Wedding season is drawing to a close, but Lana dey Rey is thinking about Honeymoon.
The album opens with the string-swoon title track “Honeymoon,” that croons eerily for nearly six minutes. Perhaps on purpose, perhaps by accident, she echoes a melody from “Brooklyn Baby,” on 2014’s Ultraviolence. It’s certainly an interesting riff, but whether or not it suggests new ideas is another story.
If there’s one thing “Honeymoon” lacks, it’s percussion. “Music To Watch Boys To” starts to build a steady beat that she brings in and out of the rest of the tracks on Honeymoon. The deep, resonating bass provides just a tease of what’s to come later though, because “Terrence Loves You” reverts back to the passionate ballad form that Lana establishes on “Honeymoon.” This time, she adds an enchanting piano part.
“God Knows I Tried” introduces modest and mellow guitar arpeggios that also scream “Brooklyn Baby.” This track marks the end of a movement in the album. The next track, “High By The Beach,” the album’s first single, is the first track to develop the fat beat conceived in “Music To Watch Boys To.”
The album hits a crescendo with “Freak.” Lana’s signature thick vocal overdubs stand out remarkably on this track. “Art Deco” bleeds more passionate, sickly-sweet vocals, but the mellow, EDM-synth intro coupled with psychedelic “aaaaah’s” throwback to 2012 hits “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans.”
Lana experiments with an interlude, “Burnt Notion,” which is actually a T.S. Eliot poem of the same name. Including this track on what is essentially a pop album was an interesting artistic choice: usually interludes appear on more experimental albums. “Burnt Notion” could be a sign of Lana attempting to move into a more mature musical style.
While the other ballads on the album are soulful and moaning, “Religion,” while still encapsulating Lana’s style, adds an acoustic guitar bit, previously unseen in her work. The guitar, along with the deep bass drums, create a musical euphony that makes it the best track on the album. Plus, the Bob Dylan allusion in the second verse is prime.
“Salvatore” brings a unique Italian influence to the album. The whole song is filled with piano riffs reminiscent of Romantic music. The deep bass towards the end leads nicely into “The Blackest Day,” the most powerful track on Honeymoon. The octave jumps and whining backing vocals drip with Lana’s classic power vocals.
“24” brings the sound back down a drop from the climax of “The Blackest Day” and still continues the seductive physique. The album reaches its conclusion with “Swan Song” and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” a Nina Simone cover.
Overall, Honeymoon’s greatest achievement is its homogeneity – each track sounds like it belongs on Honeymoon. Each track flows seamlessly into the next, creating a continual stream of music that is more cultivated than her previous work. With this album, Lana continues to build her ubiquitous appeal. These songs will appeal to people of all music tastes because they are timeless yet modern, complex yet popular. Honeymoon may be Lana’s best work yet.