This track is named after the American painter and illustrator Norman Rockwell (1894-1978). However, the subject of the song is Lana Del Rey's immature but creative boyfriend.
Your poetry's bad and you blame the news
But I can't change that, and I can't change your mood
Del Rey's beau is a depressive and his blue moods have an infectious effect on the singer.
Your head in your hands
As you color me blue
Like Del Rey's boyfriend, Rockwell also had issues with depression.
Del Rey wrote this study of an inflated ego with Jack Antonoff; it was one of the 11 songs they penned together for the album. Speaking with Apple Music's Zane Lowe, Del Rey said working with Antonoff allowed her to take her subjects less seriously. "He was so funny," she said.
"It's about this guy who is such a genius artist, but he thinks he's the s--t and he knows it," the singer added about this song. "So often I end up with these creative types. They just go on and on about themselves and I'm like, 'Yeah, yeah.' But there's merit to it also - they are so good."
Del Rey named the album Norman F---ing Rockwell! because she liked the name. "There is something familiar about the name, nostalgia in a couple words I suppose," the singer explained on KROQ's The Kevin and Bean Show. "And then I like the f---ing in the middle. Just to let you know there's a little bit of lightness somewhere in the album."
Rockwell's name is not actually mentioned in the lyrics, but Del Rey does namecheck him on another of the album's tracks: On "Venice Bitch
" she sings:Paint me happy and blue
The cover art features Del Rey and actor Duke Nicholson, the grandson of Jack Nicholson, posing on a boat. The singer's sister, Chuck Grant, is behind the lens.
Want some songs inspired by Norman Rockwell's paintings? Check out The Fray's "The Fighter
" and Our Lady Peace's "Dreamland
Norman F---ing Rockwell! was music critics' favorite album of 2019. In a chart compiled by the BBC from 30 end-of-year lists published by the world's most influential music magazines, newspapers, blogs and broadcasters, it rose above the competition. The record itself topped three of the end-of-year lists: Q Magazine, The Guardian and Pitchfork.