Album Review: Lana Del Rey—“Honeymoon”

By Alexander Si

Lana Del Rey’s fourth album, Honeymoon, commences with a warning: “We both know that it’s not fashionable to love me.” Taking up where her 2014 album Ultraviolence left off, Honeymoon is both a ramification of the misery of the tragic relationship captured by that previous record and the start of a new romance. Like much of Del Rey’s work, it walks a tightrope; although initially the album cover and title leave an obvious impression of a young lady who is deeply in love, a different story is revealed once you put on the music and begin to scrutinize the lyrics.

Album art for Honeymoon

Album art for Honeymoon

The first single, “High by the Beach”, sets the tone of the album. In it, Del Rey describes a woman who, once madly in love, discovers that nothing that came from her lover’s mouth is true and is bent on seeking revenge. “Through the fire, we’re born again / Peace by vengeance brings the end”, she mutters in a monologue at the end of the song, revealing her devilish intentions. The reason for such behavior is expounded in the song “24”, where she implies that her boyfriend lied to her “half as many ways” as the number of hours in a day (hence the title). More explicitly, Del Rey rejects his stories with a vicious metaphor, singing, “if you lie down with dogs, you’ll get fleas”. Clearly, the singer is not satisfied with tears or apologies; if you break her heart then you are “bound to see my other side” (so goes a line from the record’s final track, a cover of Nina Simone’s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”). These themes appear in most of the songs, linking the album together and creating a narrative arc.

Looking back at Del Rey’s discography, she puts out an album each year – a tremendous speed of recoding. Though a lot of critics claims that her music all sounds similar, in retrospect, what lies under the homogeneity is the growth of a singer-songwriter. Her lyrics are much more telling and cohesive, her vocals now are much stronger compared to her infamous SNL fiasco.

As I take another look at the album cover, a sweet ingenue sitting on a tour bus, I don’t feel her sweetness and naivety anymore. After listened to the album thoroughly, I could not imagine what’s in this girl’s mind, blind love; hopeless romance; lies; vengeance; suicide; rebirth, I cringed a little. Lastly, Del Rey’s longtime friend James Franco mentioned this exact point to her: “the new album is a little less dark, but it is dark.” Lana gave a flawless answer that sums up everything: “so is life!” (Interscope)

Listen: “Music to Watch Boys To”

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