Lana Del Rey

Honeymoon

UMG

Oct 02, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


If "beach goth" is already a musical genre taken by neo-surf rockers, then Lana Del Rey's new album Honeymoon has given birth to "tropical noir;" all the imagery of swaying palm trees and hallucinatory California sunsets with the heightened drama and mystery of an old Hollywood film score. The "sad girl" longing to be transported to a more glamorous past has been the foundation of all Del Rey's prior works, but with Honeymoon the references to James Dean, lipstick, party dresses, and Queens of Saigon have given way to even more saturnine musings on fame and troubled love.

The album opens with a confession that's almost confrontational. "We both know it's not fashionable to love me," she sighs on the title track, as if the burden of mass appeal his been lifted from her shoulders. Del Rey (who is arguably responsible for the return of flower crowns and the Lisa Marie Presley beehive) was a fashion template for a shimmering moment in 2011, with a modeling contract and magazine spreads galore; that notoriety which she seemed so hungry for became the albatross around her neck. "I've got nothing much to live for/ever since I found my fame," she croons on "God Knows I Tried;" that sense of resigned fait accompli can come across as the complacency that plagues artists who feel they've reached the peak, but really, this is Del Rey settling into her groove. The Lolita-loving, baby-talking newcomer of Born to Die is all grown up and no longer seems to care for the expectations of stardom. As a result, Honeymoon is her most languid and luxe statement yet.

Honeymoon is both over the top in its barely there-ness (is there anything so bold as a pop star refusing to produce a stream of digestible Top 40 hits?) and simply not bombastic enough; on more saturated, jazz-inflected tracks like "24" there's a glimmer of the showmanship that Del Rey could easily deliver. By the end of the album you're craving for her to serve up a properly grandiose, unhinged performance worthy of a James Bond theme song. But for someone with such a life-or-death outlook on love, her lilting voice comes off as flippant and unfeeling.

There are certain landmarks that characterize a Lana del Rey album: melodrama, nostalgia, and cultural allusions to American myths that are comforting and easily recognizable. Honeymoon has all of that in spades, and Del Rey's dark paradise is becoming more tangible as her career progresses. By album's end, the sameness of the 12 tracks becomes claustrophobic and inescapable, and that slow, sultry burn becomes an icy pall. (www.lanadelrey.com

Author rating: 6/10

Rate this album
Average reader rating: 8/10



Comments

Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published

URL

Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

Ronald Coleman
October 4th 2015
2:39pm

It was Priscilla Presley who wore the Beehive not her daughter Lisa Marie.