Lana Del Rey brings her fans on a blissful “Honeymoon”

Jonathan Manarang, Staff Writer

Over five years since she dropped her debut LP and her birth name, Lizzy Grant, the meteoric rise of Lana Del Rey has been shrouded in mythos and has been wildly unpredictable yet exhilarating. From the monumental “Young and Beautiful” from “The Great Gatsby” soundtrack to the remix of “Summertime Sadness,” giving the singer a glimpse of major Top 40 Radio airplay, the singer has been making incredible strides.

While her lyricism may dance on a fine line of risqué themes, there is a point to be made in the important distinction between the person and the character that is Lana Del Rey.

On “Ultraviolence,” we saw Del Rey taking her hyper-romanticism to new, destructive heights, underscored by her work with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, and giving a completely different sonic edge to the record. Laden with major potential hits, the album itself showed the singer in a far different light than her initial releases. With “Honeymoon,” there is a return to form. She abandons some of the more experimental production work she took with “Ultraviolence,” ditching twangy guitars for the minimalist, and instead having jazzy, string compositions float beneath her smooth, breathy voice.

Earlier this year she released several singles to give the fans a little taste for the record, but the album has a far more cohesive nature, making it better experienced in sequence. Each track reads more as a vignette, going into the life of Del Rey and weaving through her love and loss.

The singles are but a brushstroke on the massive portrait of a melodrama she paints on “Honeymoon.”

The record begins with a title track that has a Bond-esque composition, where Del Rey sets the image of sunbleached polaroids of the West Coast with lines like “We could cruise to the blues/Wilshire Boulevard if we choose/Or whatever you wanna do/We make the rules.”  With her muted palette of dramatic strings, the musical end of the record is far more inhibited with Del Rey occasionally making use of jazzy horn sections and trap beats like “Born to Die.”

Although limiting her musical references may have restricted her potential and may have been a point of criticism on her major label debut, on “Honeymoon,” it works more in her favor as a fresh means to provide a backdrop to the drama that centers around her life of Lana Del Rey.

Lyrically, Del Rey makes a major development, as we see her transform from the tragic figure trumped by her romantic interests to a figure who is reclaiming her life and independence. On her self-titled LP, in the track “Put Me In A Movie,” she sings, “Lights, camera, action/You know I can’t make it on my own.” Though from her latest release, in the song “High By the Beach,” she commands “Lights, camera, acción/I’ll do it on my own/Don’t need your money, money/To get me what I want,” which takes on a much more different tone.

With “Honeymoon,” Del Rey takes the listener along a cinematic journey that reads less as a daytime soap opera and more as an experiential narrative that digs into the world of philosophical concepts and lavish Hollywood excess.