had some people in my life that made me a worse person. I was not sure if I could step out of that box of familiarity, which was having a lot of people around me who had a lot of problems and feeling like that was home base. Because it's all I know. I spent my whole life reasoning with crazy people. I felt like everyone deserved a chance, but they don't. Sometimes you just have to step away without saying anything."

Del Rey commented on the post, "the quote [from Pitchfork] is a perfect quote to go along with cinnamon [sic]. Some people don't deserve a chance."

On October 30, Del Rey performed "How to Disappear" and "Venice Bitch" at an Apple special event in Brooklyn, a show that was widely praised by fans including CEO Tim Cook.

Lana Del Rey - How to Disappear and Venice Bitch Live at Apple Event 2018 www.youtube.com

She also released the full audio for "How to Disappear."

Lana Del Rey - How To Disappear (Official Audio) www.youtube.com

On December 5, she officially announced the album's title at Jack Antonoff's concert for the Ally Foundation and performed two country songs which she announced would not be on the new album.

Lana Del Rey - Hey Blue Baby [Live at Ally Coalition Talent Show] www.youtube.com


Lana Del Rey and Jack Antonoff - Ally Coalition Talent Show “I Must Be Stupid For Feeling So Happy" www.youtube.com

On January 1, 2019, Del Rey posted a video of her singing along to a song called "In Your Car," featuring the lyrics "In your car / I'm a star / and I'm burning through you."

Lana Del Rey teases new song "In Your Car" on her Instagram (Snippet) www.youtube.com

The next day, she posted the audio for her song "Hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have — but I have it."

Lana Del Rey - hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have - but i have it www.youtube.com

Producer Jack Antonoff tweeted his support, advising fans to "listen at night alone."

Then on January 11, 2019, she released an extended clip of a video for "Happiness is a Butterfly," which used the same visuals she had previously released alongside teasers for "Mariner's Apartment Complex" and "Venice Bitch." The video, relatively dreary and mellow compared to Del Rey's earlier work, featured Ashley Rodriguez and Alexandria Kaye and was directed by Lana Del Rey's sister Chuck Grant.

On March 23, 2019, Del Rey performed "Mariner's Apartment Complex" live for the first time in New Orleans, taking to an onstage swing and thanking the audience for "indulging [her] little folk sensibility" in the process.

Lana Del Rey @ Buku 2019 (Mariners Apartment Complex, Video Games, High by the Beach) www.youtube.com

Most recently, on April 3, 2019, Del Rey posted a snippet of a song that fans have named "You Don't Ever Have To." Some fans speculated that it's a part of "In Your Car," but this remains unknown.

In the midst of it all, she also released a Gucci ad with Jared Leto and has been teasing a book of her poetry, periodically releasing haikus and typewritten pages and even putting out a call for indie bookstores who might want to sell it. When asked about the price, Del Rey said that the book will cost $1, because "my words are priceless."

It's anyone's guess as to when Norman F**king Rockwell will drop, but Del Rey has always been adept at draping all of her work in auras of mystery. She's a master of contrasts, always throwing critics for a loop by combining kitsch and rawness, strength and vulnerability, apathy and passion. She's also always been great at making us wonder about the extent to which her appearance and art have been meticulously manufactured.

Maybe she's leaving a paper trail of sorts that resembles her own fractured consciousness. Maybe she's painting our schizophrenic reality, one defined by upheaval and exponential technological innovation. Or maybe she's just a free spirit whose artistic vision "gets messy" when it comes in contact with reality, as a friend once said.

Regardless, judging by the quality of the fragments that we do have, when the album finally does appear, it'll have been worth the wait.


Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York City. Find her on Twitter @edenarielmusic.


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You know those movies that have been parodied, memed, and referenced so much that you feel like you've seen them–but you never have and, honestly, why would you bother?

You know that at the end of Taxi Driver Travis Bickle may or may not hallucinate a violent episode, and you've seen people dress up in Robert De Niro's utility jacket, black shades, and weird Roman soldier haircut at every Halloween party you've ever attended. You know that Scarface's Tony Montana screams, "Say hello to my little friend" while wearing a suit with giant lapels and holding a machine gun. How do you know this? No, you've never seen the movie; the fact is that the sheer masterpiece of a few key scenes capturing the climax of a film can overshadow the entire production. Sure, you want to sit down to watch them "one day," but you just never get around to it.

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MUSIC

Cry at Parties, and Other Ways to Become One of Jack Antonoff’s Female Collaborators

He's worked with Lorde, Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, Tegan and Sara, and Carly Rae Jepsen. Here's how to be next.

Jack Antonoff is one of the thousands (millions?) of Brooklyn-based male producers, but unlike most, he has worked with some of pop music's most fascinating female artists—including Lana Del Rey, whose Norman Fucking Rockwell will be coming out at some point this spring (release date still TBD).

He has also collaborated with Tegan and Sara, Sara Bareilles, Christina Perri, Grimes, Sia, Fifth Harmony, Banks, and P!nk, and recently expressed interest in working with Kesha and Julien Baker. His ever-growing list of widely loved female collaborators has begun to provoke resistance, like Noisey's JACK ANTONOFF YOU STAY AWAY FROM THE DIXIE CHICKS.

Although these artists all have different sounds, they are eerily similar in many ways, belying an underlying method to this Antonoffian madness. Here are some of the requirements for his typical collaborators.

