Saturday, November 7, 2015

Lana Del Ray : " Honeymoon"

She is obviously more mainstream the majority of the artists I cover, but has enough melancholy to her sound to have her place along side some of the other female artists covered here. She said this album was going to be filled with muddy trap energy and inspired by late night drives listening to Miles Davis. The title track that opens the album is well...boring. Sure ballads are her thing, but she has written them in a much more compelling manner. The second song is more redemptive of the flat opener, and has more of a west coast slink to the lazy dream pop. Her vocal phrasing is more emotive here and doesn't sound like she is trying to kill her self with sleeping pills while in the vocal booth.

"Terrence Loves You" is another song that is barely there, though the vocal lines in places prove to be engrossing. The vocals are really well recorded, since she is far from belting. The instrumental is as minimal as her diaphragm support until she goes up in her head voice to sing about Major Tom. So a Bowie reference is going to be worth something in my book. "God Knows I Tried" does have the 60s Nancy Sinatra feel and is darker than the first three songs. Her voice sounds fuller here. The first single from the album 'High By the Beach" comes closer to her more superlative work. There is more hip-hop beat, trap or not could be debated. She kicks out more rhythmic melodies to compliment it.The album begins to find it's groove on " Freak" . While she has a great voice, it's how she works interesting lyrics within the context of steamy beats that makes the magic here.  "Art Deco' keeps this vibe going in the right direction.

"Religion" has her trade mark croon over a more minimal accompaniment. The lyrics are smarter and when the drums come in they create more of a Portishead vibe. "Salvatore" is more ballad like  and the beat takes the back seat, with strings backing her more dramatic almost operatic vocalization. "the Blackest Day" finds her vocals taking on more soul and a touch of Stevie Nicks on the verses. The chorus isn't the album's strongest , but it works with the swell of organ behind it. The beat builds and the vocal layer multiple to display some of the years best production. "24" finds her voice naked against the minimal pulse that is dialed back behind. This 60s western soundtrack creeps in like the sunset. Her voice glides upwards flirting with her head voice. There is nothing really wrong with "Swan Song" I just don't feel like it is as strong as some of the other cuts, the music site behind her cool croon like it is business as usual. She closes the album with a cover of the Animals " Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" that retain in the organ some of the trippy 60s feel. Overall this album might not be " the Ultra-Violence" as the lyrics are not as biting and the ballads are sleepier, but she excels when she does what she does best so I'll give this one a 9.

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