“We both know it’s not fashionable to love me,” croons Lana Del Rey on the opening title track off of the singer’s third LP, Honeymoon – sentiments that have been repeatedly insinuated ever since her late 2011 debut made a splash in the blogosphere, turning Del Rey into an international pop culture paradox. Some may question her authenticity, (which she touches on in closing track, “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”) while others like me are simply happy that there’s an artist who articulates herself in such an appreciative, old-fashioned manner that almost transports you back to a time where you might be a damsel in distress in the mid-fifties, lying on the bedroom floor with a record on and a glass of wine. Whatever she is, and I have no doubt she knows what’s she’s doing by now, it’s working.
Del Rey’s 2012 debut, Born To Die, was her “gangsta Nancy Sinatra” period while 2014 sophomore effort, Ultraviolence, displayed an edgier, alt-rocker vibe fans craved. Honeymoon, however, is without a doubt the singer’s sweet spot, giving listeners the best of both worlds while still sharing a fresher, more dignified snapshot of what’s to come.
I find myself gravitating towards Lana’s music whenever I’m at a low point and I need something or someone to show me that being at your lowest is normal. The 14 tracks that make up Honeymoon feel transitional – being that we’re coming into fall and everything around me keeps moving at the speed of light, yet here I am at a standstill. “Terrence Loves You” holds me to that fateful day back in late June as the words, “But I lost myself when I lost you,” dance around the room, making everything feel hazy yet brilliant all at once while “Music To Watch Boys To” continues on that notion of being hazy yet knowing you’re coming into a transition. This is what the end of summer sounds like.
The whiplash of emotions continues in “God Knows I Tried,” reminding me of my five-year battle with something I always knew deep down I could never conquer. “High By The Beach” takes on a sassier side of the singer as she basically tells her poser of a lover to get lost; “You could be a bad motherf***** but that don’t make you a man.”
Personal album high note, “Religion,” is done in true Lana fashion as she describes her love as a conviction but with a sensual backdrop sure to get stuck in your head for days while ode to an Italian love, “Salvatore,” brings me right back to my childhood growing up in Brooklyn before gentrification, hipsters and organic everything ruled the borough; back when Sundays were for family dinners and old records were always in fashion and not something one collected just to sound legit.
“The Blackest Day,” insinuates that the ‘honeymoon’ may be over, singing, “Ever since my baby went away, it’s been the blackest day / All I hear is Billie Holiday / It’s all that I play.” Revenge is on the horizon, however, with “24” – “If you lie down with dogs, then you’ll get fleas / Be careful of the company you keep.” Things are restored for “Swan Song” as Lana sweeps us away again for another ride or die anthem.
Legitimacy is broached in closing track, “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” as Del Rey indicates that yes, she is indeed human. “’Cause I’m just a soul whose intentions are good / Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.”
Essentially, Honeymoon is appropriately titled, signifying the stage listeners are currently in after falling in love with the enigma that is Lana Del Rey three and a half years ago. Without a doubt, we’re smitten.
Honeymoon is available now here.