Rey Of Light.
Violence! Death! Darkness that's 'Maleficent' magnificent! Lana Del has sung about it all. This Rey of illuminating light, so bright it could burn you was born to run with mood music this magical. Nobody does it quite like Lizzy Grant in a modern, mainstream music world dominated by the female form of Taylor Swift playful pop or the bubblegum world of Katy Perry. Nobody brings the smoldering old style of generations gone and decades of decadence from the old fifties and sixties Americana and swinging champagne and cigarette clubs quite like today's "gangster" Nancy Sinatra doing things her way. Yet where's the respect? And how about that 007 theme? Because this shaken but never stirred starlet was born to be a Bond girl singing the hook of the title track. Yet, even without a license she's killing it. Once upon a dream, she's become the soundtrack queen regardless. From everything from Disney to 'The Great Gatsby'. Now at 30 and with three albums under her belt, every fan still loves the still 'Young & Beautiful' singer. Even movie star James Franco has wrote a book about her! Still, it doesn't seem like three years ago that she broke through with 'Born To Die', the title track and the big records like the youtube favorite 'Video Games', the boot-cut 'Blue Jeans', scorchingly somber 'Summertime Sadness', the light of pain 'Dark Paradise' and our new, millennial 'National Anthem'. It does however seem like a much longer time since she released her underrated but undeniable follow-up 'Ultraviolence' with the assist from the Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach. From the outstanding opener 'Cruel World' to the aviator awesome 'Shades Of Cool', coupled by two classic singles in the form of the beautiful and brilliant 'Brooklyn Baby' and the California cool 'West Coast' it's a record so timeless it feels like it's been around for an age, not merely the early months of last year. Now in a slumbering September where most people just want to sleep through 'till October 1st, Lana hits us with a ray out of the blue to begin the weekend. The woman born for the screens or scores of movies releases a new album on the day new films usually come out. But these Friday night lights come in the form of a 'Honeymoon' you just can't wait to get engaged with.
Take a Star Line tour down the California coast with this New York girl and this paradise ride will take you to places you've been before via Hollywood for her homage sound. The opening title-track 'Honeymoon' is her own haunting hallmark. Whilst the follow-up 'Music To Watch Boys To' is eye-to-eye, tongue in Andy Williams cheek as she sings "Velveteen and living single/It never felt that right to me/I know what only the girls know/Lies can buy eternity". Then with a 'Space Oddity' Bowie sampler Del Rey sings 'Terrence Loves You' and lyrical laments like "You are what you are/I don't matter to anyone/But Hollywood legends will never grow old/And all of what's hidden/Well, it will never grow cold/But I lost myself when I lost you/But I still got jazz when I've got those blues/And I lost myself when I lost you/And I still get trashed, darling, when I hear your tunes". Asking Major Tom herself if he can hear her from ground control. The lead single 'High By The Beach' is lead strong too in it's blazing beats and smoky singing that takes you to new highs and places you've never been before as she hurts over pained chords like "Boy look at you, looking at me/I know you don't understand/You could be a bad m###########/But that don't make you a man/Now you're just another one of my problems/Because you got out of hand/We won't survive/We're sinking into the sand". Like seeing the oceans tide on the wet sand morning after morning. No grain is the same. The scope is just as beautiful in it's own new, and individually refreshing way and wave. Del Rey's style and signature is just that original...even when she's paying tribute to her inspirations and muses. Just like the mood mesmerizing musician's take on revolutionary singer Nina Simone's classic 'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood'. Many people have sampled and covered it...from John Legend to Lil' Wayne, but none quite like Lana. And nobody in today's industry who tries as hard could have the rights to sing this quite like this soul whose intentions are good. Understand?
It's all in how you feel! There are some things you just can't shield your senses from. How the futuristic form of the downtown Los Angeles skyline looks at night. How the sand of Venice Beach feels between your feet like the Pacific sun feels on your face. How a chilled bottle of your favorite beer tastes as you walk the line in the sand. Hand in hand how the perfume of the one you love smells. There's nothing quite like it...just like the sound of Lana Del Rey's voice. It's unmistakable. Nostalgic. Impossible to ignore. Hard to forget. Lord knows you've tried. 'God Knows I've Tried' is an example of that, as Lana longs for the quiet life, away from the strain of fame singing "Sometimes I wake up in the morning/To red, blue, and yellow skies/It's so crazy I could drink it like tequila sunrise/Put on that Hotel California/Dance around like I'm insane/I feel free when I see no one/And nobody knows my name", then switching out the last three bars on verse two for more raw reveals as she harmonizes her hurt with "Wear my blinders in the rain/I've got nothing much to live for/Ever since I found my fame". 'Freak' continues the strange but sublime stylings, before the retro pop of 'Art Deco' keeps the texture of her traditional sound alive. It's so haunting it could rewake the ghost of decades past. The spiritual sound continues on 'Religion' and the Italian for "saviour" 'Salvatore'. Between the grey areas there's more dark depths than the black and white of 'Ultraviolence' on 'The Blackest Day'. Yet it's not all doom and gloom, even if "murder" and "carnage" are on the menu for her thoughts of the day on '24', that conclude with the advice and idea that "If you lie down with dogs, then you'll get fleas/Be careful of the company you keep". Remember don't misunderstand, and on her 'Swan Song' she writes it all out perfectly on white "Put your white tennis shoes on and follow me/Why work so hard when you could just be free?/You got your moment now, you got your legacy/Let's leave the world for the ones who change everything/Nothing could stop the two of us/Let's just get lost, that's what we want". Dreaming of gliding above a Route 66 out of dodge surface that she works so hard for underneath, Vowing to never sing again if her lover no longer needs to work a day in their life. One last ride? Let's hope like the ideas of the last two albums being her last it's not true right now. Even if she's already given us so much already, it's clear to hear there's plenty of classics left for her timeless sound and style in a matrimony of musical marriage that is set to define the generations and time to come. The honeymoon is far from over! TIM DAVID HARVEY.