By Angel Sunlight
A Review of Lana Del Rey’s Honeymoon
“I lost myself when I lost you,” admits Lana Del Rey on her highly anticipated new album Honeymoon. But don’t let the title fool you, it’s everything but. “But I still got jazz when I’ve got the blues/I still get trashed when I hear your tunes.”
Del Rey is the result of babies born in the 80’s: hipsters who find charm in the 60’s and 70’s, smoking pot while jamming out to their vinyl collections filled with jazz legends like Billie Holiday. Del Rey’s a pop star but in a much different way. Like an old school Hollywood siren she doesn’t need to wear crop tops and short skirts to seem elegant. She doesn’t need to dye her hair blue to receive media attention. It’s her voice and femme fatale image that grew her fan base. And although she’s been around for a few years now, she’s recently been on the uprise, gaining popularity among twenty- something- year- old college students and young preteen girls on Tumblr alike.
If Ultraviolence (Honeymoon’s predecessor) was the “hydroponic weed” that Del Rey sang about last year, then Honeymoon is a heavy sedative. It is also filled with old school jazz references. “I don’t really want to break up,” pleads Del Rey on the track “The Blackest Day.” “Ever since my baby went away/all I hear is Billie Holiday.”
In Del Rey’s tradition of ending her LPs with a jazz number (Ultraviolence had a cover of Nina Simone’s “The Other Woman”) Del Rey ends this one with the jazz staple “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.”
“I’m just a soul who’s intentions are good,” purrs Del Rey in her signature velvety voice. “Don’t you know that no soul alive can always be an angel?”
Besides the jazz tracks, Honeymoon highly differs from Ultraviolence and sounds similar to Del Rey’s debut 2012 album, Born to Die, which, along with its videos, had plenty of Americana imagery. From being topless in front of the American flag, to running around in red Chucks and Budweiser tees, to traveling the open road with a biker gang, Del Rey breathes the land of the free. Honeymoon continues on with this tradition. On the track “Music to Watch Boys To,” Del Rey writes of pink flamingos, Blue Ribbon ice creams and soft grunge. In “God Knows I’ve Tried” she mentions dancing like she’s insane to the most American song of all, The Eagle’s “Hotel California.” There’s even a David Bowie reference on track 3, “Terrence Loves You.”
This is not a pop album but an old fashioned album to cry to, a noir breakup album ironically titled. It comes in the vein of Simone’s “My Man’s Gone Now” and Holiday’s classic “I’m a Fool to Want You.” The sad thing is, Honeymoon is lacking the all-American electric guitars that 2014’s Ultraviolence had. (Possibly because Ultraviolence was produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and Honeymoon was not.) Instead, Del Rey chooses to focus on her somber voice, which does indeed sound like she idolizes Nina Simone and Billie Holiday. Del Rey, like the legends before her, makes being heartbroken sound cool.
“I’m looking for love in all the wrong places,” Del Rey confesses in “The Blackest Day.” It makes you want to comfort her and say, “So did your idols, Lana, you’re gonna be ok.”