She notoriously sang that she “f****ed her way to the top.” She pioneered a video look perfect for the instagram-filter generation: the fabrics are distressed, the hair and makeup flawless, the lyrics Beat-generation tortured, the love interests taboo-shatteringly brilliant (a sweaty gang of bikers in “Ride”, a black American President in “National Anthem”, and a creepy emaciated sugar-daddy in “West Coast”) and the clothes pinched from a neo-hippie trend page in Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar.
In a Lana Del Rey video everything is beautifully muted and textured, like a fold-out chair left on the beach for so long that it bleaches and peels. Shots are taken from odd angles and suffused with interesting light and shade. Chandeliers glimmer on and off in time with orchestral musical beats.
The morose orchestral grandeur of the album feels like an arrival point, and also possibly a dead-end: the sentimentality and drama throws back to old Hollywood film scores.
In 2015, Lana Del Rey dropped Honeymoon, an album full of what Consequence of Sound describes as “cinematic, defeated, slow songs” that support Del Rey’s ” penchant for twisted pop.” Pitchfork called it “Lana Del Rey’s purest album-length expression, and her most artistic one.”
The video for the first single “High by the Beach” stunned many with its paparazzi revenge story plotline and fiery resolution, which saw Lana blowing a paparazzi helicopter to pieces with one shot from a bazooka that had more oily barrels than the United Arab Emirates.
Recently the innovative songstress was honored at the Billboard Women in Music event, attended by Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato, as reported by Irish Examiner.
OMG OMG OMG OMG. TWO QUEESN IN INE PICTURE! NOT PHOTOSHOPPED!!! ????????????????❤️❤️ https://t.co/uuce1646Pv— Megan (@demi_and_lana) December 12, 2015
Lana was presented with the award by Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy, who had his own praise for the singer,
“The honeymoon is not over for this compelling and enchanting artist.”
The award comes as NME publishes a revealing interview with Del Rey in which the hypnotic and otherworldly songstress discusses the influence of artists like Courtney Love and Nina Simone, the cathartic aspect of art-making, her embrace of psychedelia and surrealism as part of her aesthetic, and her feelings about doing a Bond song (Del Rey reveals that she would have loved to do a Bond theme but she “wasn’t asked”).
The New York native also discussed the influence of New York and California Gothic traditions on her art-making, and her beliefs about new “intergalactic possibilities” that await humanity as technological frontiers are breached and the physics of Stephen Hawking and synchrotron researchers makes itself felt in people’s everyday lives.
The mysterious star kept the details of her vision vague, but the cosmic theme is palpable in Lana’s music, with its layered, whooshing synths, soaring strings, subdued vocals, poignant guitar interludes and recitations of dark poetry.
Speculation about a collaboration with Demi Lovato surfaced after Lovato posted a selfie of the two on Instagram. The “Confident” singer captioned the snap with a one-sentence mashup of the titles of the two biggest songs the female stars have released – “Cool for the summer….time sadness????” – and gushed that it was “so so nice to meet” Lana.
Another attendee at the Billboard event was Tony Bennett, who has worked with Lady Gaga. The “Monster” songstress spoke to the press about Bennett’s good influence, and about the ups and downs in her own career.
“That’s what I learned from working with Tony: If talent isn’t the thing, then you are way off-base. That’s why every up and down of my career was worth it – it has led me to epiphanies. We can’t create without epiphanies.”
Is Honeymoon as good as Ultraviolence? Is Lana Del Rey a trailblazer?
[Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images]