Lana Del Rey – Honeymoon Review

It’s been just over a year since New York’s Lana Del Rey released Ultraviolence; an album much more expansive and sophisticated than Born To Die and now with Honeymoon Lana will be aiming to build on the themes set in her last album with which she was taken a little more seriously as an artist in producing what was an improvement on her 2012 effort. What her previous albums have lacked is versatility amongst the album tracks and at times some ill-fitting vocals. Here she has to be careful to not just repeat the improvements made with her last album along with maintaining a strong vocal performance throughout and look to diversifying the content of the album whilst keeping to her chosen theme. She’s shown she’s a decent artist but is she anything more?

The title track suggests that she might be.  It’s a track reminiscent of the dark and theatrical sounds of her previous album with sleek string sections and lapping guitar riffs that go on to develop with military-style snare drums in toe. Lana’s vocal stays low in range and remains smooth and allows her vocal to soar and fall effortlessly to encapsulate a ghostly and soothing love song. It’s a track that maintains the retrospective, classy aesthetic she appears to be pursing, but it is simply a graceful and gently powerful track. Beyond the high sophistication and grace of the title track’s aesthetic and style, we find ‘High By The Beach’. This track is kept of a fragile edge by a light whirring organ and then a drum sample signals the a hazy and quietly atmospheric track which raises it’s soft reverberating production when it is gradually levitating it’s sound in a melodic and wistful fashion. It’s a cool and modern take on the retrospective style of the title track and again her vocals remain strong despite the more flexible nature of the delivery required.  ‘Terrence Loves You’ sees her revert back to the swooning ballads of the title track. In what is a familiar and simple song structure she is able to make it her own through her quivering melodies and through subtle echo and distorting techniques that make her melodies all the more haunting and intriguing against a structural backdrop that should promote a relaxing feel. It’s a much more organic atmospheric track as opposed to the boldness of ‘High By The Beach’ but it’s grace and audible beauty is very much appreciated.

‘Music To Watch Boys To’ sticks to the more engaging string-laden pop ballads with lustrous vocals combining with the rising strings with a secondary vocal that is delivered in a more ringing and distorted fashion. It strikes an in between middling the pure and graceful title track and the more modern trip hop of ‘High By The Beach’. A song that epitomises the sound of the album. ‘Art Deco’ also operates in the middle ground of the two overriding sounds featured on the album, but in this case the instrumentation and vocals are faded out to generate a more washed out piece of Dream Pop which this song becomes whilst keeping it’s Trip-hop beats. An combination that works and is used with ‘Freak in a powerful and potent way. ‘Blackest Day’ and Religion’ are a little too similar to other tracks in a way that wasn’t really needed again. ‘Salvatore’ is a ballad that plays upon Lana’s vocal highs brilliantly and combines a classical style with softened trap drops and whirring synths. It’s another odd combination that works well in isolation and with the theme of her album. ’24’ is done in a similar way and in a cinematic Spanish sound, but is perhaps a little too disjointed for it to work as well. Honeymoon is an undeniable improved effort and as an album it is so much more smoother with a greater grasp of variety and the emphasis on a strong vocal to make it work. It is done here brilliantly and is probably her best album to date. The only problem is that it is perhaps a little too long at fourteen tracks which means you hear the same method of track a little too often, making it easy to spot the album fillers, but even those tracks in isolation are well delivered and produced. She’s moved  beyond what can be perceived as a decent artist with this album.

Lana Del Rey – Honeymoon = 8/10

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

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