Honeymoon (Lana Del Rey album)

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Honeymoon
Lana Del Rey - Honeymoon (Official Album Cover).png
Studio album by Lana Del Rey
Released September 18, 2015 (2015-09-18)
Recorded 2014–15
Studio
Genre
Length 65:06
Label
Producer
Lana Del Rey chronology
Ultraviolence
(2014)
Honeymoon
(2015)
Alternative cover
Urban Outfitters exclusive vinyl cover
Singles from Honeymoon
  1. "High by the Beach"
    Released: August 10, 2015
  2. "Music to Watch Boys To"
    Released: September 11, 2015

Honeymoon is the fourth studio album and third major-label record by American singer and songwriter Lana Del Rey. It was released on September 18, 2015, by UMG Recordings, and was co-produced by Del Rey alongside longtime collaborators Rick Nowels and Kieron Menzies. The album is, stylistically, described as a departure from the rock-oriented music of Del Rey's previous album Ultraviolence and a return to the baroque pop of Born to Die and Paradise. Lyrically, the album touches on themes of tortured romance, bitterness, lust, escapism, and violence. Honeymoon has sold 600,000 copies worldwide as of January 2016.[1]

Upon release, Honeymoon received positive reviews from music critics, appearing on the 2015 best albums lists of many publications. Many critics consider the album Del Rey's best album to date. [2][3] The album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200, selling 116,000 units in first week, and peaking at number one in Australia, Greece and Ireland. The album was supported by the release of two singles: "High by the Beach", and "Music to Watch Boys To".

Background and recording[edit]

Entrance to Electric Lady Studios, where part of the album was recorded

Del Rey finished the recording of her third studio album, Ultraviolence, in March 2014, and by June of the same year she had begun working on a follow-up idea stating that the process was "growing into something I really like. I'm kind of enjoying sinking into this more noirish feel for this one. It's been good".[4] In a December 2014 interview with Galore Magazine, Del Rey revealed she had begun working on a new album.[5] In January 2015, Lana Del Rey announced via Billboard that she had begun work on her fourth studio album, announcing she was going to release an album entitled Honeymoon sometime that same year.[4] During the time of the announcement, Del Rey also said that she had written and recorded nine songs that could possibly be featured on the album and stated that she was covering Nina Simone's "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood".[4] During the interview with Billboard, Del Rey stated that the album would be different from her previous release, Ultraviolence (2014), but similar to her first major release, Born to Die (2012), and the extended play Paradise (2012).[4]

During the album's recording process it was reported that producer Mark Ronson had collaborated with Del Rey for Honeymoon, but their writing sessions did not produce any material for the album.[6] In December 2014, Del Rey stated to Grazia magazine that she wanted to introduce orchestrations with monumental choruses with a touch of subdued grudge for the album, during the recording sessions she played ten songs to Mark Ronson and stated that the album would be exploring a sound close to the golden age of jazz.[7] Besides working with Ronson, Del Rey also worked with Dan Heath and Rick Nowels, with the pair Del Rey began writing small pieces for independent films continuing to state that "Dan Heath and Rick Nowels are two of my dearest friends and producers and we are always up to something".[8] Heath would eventually not feature on the album; however, Rick Nowels went on to co-produce and co-write each song with Lana. In January 2015, Del Rey confirmed the song "Music to Watch Boys To" which was initially intended to be the title for the whole album, she also revealed that she wrote it in a visual, noirish way saying "the title (of the song) lends itself to a visual of shadows of men passing by, this girl's eyes, her face. I can definitely see things".[9] The same month, Del Rey stated she was aiming to record a few more songs to tie the project together.[10] "High by the Beach" was recorded as one of the last tracks for the album. Its development started with its chorus, which was inspired by a period when Lana Del Rey frequently drove by the beach.[11] Del Rey hinted to her fans on Instagram of Honeymoon's release since January 2015.

