[Ellis O’Connell | Contributing Writer]
America’s resident aura of beautiful melancholy Lana Del Rey released her third studio album Honeymoon back in September, and it’s magical. You’d think that there wouldn’t be anything sad enough left in the world for Del Rey to grasp on to. You’d think wrong, but it’s fantastic.
A year later, and a clear step up from her previous efforts, Del Rey has created an extremely cohesive body of work that evokes her oh-so-familiar themes of wilted romance, escapism and bitterness. Keeping up the ‘usual’ sad-but-lustful persona, Honeymoon oozes enough noir-esque and dream-pop characteristics for listeners to sink their teeth into.
It’s tracks like the jazz-influenced, piano ballad ‘Terrence Loves You’ that really hold the album up, with Del Rey’s lustful-but-mournful, self-loathing character claiming she “lost myself when I lost you.” Possibly the most-catchy song Del Rey has ever produced, first single ‘High by the Beach’ is a baroque, trap-pop track that oozes a rich combination of synth and orchestral sounds. “All I wanna do is get high by the beach,” she moans. Scarily close to a Bond theme, ’24’ tells us of an antagonist that recognises “There’s only 24 hours in a day” but spends “half” of them thinking “of murder and carnage.” But It’s fan-favourite ‘Music to Watch Boys To’ that really seals the deal. The candid, self-explanatory track has Del Rey, unsurprisingly, falling head over heels for boys that can sing ‘soft-grunge’ whilst “playing their guitars.” All of the tracks compliment one another harmoniously, making for a truly cohesive, succinct body of work.
In fact, Honeymoon is so cohesive that you can listen to it in one, 14-track swoop without realising where one ends and another begins. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing; Del Rey gives us an easy listen intertwined with deeper meaning. Del Rey has finally come into her own with Honeymoon. The third Lana Del Rey album could be the most Lana Del Rey album we’ve ever had.
It seems to be the case that when analysing Del Rey, there are always two sides. You can be cynical and take the “oh my god, she’s so sad and try-hard”, antagonistic route, with Del Rey only focusing on the curb appeal of her work. Or, you could pause and explore Honeymoon’s depth, Del Rey’s volatile character and the production, both vocal and instrumental, that Honeymoon has to offer. And credit where credit’s due; Del Rey has actually used the same font for the covers of three album which is rather impressive. The last track on the album is a cover of Nina Simone’s ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’. Acting as a macrocosm for the entirety of Honeymoon, somehow, I don’t think Del Rey will be this time.
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