The Critics Corner | Albums

Honeymoon Superstar's third album showcases her not-so-sweet side and best stuff
Alan HopAlbum name: Honeymoon
Label: Polydor/Interscope
Release Date: September 18, 2015
Rating: -- 4.0 out of 5

Review written by: Katy Baldwin
Heartbroken and bruised, astonishing singer Lana Del Rey released her fourth album, Honeymoon in September. Correlated to her previous albums, Lana uses her alluring vocals and bewitching lyrics to paint a vivid re-creation of her struggle to be devoted to her ex lover despite his reputation. Honeymoon perfectly captures the grief and overwhelming emotions of a break up. Honeymoon is dark, slow, and filled with melancholy. However, I cannot stop listening. Lana captivates audiences with her vintage, 1940’s glamour sound.

“Honeymoon” is the first track on the album. I was instantly enchanted with the beautiful old timey sound she used to introduce the album. It surrounds the idea of the known, “Honeymoon Phase” in a relationship where both people are head over heels for each other. It’s new love, it's fascinating, it's exciting, and it's scary. Lana uses the phrase, “Dark Blue” in her chorus as symbolism for resembling the deep rich color of fresh bruises, sadness, and mystery. “We both know the history of violence that surrounds you”, Lana is fully aware of her love being aggressive and cruel towards others, perhaps even towards her as well. “Dreaming away your life” was used in her bridge. Lana is acknowledging the reality of her relationship isn’t ideal so she begins to dream for hope.

Transitioning into the second song, “Music to Watch Boys To,” we are introduced to a more mature version of her hit song, “This is What Makes Us Girls.” In an interview with Grazia, Lana states, “The title lends itself to a visual of shadows of men passing by, this girl's eyes, her face. I can definitely see things.” “Putting on my music while I’m watching the boys,” in most of Lana’s songs, she portrays the loyal girl to her man. She recognizes that he comes and goes as he pleases.

“Terrence Loves You” is the third track on Honeymoon.  According to Lana, it is her favorite song on the album and I would have to agree. “But I lost myself when I lost you, but I still go jazz when I’ve got those blues, and I lost myself when I lost you, And I still get trashed, darling, when I hear your tunes.” Lana is head over heels in love, and then he vanishes from her. She is fearful and lost without him. The soft jazz tune is associated with emotion and the color blue mentioned in many of her tracks.

The media, critics, and personal relationships have hounded Lana Del Rey ever since her rocky rise to fame. With an old western twist, “God Knows I Tried, ”the fourth track on Honeymoon is her frustration and displeasure with every aspect trying to pull her down. Lana vents, “God knows I live. God knows I died. God knows I begged, begged borrowed and cried. God knows I loved. God knows I lied. God knows I lost. God gave me life. And God knows I tried.”  Following the theme of tiredness from life’s demands, Lana released her top hit, “High By The Beach” a month early from the release of “Honeymoon”. With her catchy and self-explanatory chorus, “All I want to do is get high by the beach”; listeners can experience the feeling of annoyance from reality and the countless runs of BS from the grappling media. “You could be a bad motherfucker, but that don’t make you a man. Now you’re just another one of my problems because you got out of hand.” Fans know her love of bad boys and gangsters, however now she is sick of the fake games they play with her and she is slamming her foot down over their nonsense.

Proceeding “High By The Beach,” Lana begins her song, “Freak” with a catchy tune to keep listeners focused. Del Rey is large and in charge in this song. Unlike the majority of her songs that have her swooning at her man’s feet, it is the man who is the lost puppy. “Freak” is reflecting over the man being lost and wanting to escape his past. “Baby, if you wanna leave, come to California, be a freak like me. Screw your anonymity, loving me is all you need to feel.” She is extending an invitation to let him start over and be with her.

It is known that her seventh track, “Art Deco” is about her close friend, Azealia Banks. “You’re so art deco, out on the floor. Shining like gunmetal, cold and unsure.” Art Deco is known to be sleek and fashionable. It exudes coolness and luxury. “Baby, you’re so ghetto looking to score.” Lana is presenting both sides of her friend’s personality, art deco contrasting with the gritty, and scrappy side of ghetto.

Lana takes a break and recites the thought-provoking poem, “Burnt Norton (Interlude)” by T.S. Eliot as her 8th track on Honeymoon. Following “Burnt Norton” is another song devoting her love for a mystery man in “Religion”.  “Cause you’re my religion, you’re how I’m living. When all my friends say I should take some space, well I can’t envision”. Lana is true to her words in this track. Her love for this man could be compared to a person’s devotion to a religion. “Religion” reminded me of her song, “Dark Paradise” from her Born to Die album, due to her saying her friends don’t approve, but that doesn’t stop her.

Lana Del Rey takes you back to 1940’s Italy in her track, “Salvatore.” Salvatore is an Italian word, meaning savior. She sets the scene with vivid imagery as she is strolling down the street, taking in the Miami nightlife. “All the lights in Miami begin to gleam, ruby, blue, and green, neon too. Everything looks better from above, my king, like aquamarine, oceans blue.”

The five stages of grief are noted in her song, “The Blackest Day.”  This somber ballad includes her feelings of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance throughout overcoming a breakup. Once again, blue is used to show her sadness and anger, “Carry me home, got my blue nail polish on, it’s my favorite color and my favorite tone of song.”

“24” and “Swan Song” are interpreted as the relationship coming to an unforgettable end. The title of “24” refers to the amount of hours in day she has to put up with her lover’s issues. “There’s only 24 hours in a day, and half as many ways for you to lie to me, my little love. There’s only 24 hours in a day, and half of those, you lay awake, with thoughts of murder and carnage.” She is warning herself that if she stays with him, then she will acquire his bad habits, “If you like down with dogs, then you’ll get fleas, be careful of the company you keep”. “Swan Song” is a metaphorical phrase that explains the final performance of a person’s career. In this case, it is the final performance of Lana and her ex lover. “And I will never sing again, and you won’t work another day, I will never sing again, with just one wave it goes away, it will be our swan song.”

Lana ends Honeymoon on a melancholy note with a haunting cover of Nina Simone’s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” In an interview with Billboard, Lana states, “I like summarizing the record with a jazz song. I’m having fun with my interpretation.”

Honeymoon has been one of the most emotional and dark albums I have listened to. Lana Del Rey has this unexplainable charm that separates her from other mainstream artists. She oozes glamour and tragedy. Honeymoon is definitely not for everyone, however I adore it. It is the perfect album to add to your sad song playlists.
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