Composition[edit]

Musically, Honeymoon has been variously described as a retro-styled work of "grand, cinematic baroque pop",[12] "elegantly melancholy dream pop",[13] and a return to "the cinematic trip hop" of Del Rey's debut album Born to Die[14] and incorporates elements of trap,[15] blues,[16] and jazz.[17] The album's production was noted as containing sighs, whispers, subtly layered vocals, melodies that lazily unwind, decaying synths, echoing guitar lines, strings, hazes and restrained drum patterns.[18] Built over chopped-and-screwed samples, hints of jazz and Morricone-like soundscapes, Honeymoon has been characterized as Del Rey's most sophisticated album.[17] According to Nick Levine of TimeOut, Honeymoon was seen as a departure from the "grungy" tones of Ultraviolence opting for a "glossier" production, which was characterized as containing swirls of cinematic strings, twangy guitars and exquisitely miserable melodies.[13] Andy Gill of The Independent noted Del Rey's vocals as being "multi-layered cooing", airy and ethereal, Gill continued in-depth to say;

Honeymoon finds Del Rey reverting, after the more atomised, individual characters of last year's Ultraviolence, to a composite persona closer to the dissolute subject of her Born to Die debut. Not only does her vocal delivery remain the same throughout, but also its protagonist's "voice"; while the emotional impact of what might sometimes be traumatic developments seems somehow damped, as if experienced through a narcotised haze. Happy or sad, angry or apologetic, dominant or submissive, it's apparently all the same to Del Rey, who floats through these songs with a weird indifference.[19]

Lyrically, Honeymoon features content that touches upon tortured romance, bitterness, lust and violence.[20] Lyrically Honeymoon is a solitary album, that feature notions of bad love, doomed affairs, cruel men and attempts at escape, Del Rey's sadness was seen as a persona and "pose rather than an emotion" and was seen as a "broken-hearted hipster's" album.[18] Besides exploring themes of relationships, the album has lyrical content that touches up ideas of eroticism, drugs, myth, empty promises, what it means to be a woman, and "the American soul".[2]

Songs[edit]

The album opens with the title track, a baroque pop and blue-eyed soul song.[21][22][23] The Verge described the song as containing "sweeping strings and stuttering snares" that "float through the background of the song".[21] TIME called the song "characteristically broody" and "cinematic", and suggested it "leans closer to the sounds of her breakthrough LP Born to Die than the material she cooked up with the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach".[24] The song was lyrically seen as a ballad version of Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off", by a reviewer at Consequence of Sound who compared Del Rey's and Swifts lyrics which see both women "beat critics to the punch, strolling ahead with armor already built to deflect the weapons thrown their way". The reviewer continued to state that the song shows Del Rey is comfortable with the role she's chosen to represent, which involves melodramatic or cliched themes.[10] "Music to Watch Boys To" contains a "narcotic haze" according to Alex Hudson of Exclaim!, Hudson stated that the song is built over a synth orchestrations, with flute-like sounds and "crawling" beats that serve as "the sultry backdrop for the vocalist cooing breathily about pink flamingos and creepy, destructive romance".[25] "Terrence Loves You" has been described as "hypnotic", with Del Rey singing over piano, strings, and a "moaning" saxophone. The song contains an interpolation of the song "Space Oddity" by English singer-songwriter David Bowie from his eponymous second studio album.[26] The song opens with isolated guitar notes plucked and dropped, before moving into the distance as piano chords appear, followed by violins, and Del Rey's vocals. The chorus is delivered in an operatic style and lyrically talks about strength in the face of abandonment. Throughout the chorus there is brief saxophone sections inserted and David Bowie references with lyrics such as "Ground control to Major Tom/Can you hear me all night long?".[10]

