Lana Del Rey’s fourth studio album, “Honeymoon, ” released on Sept. 18, continues on the path of the somber yet enchanting sound that her previous album, “Ultraviolence,” encompassed.
Del Rey’s vocals are the most prominent aspect of the album, as many of the songs feature scarce background music that is there to accentuate her vocals, not for its own purposes. Whereas many artists rely on this background noise to lift up their voices, Del Rey lets her voice do the work, with the stripped-down music an almost second thought to her captivating vocals.
This is not to say that the music on the album is uninteresting or irrelevant in any way. In fact, it adds to the overall aesthetic of the album. When asked how she achieves her “vibe” in a Beats 1 interview with Zane Lowe, Del Rey responded:
“It’s a lot of different retro reverbs, and slap reverbs, distortion and mixing it all together so it has this weight and thickness.”
While this sounds like a lot going on, it all actually comes across rather subtly without detracting from the vocal or lyrical aspect. The music simply creates the feel or vibe that the lyrics and vocals then carry out.
While a majority of the tracks follow this stripped down musicality, a few deviate from this pattern.
Released on Aug. 10, the first single of the album, “High By The Beach,” follows a more pop/hip-hop sound than others on the album, and is reminiscent of her earlier albums which were more synth-pop inspired. The background here seems to play more of a role, and is especially noticeable during the chorus.
Despite the fact that “High By The Beach” was one of the last songs recorded, it is a prominent song to the overall feel of the album. The lyrics in this song are more assertive and aggressive than many of her other songs which are more passively driven.
Also featured on the album is a cover of Nina Simone’s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” While initially a jazz piece, Del Rey places a beguiling orchestra-esque spin on it, while not deviating too far from the original.
Various songs on the album feature references to Billie Holiday, David Bowie, and The Eagles, and the title track has an older, classic feel to it. This is no surprise as many of Del Rey’s past albums have featured a fascination with the past, and many of her self-produced, and even professionally-produced music videos are stylistically vintagely/classically driven.
“Honeymoon” was released about a year after Del Rey’s previous album, a pattern that she says has followed all of her albums thus far.
“I think the jumping off point was the end of the other [album.] So just feeling like I wasn’t too tired, and feeling still inspired, like I could keep going, I just wanted to take advantage of it and see where it led,” Del Rey said in the same Beats 1 interview.
Although she didn’t think this inspiration would lead to a new album, she expressed that she is glad it did.
Aside from the difficult work of producing an album every year, Del Rey has toured every year for the past five years. Despite this large amount of work she’s putting in, Del Rey stated that she “[goes] to great lengths to have a lot of time to [herself].” This is evident through the alluring and mysterious persona she displays to the world through her music, attitude, and lack of publicity.
This staying-out-of-the-spotlight phase appears to be nearing an end for Del Rey, however, as “Honeymoon” is predicted to be her biggest album yet.
“Honeymoon” received an 8.9 score on Metacritic, higher than any of her previous albums received from the site. Additionally, the album is predicted to debut with 125,000 sales in the first week, and Del Rey is currently the #1 artist on iTunes worldwide.
To see what all the buzz is about, you’ll have to listen to Lana Del Rey’s hauntingly beautiful “Honeymoon” for yourself.
Featured Photo Credit: Interscope