Album of the Week
Inside her brooding sixth album, Norman F***ing Rockwell.
Lana Del Rey is an enigma in comparison to her contemporaries, deliberately hiding away from the mainstream. Her private life is just that; private. Interviews are few and far between, and when they do appear they further cement her reserved nature. She gives little away, both on paper and on stage. Yet come her recent UK show announcement, it’s abundantly clear this seclusion has done little to effect her popularity. Selling out in minutes, fans queue around the block to be front and centre, a stone’s throw away from a vocalist so relatable in her introversion.
Fans arrive with gifts in tow. One stands at the front barrier holding a bouquet of flowers throughout Del Rey’s hour long set, eventually collected by the songstress as she greets her fans during the extended psych-rock outro of Off To The Races. There’s a patience and respect reserved for Del Rey that isn’t afforded to all. Her movements are minimal. Her interactions are subtle. But tonight’s packed out O2 Academy Brixton, lit in breathtakingly transformative lights, respond with an unparalleled awe.
The venue switches to an LA club interior, one with the same hedonistic undercurrent that runs throughout her music. Her backing vocalists double as sultry dancers. The backdrop morphs from false drapes to video depicting the minimalist summers from where Lana draws inspiration. It’s nostalgic for a time few in the room, not least Del Rey, experienced. Yet just like her drawn out, dream-like sound, it works. Together, everything harks of a melancholic west coast lifestyle. It’s equally beautiful as it is twisted. It’s stripped back, especially as she presents her new album’s (Lust For Life) lead single Love a cappella, but it’s also vastly theatrical.
Previous interviews have discussed her bittersweet attitude towards performing, but it’s this that creates a brilliant paradox. Lana Del Rey clearly thrives in smaller environments. Far from shy, there’s an understated confidence running throughout. Even when she stands alone on stage she looks undeniably comfortable. It’s not just in these moments that she becomes one with her fans.