Lana Del Rey is back with her fourth studio album. In true Lana fashion, “Honeymoon” is about love. From the irresponsible, fun and devoted highs of a relationship to the raw, uncensored and dark pain from loss, Lana doesn’t hold back.
Each one of her albums reads like a dark, twisted love story starring a bad boy and a devoted, rebellious girl. She documents each stage of her relationship and the heavy emotions that remain. “Honeymoon” is no exception. Although critics have often called Lana’s music depressing, Lana goes where not many artists are willing to go — into the deepest, rawest emotional trauma that comes with love. She acknowledges the darkness, almost celebrating it and then builds an entire album using it.
“Honeymoon” has a softer sound than her previous three albums. She strips away the mixed beats and modern influences that infiltrated her first three albums to showcase her pure, un-synthesized voice with the backing of a melodic orchestra. It’s showcased not just when she displays her talent using long, dramatic, operatic notes that she belts. It’s admirable even at moments where it sounds simply like a ghostly whisper — a tactic she uses in “Burnt Norton (Interlude).”
The first and title track, “Honeymoon” starts the album off with high-pitched swirling sounds plucked out of a fairy tale. Then, in contrast, her deep voice cuts through, just like the theme of the song: a blissful high and a devastating low.
She describes a pair of seemingly mismatched lovers. The woman has a history of damaged relationships — “it’s not fashionable to love me,” Lana sings, and the man has a history of violence. However, they belong together and they enjoy their time together on their “honeymoon.”
However, a honeymoon doesn’t last forever. The couple enjoys their bliss but soon after, Lana sings “dark blue.” Lana has previously used the color blue in many of her songs to symbolize sadness and lost. She continues to use this color in other songs on the album including “The Blackest Day,” a song about her lover leaving her.
Up next, “Music to Watch Boys to” is an ode to the men who have come and gone in her life and the music that inspires them. Most of her songs are inspired by relationships. Through these experiences, she creates her music. She reflects on the process, singing “I see you’re going/So I play my music, watch you leave.”
The album continues with putting exactly what she described in the previous songs into act. There are songs about devotion, like “Religion” and “Salvatore.” There are songs about devastation, like “Terrence Loves You” and “The Blackest Day.” And through these, she creates her music, the skeleton of her 14-track album.
As she recognizes in “Honeymoon,” every high has its low. She loves deeply only to be left behind. In these songs, Lana celebrates her unquestioning loyalty then laments on losing a part of herself when a lover leaves her.
She also dedicates songs to self-reflection. As a teenager, she experienced alcohol abuse and violent relationships. In her songs “God Knows I Tried” and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” she expresses her wish for people to see the real Lana Del Rey, which is often clouded by fame.
Her music is simultaneously powerful and tragic, exposing her very core. She’s vulnerable but fierce. She reminds us with every note, whether it’s a long, powerful battlecry or a faint whisper, that she’s not disappearing from the soft grunge music scene any time soon.