Lana Del Rey has once again brought effortless glamour to the charts with her follow up album to Ultraviolence (2014). It is evident that Del Rey has found her niche in the industry with her fourth album as a classic, sophisticated, old Hollywood style icon, producing songs overflowing with euphoric smoothness. Obviously Lana Del Rey knows that this ethereal vibe works, as Honeymoon has barely wavered at all from the sounds produced in Ultraviolence; many of the songs in the album slur and merge together into one indistinctive sound, but perhaps that is to be expected from two albums being created and released within a year of each other, leaving not enough time for exploration.
Del Rey’s singing is classically natural, soft and beautiful, creating a feeling of innocence but is also deeply veined with the sad and painful experiences of life, perfectly expressed in the powerful lyrics. When listening, for example, to ‘God Knows I’ve Tried’ loudly with headphones on, it is virtually impossible to not get completely surrounded and absorbed by the quality of the lyrics and the music production; it is uplifting, “let there be light…light up life” yet melancholy in the chord progression and bare-boned minimalist guitar riffs. It feels as though throughout most of the songs, Lana pours out pain and anguish, but weaves and balances these emotions carefully with the positive experiences of life, such as love.
More aspects of life are introduced with religious symbolism evident throughout, especially in ‘God Knows I’ve Tried’ and the word “hallelujah” resonating endlessly in the 9th track, ‘Religion’. Here, Lana mingles drugs, religious thought, money and glamour in a juxtapositional sentiment that seems to work when put together. Delicate yet powerful, cool but not try-hard, she successfully emits the Hollywood glamour that has been lacking in the music industry for so long.
‘High by the Beach’ creates a much more pop-infused vibe, enabling Lana to own her place in the album charts. This track is something that is more welcome in a dance setting, it is more accessible, more repetitive and leaves one with less to think about, rather than the more serene informality of the other more gentle, deep songs.
The quality and strength, for example, in ‘Salvatore’, feels as though it’s been deliberating produced for a romantic, old-school Italian set vintage film rather than a indie-pop album. Similarly, Del Rey surprises by subtly channeling Bowie in ‘Terrence Loves You’ with the lyrics “ground control to major Tom” appearing in the verse, and with reworking the cover of Nina Simone’s ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’ she perfectly draws this mystical and relaxed, fourth album to a close. Honeymoon is definitely an album to explore, with much to experience.