There was a stark difference between Lana Del Rey‘s debut album, Born to Die and its follow-up, Ultraviolence. Gone were the lush string arrangements of Born to Die replaced with a more guitar, bass, drum approach courtesy of Dan Auerbach. It seemed like there was a stepping stone between the two albums that was missing; Honeymoon is that stepping stone.
Produced by Rick Nowels, who was nominated for a Grammy for writing “Young And Beautiful,” and Kieron Menzies, who was a drum programmer on Born to Die, Honeymoon sees the return of lush Hollywood string arrangements for Del Rey. The album’s titular track, “Honeymoon” is a dark, mood-setting opener comprised almost completely of strings. The track is the closest thing Honeymoon gives us to “Young And Beautiful.” Needless to say, Nowels co-wrote it with Del Rey.
But while strings play a much more prominent role than on Ultraviolence, it does not mean that Del Rey has completely shied away from guitar. “Freak” is one example of guitar and strings working in harmony. Long, strung-out guitar strums create a classic California psychedelic feel while the strings give the track volume. The trap drum production on the chorus gives the song a sense of modernity.
The balance on “Freak” is indicative of the whole of Honeymoon. Everything feels meticulously planned and executed to perfection. The California Gothic themes run deep throughout the album’s lyrics and instrumentation. The consistency shows Del Rey’s massive artistic steps. If there was any doubt that Lana Del Rey is one of the most exciting artists out there, Honeymoon completely does away with it.