"God Knows I Tried" features guitar backing with layered harmonised vocals, with lyrics that touch upon Del Rey being wounded by "Mr. Wrong" as well as touching upon themes of domestic violence.[27][28] "High by the Beach" is a hip hop-influenced synth-led,[29] trappop song.[30][31] Relatively upbeat and structurally sedate,[32] it serves as a combination of all Del Rey's musical styles, particularly recalling the hip hop and trip hop influences of Born to Die (2012).[30][33] It is more uptempo and pop-indebted than her previous releases,[34] and is based around laidback,[35] airy electronic production and a swooning orchestral arrangement.[36][37] The song comprises a slow and clear trap beat,[33][38] prominent, dreamy synth beeps,[11][32][39] hip hop-influenced percussions and Roland TR-808 drums;[40][41][42] in contrast with brooding, eerie organ instrumentation,[30][40][41] pertaining to an additional slow and airy feel.[39] The drums were noted to put emphasis on its hi-hat.[43] "Freak" contains a steady bass thump and lyrics about drugs that have been compared to the work of The Weeknd.[20] Amy Davidson of DigitalSpy noted the song had a similar "sultriness" to that of "High by the Beach", Davidson continued to call the song a "slow motion" and compared it to a '90s R&B song.[44] A reviewer from The Guardian noted the song to contain trip hop beats with lyrics that celebrate California.[45] "Art Deco" is a slow jazz-styled ballad with hazy beats and saxophone riffs,[46] the lyrics of the song contain "hollowness and American ennui".[47] "Art Deco" was rumored to be about Del Rey's close friend, rapper Azealia Banks.[48][49] Del Rey dismissed these allegations in an interview with NME, saying that the song "is actually about a group of teenagers who go out every night."[48]

The eighth track on the album, "Burnt Norton (Interlude)", hears Del Rey reciting an extract of the first poem from T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets, while the closing track is a cover of Nina Simone's "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood".

The eighth track on the album is an interlude entitled "Burnt Norton (Interlude)", the features Del Rey reciting an extract of the first poem from T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets, which speaks about the nature of time, and meditates on the idea of fate, with an underlying suggestion that our present experiences are out of our control. The words are recited over an art rock production.[50][51][52] "Religion" was noted as being one of Del Rey's most optimistic love songs, however the song was also noted for still be "tinged with the singer's favourite kind of noirish self-destruction". Lyrics that were noted for being optimistic were; "Everything is bright now" but this lyric is immediately followed with resignation "No need to survive now".[44] "Salvatore" mixes violins, military drumbeats and verses sung in Italian which have been described as evoking "1940s Italy via Frank Sinatra". Lyrically, the track was seen as a sequel to "Summertime Sadness" with lyrics such as "Summer's hot but I’ve been cold without you".[12] "Salvatore" was described as a two-step song by Nina Corcoran of Consequence of Sound, Corcoran noted the song sound as being "straight out of a resort hotel ballroom" before to continuing to describe the track as having jazz dreams with "clean and rich" production.[10]

"The Blackest Day" is a post-breakup ballad, that primarily deals with the stages of grief. The first verse explores themes of denial, apparent in lyrics such as "I don't really wanna break up, we got it going on". The second stage of grief, anger, is exemplified by the tone of the bridge: "You should've known better, than to have, to let her, get you under her spell of the weather". The second verse shows Del Rey bargaining: "Carry me home, don't wanna talk about the things to come/Just put your hands up in the air, the radio on", before Del Rey reaches the point of acceptance in the outro: "I'm on my own again".[53] "24" is a cinematic song that received comparison to the James Bond theme songs, due to its musical style and lyrics which were noted as being sung from the perspective of a Bond girl.[54] "Swan Song" is a smooth, elegant theatrical song, that contains humming and low beats, with tragic lyrics that hear Del Rey repeatedly whisper "I will never sing again" and contains themes of Del Rey pleasing to run away from responsibility.[44][53] The album closes with a cover of Nina Simone's "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", which showcase Del Rey's operatic readings of classical '60s Hollywood melodrama and contains organ riffs.[12][13]

Release and promotion[edit]

Lana Del Rey suggested in May 2015 that Honeymoon would be released in September,[55] and confirmed on August 14 that the release date was scheduled for September 18. She unveiled the track listing through her Instagram account on August 20, the day before the record was made available for preorder on the iTunes Store.[56] Unlike her previous studio albums, which were released in several deluxe versions with extended track listings, Honeymoon is packaged as a single 14-track recording. The standard album cover depicts Del Rey riding in a StarLine Tours convertible; Urban Outfitters featured an exclusive cover that depicts a close-up of Del Rey on their vinyl pressings.[57]

The album's title track was released to YouTube on July 14, 2015, accompanied by a video with a short clip of Del Rey along with the song's lyrics,[58] as well as releasing the album artwork, tracklist and pre-order.[59]

Del Rey also released a promotional single, "Terrence Loves You", on August 21, 2015.[60] The song had previously been accessible by calling Del Rey's Honeymoon Hotline, via the number present on the album cover. Additionally, the Honeymoon Hotline played the track "Burnt Norton (Interlude)" upon immediate connection to the number.[61] The hotline would provide weekly updates on the album, as well as lectures chosen by Del Rey.[62] "Honeymoon" was released for purchase as the second promotional single on September 7, 2015.[63] On September 9, Apple Music's Beats Radio 1 station premiered "Music to Watch Boys To" two days ahead of its release as the third promotional single. The following day, Del Rey released a sampler of Honeymoon, which included the tracks "Terrence Loves You", "Music to Watch Boys To", "Freak", and "High by the Beach".[64]

Del Rey did not promote the album with television performances or interviews, instead relying on a couple of print interviews, music videos, fan meets, and social media. Urban Outfitters held an early listening event on September 12 in select stores.[65] Post the listening session, low-quality recordings of all the tracks from the album were leaked onto the Internet.[66] On September 15, BBC Radio 1 premiered "Salvatore" and briefly interviewed Del Rey for Huw Stephens' (in place of Annie Mac's) Hottest Record In The World show.[67] Following the release of Honeymoon, Del Rey hosted 3 meet-and-greets in late September at select Urban Outfitters stores to promote the record. On February 9, 2016, she held a music video premiere for the song "Freak" at The Wiltern, in Los Angeles.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[68]
The Daily Telegraph 4/5 stars[18]
Entertainment Weekly B+[69]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[17]
The Independent 4/5 stars[19]
NME 8/10[70]
Pitchfork Media 7.5/10[71]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[20]
Slant Magazine 3/5 stars[72]
Spin 7/10[73]

Honeymoon received positive reviews upon release. At the review aggregate website Metacritic, it has scored a 78 out of 100, based on 31 critics.[3]

The Independent gave Honeymoon four out of five stars, writing that the album "finds Del Rey reverting, after the more atomised, individual characters of last year's Ultraviolence, to a composite persona closer to the dissolute subject of her Born to Die debut. Not only does her vocal delivery remain the same throughout, but also its protagonist's "voice"; while the emotional impact of what might sometimes be traumatic developments seems somehow damped, as if experienced through a narcotised haze".[19] The Guardian, also giving the album four out of five stars, commented that "there's a timelessness to Honeymoon, and an intrigue that should linger longer than her previous LPs".[17] PopMatters praised the album, saying "Producing three major-label albums in four years has developed Lana Del Rey into an artistic innovator who fearlessly draws from style and substance across the past century, whose vision is completely original and not remotely predictable".[74] Rolling Stone shared similar thoughts in regards to the strength of the album, saying that "whatever her intentions, they've led to her most genuinely thrilling music ever".[20]

The Telegraph awarded the album four out of five stars, and called it "an ambient album for broken-hearted hipsters" and praised the melodies and arrangements on the album.[18] USA Today believed the album "shows that Del Rey's sound has evolved and matured in captivating ways", while giving a three-out-of-four-stars review for the album.[75] In a four-star review, The Metropolist thought "Del Rey has found a balance in sounds" and praised how the album's production "beautifully harmonises lush strings, muddy baselines and haunting melodies, all blending to create a fluent and ethereal body of work".[76] Evening Standard also praised the album's production, remarking how it "swells in time to the oceans of longing in Del Rey's voice".[77]

Year-end lists[edit]

Publication Accolade Rank
Billboard 25 Best Albums of 2015[78]
21
NME NME's Albums of the Year 2015[79]
7
Rolling Stone 50 Best Albums of 2015[80]
12
20 Best Pop Albums of 2015[81]
2
Rob Sheffield's Top 20 Albums of 2015[82]
14
Spin The 50 Best Albums of 2015[83]
18
The Telegraph The Best Pop and Rock Albums of 2015[84]
Unranked
San Jose Mercury News Top 10 Albums of 2015[85]
4
The Inquisitr 3 Best Albums of 2015[86]
Unranked
The New York Times Top 10 Albums of 2015 by Jon Caramanica[87]
9
Newsweek Top 20 Albums of 2015[88]
12

Commercial performance[edit]

Honeymoon debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200, selling 116,000 units, 105,000 of which were pure album sales while the rest is a mixture track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).[89] The album dropped to number 15 the following week. As of September 2016 the album has sold 600,000 copies. [90] In Australia, the album debuted at number one on the ARIA Charts, becoming Del Rey's third consecutive number one following Born to Die and Ultraviolence, which both spent one week at the top of the charts.[91] In France, Honeymoon has sold 50,000 copies.[92]

In October 2015, Honeymoon was certified Gold in Brazil. In December 2015, Honeymoon was certified Silver in the United Kingdom.

Two singles were released from the album—"High by the Beach" on August 10, 2015,[93] and "Music to Watch Boys To" on September 11, 2015. "High by the Beach", the lead single, debuted at number 51 on the Billboard Hot 100 though Billboard initially reported it at number 7, which was corrected after a miscalculation.[94]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Lana Del Rey and Rick Nowels, except where noted.

No. Title Length
1. "Honeymoon" 5:50
2. "Music to Watch Boys To" 4:50
3. "Terrence Loves You" 4:50
4. "God Knows I Tried" 4:40
5. "High by the Beach" (writers: Del Rey, Nowels and Kieron Menzies) 4:17
6. "Freak" 4:55
7. "Art Deco" 4:55
8. "Burnt Norton (Interlude)" (writer: T. S. Eliot) 1:21
9. "Religion" 5:23
10. "Salvatore" 4:41
11. "The Blackest Day" 6:05
12. "24" 4:55
13. "Swan Song" 5:23
14. "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (writers: Sol Marcus, Bennie Benjamin and Gloria Caldwell) 3:01

Personnel[edit]

  • Lana Del Rey  – vocals (all tracks); mellotron (track 6)
  • Rick Nowels  – acoustic guitar (tracks 1, 10); electric guitar (tracks 2, 4, 6, 9, 10, 14); bass (tracks 1, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14); synthesizers (all tracks except 8 and 14); mellotron (tracks 1, 4, 7, 9, 12, 14), piano (tracks 1, 2, 3, 10, 12); organ (tracks 1, 4, 5, 11, 13, 14); chamberlin (tracks 10, 13); electric piano (tracks 4 and 12); keyboards (tracks 5); percussion (tracks 10); celesta (tracks 14)
  • Kieron Menzies  – synthesizers (tracks 5, 7, 11); drum programming (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13); synth bass (tracks 4, 5, 6, 11); percussion (tracks 2, 6, 7, 10); sampler (tracks 2, 4, 5, 11); effects (tracks 1, 3, 5); loops (tracks 9, 13); engineering
  • Patrick Warren  – strings, winds, keyboards, programming
  • Curt Bisquera  – live drums
  • Brian Griffin  – drums
  • Leon Michels  – winds, keyboards
  • Derek "DJA" Allen  – percussion
  • Rusty Anderson  – electric guitar, guitar effects
  • David Levita  – strings
  • Ron "Blondie Boy" Thaler  – additional drums
  • Roger Joseph Manning Jr.  – bass, Omnichord
  • Chris Garcia  – engineering
  • Trevor Yasuda  – additional programming, engineering
  • Phil Joly  – assistant engineering
  • Iris Sofia  – assistant engineering
  • Emerson Day Rhodes  – assistant engineering
  • Josh Tyrrell  – assistant engineering

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label Ref.
Australia September 18, 2015
Universal [140]
Canada CD [141]
France
  • CD
  • LP
Polydor [142]
Germany Vertigo Berlin [143]
Italy Universal [144]
Poland CD [145]
United Kingdom
  • CD
  • LP
Polydor [146]
United States Interscope [147]
United Kingdom September 23, 2015 LP Polydor [148]
Canada September 25, 2015 Universal [149]
Japan CD [150]
Germany LP Vertigo Berlin [151]
Poland Universal [152]
Poland September 29, 2015 [153]
France September 30, 2015 Polydor [154]
Italy October 2, 2015 Universal [155]
United States November 20, 2015 Box set Interscope [156]
France December 4, 2015 Polydor [157]
Germany December 11, 2015 Universal [158]
Poland [159]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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