It was 2011 when a new track called “Video Games” was uploaded to a girl’s YouTube channel and began gaining traction and popularity. The resulting phenomenon from that single video upload is the international sensation known as Lana del Rey. The sensual and somber singer, who came from such humble professional beginnings just four years ago, is back with her fourth studio album Honeymoon.
Honeymoon was released on Sept. 18, 2015 through Interscope Records. The Honeymoon with Lana del Rey is everything for which true fans could hope. In her return to a sound that is recognizably her own, the album exists in a space that is the ether between reality and a hazy dream sequence, reminiscent of Old Hollywood.
Many del Rey fans were surprised at the singer’s 2014 release Ultraviolence, due to its heavily infused guitar sound on almost every track. Honeymoon is a similar return to del Rey’s wheelhouse with its vocal focus inundated with layering.
However, in an enhancement to the singer’s style, most of the modern production influences that were present on Born to Die, such as the heavily inspired hip-hop sounds, have been removed in exchange for an air of refinement and sophistication, as if the album could be a film’s score than a Pop record.
The romanticism that is classically associated with albums of del Rey’s is not lost on Honeymoon. Tracks like “Religion” speak of love to almost a level of addiction when the hook states, “You’re my religion/You’re how I’m living/When all my friends say I should take some space.” “Swan Song” is another track that is beautifully romantic and tragic as it describes del Rey pleading with her love to run away with lyrics like, “Why work so hard when you could just be free/Let’s leave the world for the ones who change everything.” “Terrence Loves You,” another romantic track, is filled with a sense of the loss of a love, which opens the chorus with “But I lost myself when I lost you.”
In addition to themes of love that are familiar to del Rey, a fine-tuned listener can hear her growth as a writer on Honeymoon. The track “God Knows I Tried” details an internal emotional struggle with morality. Keeping in line with this idea specifically, the 1967 track “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” originally by the Animals, rounds out the album in a stripped back and emotionally charged cover.
“Music to Watch Boys To” is the second track on the album and decidedly a fan-favorite. The song is a calculated move from del Rey’s classical song styling. The story behind the track appears as if the protagonist sees men as an object to be observed and attaches little emotional value to them. This is a departure from classic del Rey lyrics like “I’m nothing without you/All my dreams and all the lights mean/Nothing without you,” showing a significant growth in artistry.
While many reviewers have mixed feelings about this album—some saying it was too rushed since her previous release and others saying that it was lacking a theme and seemed disjointed—this album is a great listen for all fans of Lana del Rey and new listeners alike.