Lana Del Rey is a persona. Most pop stars are. At RREVERB, we don’t care what musicians do or wear outside the studio or behind the scenes. We put their record on, press play, and listen carefully. As for Lana Del Rey – or Elizabeth Woolridge Grant (her real name), or Lizzy Grant (her initial stage name) – I’ve personally always been torn with the impression the singer was a Guess-Jeans-ad-picture-girl wannabe, or an actual artist and serious musician. Her latest album “Honeymoon” kind of hints me in the latter direction.

The music on “Honeymoon” isn’t made for big stages*, it isn’t made for parties, it isn’t made to dance. The first songs on her 4th record, Honeymoon and the hit single Music To Watch The Boys To, are two soft sung songs that are reminiscent of melancholic movies from the 1940s or 1950s. You can almost see forgotten stars with their perfect look, perfect attitude, and perfect sunglasses in their summer mansion in California, sadly drinking champagne as they evoke their life’s failures, while the album is playing. Del Rey does evoke Hollywood stars in the next song, Terrence Loves You.

Is Lana Del Rey a Gloria Swanson fan?

“Honeymoon” is a night album. Its gloomy ambiance, not too far from a David Lynch movie soundtrack, is somewhat chilling (God Knows I Tried). Longtime collaborators and producers Kieron Menzies and Rick Nowels create (with Lana herself) the perfect mood with very subtle arrangements – spooky guitar, soft strings, organ and keys – that generates the perfect canvas for the New York-born singer. Interestingly enough, one of the songs is titled Art Deco, which is the period of time I see Lana Del Rey’s retro persona fit the best.

 

Very rarely are their drums. When the beat is underlined, like on High By The Beach, it is again in a melancholic mood, that somehow reminds me of Portishead, with a pop voice. In other moments, her music, her spleen, could sound a bit like Lykke Li’s, but the 31 years-old brunette singer’s is more intense, with heavier beats.

Lana Del Rey knows her limits. She knows she doesn’t have the voice of Marina Diamandas, nor the dance moves of Lady Gaga, nor the energy of Florence Welsh. She casts her act exactly where she can handle it perfectly: in a gloomy mood where she doesn’t have to sing too much (Freak), move too much, and still express her emotional difficulties, and inner-spleen.

The album ends with her version of the classic Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood that Nina Simone (in 1964) and The Animals (in 1965) made famous, before many artists did as well. Her version is very minimalist. Only delicate stings and a few notes on the electric guitar and old-fashion organ stay behind her smoky voice. The very recognizable chorus comes in as a burst of air in the middle of this gloomy song.

 

*Lana Del Rey will play at Osheaga on the main stage, on July 30, at 9h40 PM. I am very curious how she will deliver her songs in this context. Could be magical.

“Honeymoon” was released on September 18, 2015, after a few singles had gone out.

ana del rey honeymoon

 

LANA DEL REY
Honeymoon
(UMG, 2016)

-Genre: elegant retro pop

Listen or buy the album on Google Play
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Listen to videos on the artist’s YouTube channel

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier

Mélomane invétéré et rédacteur agréé, Nicolas pratique la critique en mode olympique: il parle de tout, tout le temps, depuis 1991. Il a publié 6 000 critiques de disques et concerts dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur-en-chef de 2009 à 2014. Il publie “Les perles rares et grands crus de la musique” en 2013, et devient stratège numérique des radios de Bell Média en 2015, participant au lancement de la marque iHeartRadio au Canada en 2016.