Lana Del Rey and her Honeymoon phase

The musician releases her dreamy, dark fourth LP


Album: Honeymoon

Artist: Lana Del Rey

Label: Interscope Records

Release Date: Sept. 18

Grade: A-

Lana Del Rey is the queen of sad pop music.

Lana Del Rey released her fourth studio album, Honeymoon, on Sept. 18, which she started working on only two months after the release of her third project, Ultraviolence (2014).

Clocking in at an hour and five minutes, with 14 tracks, this project has shown that Lana has refined her sound without losing the characteristics of the iconic sound that we have all fallen in love with.

Lana Del Rey, in both sound and image, is ’60s pop culture made contemporary: the conflict and freedom, love and deceit in her music speaks to the era almost 50 years prior.

The cover drips with nostalgia ready to take you to another time – Del Rey sits on an old tour bus, waiting to take listeners on a trip to the past.

Buying the album means fans are tying the knot with Lana – to listen is to go with Lana on your Honeymoon, after five long years post-Lana Del Rey.

Honeymoon starts out unlike any of her other projects. With light instrumentals and deep, echoing vocals, she sets the tone with “Honeymoon.”

Her controlled excitement feels tantalizing she sings about embarking on a trip with the love of your life.

Lana opts for a darker persona than her previous album, Ultraviolence. Instead it harkens back to Born to Die (2012). Where Honeymoon and Born to Die are different in intensity, her newest album makes better use of sounds for a level of intensity never before experienced from her.

Recorded in the famous Electric Lady Studios, Del Rey’s Honeymoon is a testament to her growing musicality.

“Freak” drowns and intoxicates, a slow, dripping track that will make four minutes and 55 seconds feel like an eternity.

In the chorus, she sings “screw your anonymity/loving me is all you need to feel.”

The chant is downplayed as the drums become more intense - and what once felt intimate now feels trivial.

“Salvatore” feels like Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) never died in The Godfather and moved to southern Florida.

Lana is preceded by a violin and piano, singing parts in Italian, marching on like an epic: its presence is like Pagliacci’s triumph.

Lana Del Rey gets to be long-winded in “The Blackest Day.”

After the first three minutes, you come to realize that this song is three minutes too long when you look at its six-minute run time - the songs sounds as if she intended to recreate and extend “Dark Paradise.”

Channeling Nina Simone, Lana closes Honeymoon with a cover of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” singing about the power struggle of a relationship being entered as you step on the plane back home, the honeymoon over.

She makes it her own, her cadence being so much different than Simone. Yet it doesn’t seem forced or unnatural, it’s still as vulnerable a performance as it was when it was first performed in 1964.

Overall, the album is a beautiful, seductive experience and shows Lana can stick to a certain sound, all the while creating and exploring various facets within that sound.

It can become overbearing in her aforementioned track “The Blackest Day,” which often feels more like an arduous trek than an easy vacation on a beach somewhere.

As an artist, she is one that makes the heart of any music aficionado flutter: she's managed to personify an era and become the visage of nostalgia.

Kenneth Kashif Thomas is the arts editor and can be reached at kenneth.thomas@ubspectrum.com