1. Be the subject of thousands of thinkpieces

If there's one thing that Lana Del Rey and Taylor Swift have in common, it's that they've made people really angry—and very inspired to write about it. From Lana Del Rey's disastrous SNL performance and the subsequent neverending storm of outraged blog posts to Taylor Swift becoming the face of white feminism (alongside Lena Dunham—Antonoff's ex), Antonoff seems to go for singularly contentious figures.

Marina, too?
Image via exclaim.ca

Upon the release of "Look What You Made Me Do," Antonoff excitedly told The Guardian, "I remember saying: this is going to make thinkpieces on thinkpieces on thinkpieces!" Although Lorde hasn't provoked quite as much rage as those two, she's been spawning conspiracy theories since the release of "Royals". And let's not even start on the Grimes Internet storm following the Met Gala.

2. Have personal autonomy and/or some element of indie cred

Taylor Swift might be the exception to this rule, but across the board, Antonoff has chosen to work with artists who maintain some credit in alternative spheres, or who possess some level personal autonomy (just listen to Sara Bareilles's "Brave"). He seems to prefer collaboration rather than writing on his own or jumping on a track after it's done. He also seems to work with artists who refuse overtly sexualized imagery. In fact, most of Antonoff's collaborators are hugely successful female artists who satirize or subvert the archetypically scantily clad, shallow, love song-spouting popstar image (at least during their time with him; the promotional content for Norman Fucking Rockwell has all featured a makeup-free, T-shirt-wearing Lana Del Rey). For better or for worse, he seems to attract women who write their own words and emphasize their independence, whether they identify as feminists or not.

Lana Del Rey - How to Disappear and Venice Bitch Live at Apple Event 2018 www.youtube.com

3. Be cool with commuting to Brooklyn

Antonoff doesn't come to you; you come to his Brooklyn studio. Maybe this is part of his brand, for Antonoff seems to have crafted a niche for himself as the go-to producer for those looking to avoid LA's impersonality; he's even been called the "antidote to Dr. Luke." This affection for homeyness seems to extend to his preferred working environment—his studio, which he modeled after his childhood bedroom, right down to the wallpaper printed with tigers.

Antonoff in the studio; note the tigersImage via soundonsound.com

4. Write about parties, but in a dark, jaded way

What do Lorde's Melodrama and St. Vincent's Masseduction have in common? They're both about hedonistic cultures of excess—but viewed from the sidelines, through waves of smoke and exhaustion. Melodrama takes the listener through a single party whereas Masseduction takes on Los Angeles's culture of pills and plastic surgery, but both lean into the glamour of these settings while observing them through a lens of wearied experience. Similarly, Lana Del Rey has always written about the dark sides of drugs, men, and bohemian freedom, and Banks' "Crowded Places" oscillates between love for performing and a fear of crowds. This fascination with the seam between abandon and the desire to escape it seems like a running theme for Antonoff, starting back with "We Are Young."

BANKS - Crowded Places (Visualizer) www.youtube.com

5. Be willing to pour your heart out

In 2017, Antonoff told the Ringer that he starts his songwriting sessions with the question, "What's the worst thing that ever happened to you?" This has proven fruitful; Lana Del Rey described her forthcoming album as more "sad girl shit." Antonoff hasn't yet worked with Julien Baker, but she writes some of the saddest songs around; he clearly has a thing for emotional honesty.

JACK ANTONOFF YOU STAY AWAY FROM JULIEN BAKER.
www.youtube.com

6. Love synthesizers

Antonoff's music production is defined by a mix of acoustic and electronic instrumentation and slick beats cast against rougher vintage sounds, but there's nothing he loves more than a good synth, preferably sent through a lot of filters. Describing Masseduction, he said that the album is a "push and pull of wild, synthetic sounds and deeply personal organic sounds." He can create huge soundscapes or strip back to nothing but a voice and piano, but there are always those synths somewhere in the background, waiting to launch any track to high drama.

St. Vincent - Masseduction www.youtube.com

7. Be straight, white, and feminine

Jack Antonoff has primarily chosen to work with conventionally attractive, straight white women. While women in music are still underrepresented, on the whole, white women have the easiest time making it by far; and traditional beauty standards are still unfortunate and damaging requirements for many women looking to break into the pop sphere.

Based on this algorithm, Billie Eilish, Fiona Apple, Halsey, or Ariana Grande could be next, and Demi Lovato, Lady Gaga, Maggie Rogers, and Kacey Musgraves are also fair game. Why does he choose to work with these kinds of people? Is there something Freudian going on here? "I just want to be around women," he said in a Pitchfork interview. "It's not a sex thing — I'm heterosexual, but it's not coming from any place like that. It's just a comfort thing."

Ultimately, it's annoying that the music Jack Antonoff makes is so fucking good. If it weren't, his invasive presence beside some of the industry's most talented women would be insufferable. No matter how much he insists that his motives are pure, it's easy to intuit that there could be something off about the whole nice guy schtick, something underlying one man's desire to draw confessional narratives from and to produce music alone with so many women.

All that is speculation, but there is also a very long, real history of women's achievements in music being attributed to men. When it comes down to it, in spite of their superficial similarities, each of these women is a uniquely talented innovator and visionary, and each is the primary creator and orchestrator of her story.

And in the end, none of this matters when you're experiencing their music like it's meant to be experienced—falling into the neon blue pool of overwhelming beauty that is "Sober II" or crying at a party to "Mariners Apartment Complex" while slow-dancing with your half-drunk glass of wine.

Lana Del Rey - Mariners Apartment Complex www.youtube.com


Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @edenarielmusic.


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