Lana Del Ray’s Honeymoon Deliciously Dark

Lana+Del+Ray%27s+Honeymoon+Deliciously+Dark

Photograph: Neil Krug

James Bouffard, Staff Writer/Critic

Pop music is often a wasteland, consisting of little but empty and moronic babbling, with the charts being dominated by whoever excites the most hormones or engages in exhibitionism,

Lana Del Rey  presents an alternative to this.

She embraces everything vintage and decadent, without ever sinking into self-degradation; while doing so, she has created her own style, which she refers to as “gangsta Frank Sinatra”. Her new album Honeymoon, which debuted on September 18th, takes this style in a dark direction.

Starting with its’ title track, Honeymoon proceeds to deliver over an hour of the beautiful, cinematic, and nostalgic music that characterizes Del Rey’s work. More so than her previous three albums, it is a collection of torch songs which ooze melancholy and heartbreak. Most of the songs have some degree of attitude, unrequited love or loss. Throughout, Del Rey has a consistent lyrical and emotional voice. Honeymoon is like a concept album in that it seems to have a narrator, and taken as a whole, it brings the listener into a world of Del Rey’s creation. It is full of glamour and nostalgia like all of her other work, but is more personal and depression tinted.

Yet,  it does not become monotonous. There are a  variety of musical influences and styles featured. There is the catchy, synth-driven “High by the Beach”, the spicy and operatic “Salvatore”, and the mellow but sad “Religion”. Del Rey’s vocals are also one of the strongest points. Her smoky, lounge singer voice has a powerful ability to convey emotion, which is aided by her impressive range.

However, a general weakness in Honeymoon is self-indulgence. It is fairly long and occasionally pretentious, with heavy orchestration at points and the song “Burn Norton (Interlude)” being nothing but Del Rey showing off by reciting T.S. Eliot. The theme of heartbreak also raises a few lyrical problems as Del Rey can come across as self-absorbed and sentimental.

Honeymoon remains a very strong album, though. It may be self-indulgent, but it’s also noirish and poignant. Del Rey explores dark subject matter with eloquence and style. Her music embodies sadness and longing, but it never becomes repulsive or tiresome. Honeymoon is a genuinely unusual album in that it is consistent in mood but varied in style, which separates Del Rey from the mass of other popular artists.

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