Monday, July 27th, 2015

Lana Del Rey – Honeymoon

Something old or something new?


Micha Cavaseno: In which Lana fully moves away from the shtickery of her pop-art sense of “the tragedy of glamour from days long passed, marred by the harsh glare of modernity” and actually makes a record that could reasonably slip into that era with little difficulty. The outro is a bit weak though.

Scott Mildenhall: A hark back to the good old days before choruses were invented. The repetition of “our honeymoon” instead of one is a real lead weight, because it’s not a particularly melodious formation, and returning to it again and again only reinforces that. The leeward drift of “dreaming away your life” is far more alluring, and befitting of a song so impressively elaborate, but there’s too much treading water beforehand. Hopefully Cedric Gervais has been listening to the Susanne Sundfør album.

Katherine St Asaph: Romantic melodrama I’m not averse to, but as usual she’s mistaken “haunting” for “dead” and “single” for “album track.” The old scores may well be failing her; get this woman a copy of Tales of Us and 10 Love Songs. And more cellists.

Thomas Inskeep: Like a 15-second segment of Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks score looped for 6 minutes, with Nancy Sinatra cooing “coquettishly” over top of it. I defended Born to Die and Paradise heartily, but this is one too many trips to the same, bottomed-out well. 

Danilo Bortoli: “Honeymoon” brings back the old Lizzy Grant days, the days of boring jazz records and blues songs about nothing really important. At least that was what she made them sound like. This time around, Lana can afford to go back to those records and those feeling of abandon and sadness (even decadence) mainly because, above all, “Honeymoon” is gorgeously constructed as a platform rather than the usual tale of the sad girl stereotype. For the first time ever, she’s a performer, not a character. The phrasing is as calculated as always, but the delivery is — and this is a word that has lost all of its meaning — haunting. And I find it curious, if not ironic, how she’s gone back to the music that hasn’t paid off at all before in order to make this song happen. 

Anthony Easton: She has such a fantastic voice, that regardless of how absurd it is, I still completely fall in love with it. This is why the sighs and mumbles on this song are much more interesting than the actual lyrics. 

Alfred Soto: Well, syllables are there to be lengthened and dragged out.

Ramzi Awn: As the morally troubled professor from the TV series My So-Called Life would say, there are many truths about Lana Del Rey. One truth is that Selena Gomez’s new single comprehensively beats her at her own game, rendering this perfectly gorgeous offering pale in comparison. Another truth is that by now, Del Rey has a lot of good songs under her belt. Yet another truth is that none of them have come close to hitting as hard as “Video Games” did — the only song on which she doesn’t sound like her voice came out of a tin can. It’s also true that Del Rey has more or less copped a plea, neither guilty nor innocent, to the general public — admitting to being the musical equivalent of Betty Draper/January Jones. It is a revelation that makes her neither more or less impressive, as a singer or character. And the final truth about Lana Del Rey as it pertains to “Honeymoon” in particular is that it is a beautiful song, and I will never need to hear it again.

Megan Harrington: What’s notable about James Franco writing a book about Lana Del Rey isn’t that James Franco is writing a book or that the book is about Lana Del Rey. Both seem fairly foregone conclusions. It’s that in this book, only some of what’s documented is supposed to take place in reality. The rest is imagined, whether by love or by fascination, it’s dreamed into existence and placed alongside recorded conversations. With Lana, hidden desires, long forgotten memories, and phantasmagoria hold equal weight with the present moment, facts we can prove, and the faint pulse in her wrist. “Honeymoon” mixes memory with desire, but not in the painfully nostalgia-laced way Eliot envisioned. Instead, she’s an undead temptress, vaguely familiar and vaguely repulsive all in the same bit of breathy delivery. 

Will Adams: Brief whispers of percussion, scant cultural references, virtually unmetered arrangement: this is Lana Del Rey completely exposed, and the results are gorgeous. The strings curve around her vocal, which is front and center even when the braided background vocals join her for the chorus. Consistent with her tragedy, though, is that this new intimacy arrives with one of her most heartbreaking lyrics. “Honeymoon” lingers on its title, stretching as long as possible to hold onto that brief period that she knows will fade, revealing the worst in both of them.

Brad Shoup: Time will blunt the flattery in that opening line — “we both know/that it’s not fashionable to love me” — but it’s worth noting now. When my friend gave me Hollywood Babylon I was terrified by a photo of high walls in an empty suite. The arrangement chills me in the same way. The approach is familiar, sure, but not the cold distance the strings afford Del Rey. And not the softness of the brushes, tapping from another room. Even when she breaks out the lyrical equivalent of the star map, Del Rey is increasingly disinclined to underline the points of interest. So we have a torch song that’s solely extinguished smoke, tracing precise, long lines.

Reader average: [7.42] (7 votes)

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