Amid all the stress of the fall semester and the crush of classes that never seem to let up, Lana Del Rey’s new album, “Honeymoon,” is the perfect vacation from a busy schedule. “Honeymoon” is an escape into nostalgia, to the romance and sense of self that can become buried under Georgetown’s rigorous demands.
The album starts with its title song, a haunting and slow track that makes the listener feel as if he is floating on the edge of something unexplored and steep. The bluesy swing of the melody, echoing harmonies and simple piano provoke a retro feel and at the same time an exciting and almost dangerous reminder of how important it is to sometimes just live in the moment before it’s gone and deal with consequences later. As always for Lana Del Rey, it shows that love is a priority for the album.
“Terrence Loves You” starts off with a different vibe, much more somber and raw than the first couple of songs. The same breathy harmonies still keep it in the same vein as the rest of the album, but the heavy undertone of jazz throws it back and transports listeners to the nostalgic moments of America’s past. The song is an effusive confession of loneliness to which anyone can relate, but with a resigned sense of acceptance that is both heartbreaking and inspirational.
The next track, “God Knows I Tried,” is by far one of the best on the album, a perfect mix of minor notes and lyrical images. This is a song that captures the essence of the human spirit, the resilience and determination that can come out of weakness; this song gives a sense of hope that no one has to go through everything alone.
“High By The Beach” is the most well-known song on the album for a reason-: its mantra to let go despite the confusion and intensity of reality. However, stark phrases like “we won’t survive” and “I’ll do it on my own” emphasize the hidden strength inside any person, saying it’s OK sometimes to let something, or someone, go. The soft sound of waves in the background of this track only adds to the feeling of liberation and calm.
“Freak” is there mainly as a sharp contrast to the track “Art Deco” that follows it. With a soft techno beat that is more than refreshing, “Art Deco” pumps a little more life into the album. This song fills the listener with a sense of wanderlust, reflecting the feelings of anyone who’s ever wanted more and providing an escape into this imagined world of “Honeymoon.” This song perfectly understates the effects of trying too hard: the lyrics, “you want more (why?)” make the listener question the value of what he has, which can very often be taken for granted at a place like Georgetown. It’s a song that transports the listener from the bubble here back to reality.
The whole album is cut in half by a strange interlude of poetry, not sung but spoken. It’s an exhilarating experience, like an intimate poetry reading in the dark corner of an old coffee shop; the whole album could end there and be more than enough.
One other song that really deserves notice is “Swan Song,” one of the most mesmerizing on the album. Out of all the tracks, this one paints the most complete world of escape, an anthem for the wild and free. It imagines the possibilities of living by your own rules and desires. It provides a fantasy respite from papers and midterms and GPAs. It’s important to remember that life doesn’t have to be all work and no play, and this song brings that sentiment out of the nostalgic otherworldliness the album creates and gives it relevancy in the present.
While it can be a challenge to understand all of her meanings, Lana Del Rey’s beautiful melodies pick up the lost lyrics and the overarching themes of love, freedom and memory connect every line. Imagined, inspired and sincere, “Honeymoon” offers a door to what we’ve been missing as we focus on exams and next year’s internships: the romance, reflection and recklessness that give substance to everything we should do.