Lana Del Rey, Miss America and the ultimate beauty queen who is known for her grand prix album Born to Die which rocketed her onto the music scene in early 2012. Immediately her lyrics, music and melodies demanded attention, she was new, glamorous and emerged onto the scene with a diamond-encrusted tooth and long voluminous blonde hair. A beauty queen for the early 2010s. Ever since 2012, Lana Del Rey has successfully upheld her crown of reigning superior in the female-alternative artists, as she rightly should do.
Come 2015, the promiscuous and intriguing LA girl had vanished, the Born to Die era was a mere memory after the moody melancholic Ultraviolence era and now, 2015 birthed the Honeymoon era. In my opinion, this is Lana’s best album in every sense of the word. Lyrically it touches on themes of abuse, lust, tortured romance, bitterness and escapism; which is not out of the ordinary for Lana we knew. We frequently see these taboo themes make an appearance in her writing which has made her subject to critics and the public claiming she ‘glamourises pain and abuse’, which Del Rey herself addressed in a recent somewhat problematic and controversial Instagram post titled ‘Question for the Culture’. Critically her 2015 album was received well and was thought of her best album to date, but commercially it divided die-hard fans. Some felt let down by the whimsical, cinematic vibe and the return to baroque pop after such a dark and moody vibe from Ultraviolence, the drastic difference between the two albums did not sit well with the majority of the fans. Because of this many fans consider Honeymoon to be a flop, despite the beautifully poetical lyrics that elevated Lana Del Rey’s status from a singer-songwriter to poet. If there was one album I wished I had written myself, this would be it. The overwhelming cinematic vibe combined with blue-eyed soul and hypnotic haze is something only Lana is able to create.
The opening and title track to the album begins with striking and sweeping strings with stuttering snares that float through the background of the song, that simultaneously goes almost unnoticed but demands you pay attention to the musical arrangements. The romance sung about in the title track is closer to addiction than a healthy romance, as she lustfully and breathily pleads ‘Our Honeymoon, say you want me too’ is close to Brian Wilson singing ‘We could be married and then we’d be happy’. The track ‘Honeymoon’ flirts with the bleak space between dreaming and reality as does the rest of the album as the haze is stretched throughout all fourteen tracks.
It’s clear Lana has taken outside influences for this album, the third track ‘Terrence Loves You’, one of the tracks that almost reaches the five minutes mark, features stark and obvious references to David Bowie‘s ‘Space Oddity‘ through her lyrics “Ground Control to Major Tom, can you hear me all night long?” The bridge, in which the lyrics feature is delivered in an operatic style and paired with lilting saxophone pays homage to Bowie’s legacy and his influence on Lana’s music. The tenth track on the album ‘Salvatore’ seems to evoke 1940s Frank Sinatra via the Italian coast, as she sings about soft ice cream, tangerine dreams and verses in Italian the song is very much the follow up to ‘Summertime Sadness’ as the lyrics ‘Summer’s hot but I’ve been cold without you’ implies. The nostalgic and past influences carry on and we see the first glimpse of Lana’s fascination in poetry in an interlude track ‘Burt Norton’ by TS Eliot which foreshadows the 2020 release of her poetry book. The closing track, a Nina Simone cover of ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ is the epitome of nostalgia the Nina Simone track was originally recorded in 1964 which corroborates with Lana’s attitude towards the 50s/60s/70s in that she feels like she was there and has some connection to those eras in time.
If you think all Lana Del Rey’s music is depressing and melancholic then I invite you to listen to this album, for there is no doubt in my mind that your opinion of her music will change. This album is an artwork in its purest form and Lana is creating a legacy for herself in the form of cinematic explosions and tones she will be heard and she will be appreciated for her contribution to the culture.
Watch the video for the album’s lead single ‘High By The Beach’ below: