Lana Del Rey, the created alias of Elizabeth Grant, comes from the exact moment where the demure and formal side of 1960s gave way to the drug abundant days of mafia-men and gangsters. Honeymoon explores the her usual themes of unhappiness, the unwanted melancholiness garnered from fame, loving dangerous people, and indeed loneliness. The execution, however, combining a few elements from her previous albums Born to Die and Ultraviolence, is different.
Musically, the tracks definitely feel solitary, production personnel numbering only three (one being Del Rey herself) – look at the context of the album too, with its extremely low-key press release, and it all circles round to reminding us how little we truly know about the Del Rey or indeed Grant.
The title-track opens up the album, and indeed sets the structure for most of the songs on the album – dreamy-strings throw tense and sultry images into your mind, piano and bass providing barely-there backing, and the multi-layered backing vocals of the chorus, sighing “Our honeymoon”, really sends a chill up the spine. It’s cinematic, filmic, dripping Bond-esque qualities everywhere.
“We both know the history of violence that surrounds you
But I’m not scared, there’s nothing to lose now that I’ve found you”
Changes of pace come in tracks like ‘High by the Beach’ and ‘Freak’ – a trap hip-hop beat underlies the former, a different motif than the tracks that preceded it, and it’s somewhat jarring to those who aren’t expecting the throwback to Del Rey’s second album Born to Die. The trademark despondent lyrics are there, evoking despair as she sings “It’s so surreal, I can’t survive, if this is all that’s real”. The latter brings in a much more prominent bass than we hear on the rest of the tracks, though the California themes resonate with others like the haunting ‘God Knows I Tried’.
What was also slightly out of place was the interlude, ‘Burnt Norton’, an etheral telling of the T.S Eliot poem which doesn’t quite work due to Del Rey’s very clean voice.
Honeymoon is definitely not a bad album, but it’s not “very different” (as was billed) from Lana Del Rey’s previous records; indeed, it’s hard to call her original – but, at the same time, you can’t really compare her to any other artist around today. Those who are already fans of her’s will most definitely welcome her intoxicating and relaxed vocals, evoking smoke-filled bars of decades past – for some, the persona might be starting to get old, but for others such as myself, Del Rey pulls off what she does with such conviction that sometimes you wonder if Elizabeth Grant feels bored and blue too.
This article was written by Mo Hafeez