Sound Advice: Lana Del Rey’s Honeymoon

528666Lana Del Rey has returned with another round of retro glamour. In her new album Honeymoon, which dropped Sept. 18, Rey’s ghostly vocals allure listeners as she croons about love and drugs in 14 new songs.

The style and instrumentation of Honeymoon is similar to her first two studio releases, Born to Die (2011) and Paradise (2012). In last year’s release, Ultraviolence, Rey teamed up with producer Dan Auerbach — popularly known as the guitarist and vocalist for blues-rock band The Black Keys. Therefore, Ultraviolence is rooted in a rock sound, featuring stripped-down songs with plenty of bluesy guitar chords and drums.

For Honeymoon, however, Rey teamed up with producer Rick Nowels, with whom she had collaborated on earlier releases. Honeymoon’s sound is a major departure from Ultraviolence and is reminiscent of Rey’s earlier releases. Honeymoon features plenty of strings and a much fuller sound with layered electronic elements. While the sound is familiar for Rey’s fans, the tone and mood of the album contrasts with her previous works.

The album is filled with an air of mystery and tension that mainly stems from Rey’s vocals. Her deep and haunting voice has a new edge. Although she still sings about romance and former lovers, the new vocal style is enough to make the familiar lyrics seem refreshingly different. Along with a newfound inflection, Rey showcases her vocal ability a bit more on Honeymoon. Throughout the album, Rey sings with power behind her voice as she effortlessly hits both high and low notes on tracks such as “Salvatore” and “24,” which build to a climax that perfectly showcases Rey’s vocals.

Other notable songs include single “High by the Beach” as well as “Music to Watch Boys To,” both of which are fairly upbeat compared to the rest of the album. “High by the Beach” features trap-inspired electronic beats that back Rey’s dreamy vocals in an almost hypnotic combination. “Music to Watch Boys To” is slower than “High by the Beach,” but the layered chorus is as beautiful as it is chilling.

Although Honeymoon is a well-executed album in terms of production and vocals, it lacks creativity. The album has its unique qualities, but for the most part it feels like a retread of Born to Die and Paradise. Anybody looking for more songs that sound and feel like typical Lana Del Rey releases will be pleased, but anybody looking for something progressive and original will be disappointed.

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