When one says “Lana Del Rey”, one says… a lot of things. Some things coming to mind is her debut single, “Video Games“, her full lips, vintage style and dramatic, hypnotizing voice. Ever since the release of her debut album, “Born To Die”, Lana Del Rey has been an icon in her own right. Competing against female artists such as Rihanna, Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey has always set herself apart. With her appearance, which is vintage, sexy and très dramatique, with her voice, which ranges from low and smokey, to high-pitched and emotional, and with her musical style, which changes with every album.
“Born To Die” was very much a pop album, with hits such as “Video Games“, “Born To Die“, “Blue Jeans” and “Summertime Sadness“. It is an album that I fell in love with when it was released in 2012, and I still come back to it every once in a while (at the time of writing this review, for example). Lana Del Rey’s dramatic and vintage sound is something I love to listen to, especially when she combines this style with very modern compositions. That same year, she released a deluxe version of her debut album, with a couple of new songs, such as the cover “Blue Velvet” (which was featured in a H&M advertisement, remember?) and “Ride“. The following year, Lana Del Rey released her third official album, “Ultraviolence”, with 14 brand-new songs (on the deluxe version, mind you). Although I did not become a commercial success similar to that of her debut album, “Ultraviolence” still got mostly positive reviews, mentioning that Lana Del Rey has finally found her own voice, which is more the vintage and the dramatic than the modern and poppy sound.
But apart from her own feature albums, Lana Del Rey is perhaps best known for her work on film soundtracks. For example, her dark and melancholic “Young & Beautiful“, which was written for the soundtrack of Baz Luhrman’s “The Great Gatsby”, is still one of my favorite songs of all time. Hopelessly romantic and dramatic, it touches me every time I listen to it. Last year, Lana Del Rey also featured on the soundtrack of “Maleficent”, starring Angelina Jolie as the main character, for which she re-imagined the title track from the Disney film, “Once Upon A Dream“. Dark and haunting, it is the most perfect and chilling re-imagining of the song.
Her fourth and latest album, “Honeymoon” is once more, a combination of both styles Lana Del Rey cannot seem to let go off. The first track of the album, “Honeymoon” could very easily have been the opening song of a film. Deliciously slow and dark, it draws an image of a hot summer day, upon the moment the dark clouds are rolling in. In your mind, you can see Lana Del Rey standing in a dark and smokey café, wearing a velvet dress and her full lips boldly colored, hypnotizing the audience with her voice.
From that haunting opening track, we are thrown into one of the most poppy songs of the album, “Music To Watch Boys To”. Seductive, sensual and deliciously catchy, this song has the potential of becoming a hit song. The same goes for “High By The Beach”, which feels more like a satirical revenge song, and “Art Deco”, which is a last farewell translated into sounds and lyrics. Songs such as “Terrence Loves You”, “God Knows I Tried” and “Freak” are more ballads, slower and deeper. They have that same dramatic and melancholic feel as my beloved “Born To Die”.
And because of that, the fact that “Honeymoon” is very similar in style and sound to Lana Del Rey’s debut album, I really enjoy listening to it. It is the kind of album you put on when it is cold and raining outside, and you just want to reminiscent about the warmth of summer. “Honeymoon” sounds very much like a film score, dramatic and filmic, but more subtle than the previous records – which is a very nice change. However, there is very little alternation between the songs. They all kind of sound the same and after a while, this becomes too apparent and thereby, a little bit annoying and boring.