Album-Review: Lana del Rey – Honeymoon

Here is the long-awaited third album by Lana Del Rey, the artist that was destined to make alternative music, but ended up seducing the whole world with a unique, silky and dramatic universe, cradled in the legacy of Nancy Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe, and the pictures of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Easy Rider.

Yet, upon setting the stage so well along her first two albums, Lana decided this was no longer enough. For Honeymoon is not quite the resembling little brother of the previous two albums.

This album is sadness.

Admittedly, most of Lana Del Rey’s songs were already very inclined to the melancholy side of summer, and never exactly the happy kind of tunes.
But this whole album feels like a long, stretched version of Dark Paradise (see Lana’s first album Paradise). Either Lana has been through a really shitty break up, or she has a good imagination (I’d bet for the first option).
And where before we used to follow her being sad in the pool, sad at the beach, and sad in rich old guys’ limousines, now we follow her being sad while being sad, as she listens to Billie Holiday while we listen to her.
There are of course remains of Lana Del Rey’s former fantasies here and there, using the keywords that always work, just like in the title of the track “High by the Beach” or the lyrics of “Music to Watch the Boys to”: “Nothing gold can stay, Like love or lemonade”.
But all in all, these bits feel a bit forced, added by necessity to match the original concept. The songs that feel more natural are the likes of “God Knows I Tried” or “The Blackest Day”. Plain and simple sadness. Much more minimalistic than usual. Much less of the shiny 50s pin-up, rock and roll and coca cola spirit.

Of course, one can still imagine Lana singing in a dark seedy club, wrapped in a long sparkling red dress, her hair put up and her lips blood red on “24”, but it feels highly, highly unnecessary. The sparkles fell down here and there, the fake eyelashes were left behind.
More than often, it feels like going back home from the nightclub, late at night, alone. It feels like stopping on a bridge, on the way home, while the city is a little more silent than usual, and sit down on the border, for a little while, or a little longer.

“I will never sing again, with just one wave it goes away. It will be our swan song”

It’s as if Lana would have gone all Marilyn Manson, Eat Me Drink Me era, but in her own style. The songs are darker, the lyrics darker, and the words serve much less as an analogy with the fantasy 50s world of the previous album, rather as plain sad, break-up lyrics.
“The Blackest Day”, “Swan Song”: definitely Lana Del Rey songs, but very different, very simple, and very dark.

The album ends on a cover of the song “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by Nina Simone, which feels like a goodbye song. We could lend a lot of sense to this choice of closure song for the album. One could think that in some depressed states, one goes back to their favourite melancholic songs rather than make some.
Or we could imagine that Lana lent her face too long to a fantasy that was pleasant, but that was not everything that she really is, and she no longer wants to be just that. Or she just likes the song.

This album’s major drawback is that most of the songs sound the same, as previously said, like an outstretched, 1h version of Dark Paradise. Yet the writing style is different, the songs are interesting even though in a similar tone, and it is a slightly different side of Lana Del Rey that we discover with Honeymoon. “The Blackest Day” alone is worth the discovery.

Killer songs:
“God Knows I Tried”
“The Blackest Day”
“Swan Song”
“Music to Watch the Boys To”

Review by Marie Lando.