“We both know that it’s not fashionable to love me,” sings Lana Del Rey on ‘Honeymoon’, her new single – the title track from her forthcoming third album. There’s lots of people who’d disagree, though: since she unveiled the song earlier this week, excited chatter among fans for her next step has reached a feverish high. But what can we expect from the album, which Lana is expected to release this September? We’ve put on our sleuthing hats, puzzled over the clues, pored over Lana’s comments and social media posts, listened to the handful of new tracks she’s debuted since 2014’s ‘Ultraviolence’ – and here’s what we think might be in store…
More faded glamour and big ballads about bad boys
One of the most fascinating things about Lana’s big breakthrough, the viral-smash ‘Video Games’, is how dissimilar it was to large portions of debut LP ‘Born To Die’: she made her name with a big, brooding ballad, but the album that followed took detours via hip-hop (‘National Anthem’), R&B (‘Mountain Dew’) and smoky, sultry pop (the title track, ‘Blue Jeans’). This time, though, the singer has suggested that the title track is a perfect snapshot of the album as a whole. “In some ways I feel it’s where the record begins and ends,” she wrote on Instagram. “I love this song because it encapsulates all of the things that come naturally to me.”
Trap beats and soft grunge
In that same Instagram post, though, Del Rey played down the idea that ‘Honeymoon’ will be a one-dimensional and one-note affair. “There are so many other tracks on the record, 13 others to be exact,” she wrote. “Some with a muddy trap energy and some inspired by late-night Miles Davis drives.” Elsewhere, meanwhile, she’s spoken of wanting to nail a sound that combines “majestic choruses, beautiful orchestrations, a type of 1950s vibe with a bit of soft grunge.” As we noted in our ‘Honeymoon’ track review, Lana’s not always one to branch out or embrace experimentalism – could this album be where she mixes up the styles like she’s never done before?
All that jazz
Lana’s hat-tip to Miles Davis isn’t the only jazz influence on ‘Honeymoon’. Although there’s no track list for the LP yet, one song that’s almost certain to appear is a Nina Simone cover. “I’m doing a cover of ‘Don’t Let Be Misunderstood’,” she told Billboard. “I like summarizing the record with a jazz song. I’m having fun with my interpretation.” She’s got form in this area, too: the finale of ‘Ultraviolence’ was her cover of ‘The Other Woman’, a song written by Jessie Mae Robinson that later featured on a couple of Simone’s live albums. Listen to Lana’s take below.
Music to watch boys to
And here’s the other track that’s a dead cert to make it onto the final cut of ‘Honeymoon’. According to Del Rey, ‘Music To Watch Boys To’ was originally planned to be the album’s title track, while model Jake Mast claimed in June that he and Lana had filmed a video for the song. The promo’s not appeared yet, but Del Rey’s not been shy of talking it up.”The title lends itself to a visual of shadows of men passing by, this girl’s eyes, her face,” she said. “I can definitely see things.”
A LSD-era Beatles influence
The songs on both ‘Born To Die’ and ‘Ultraviolence’ saw Del Rey deal with besotted girls who stay put in torrid romances: reference points that inspired Kim Gordon to claim that the singer “doesn’t even know what feminism is.” But Lana’s claimed that, this time round, she’ll be looking elsewhere for inspiration. “I’m ready to go into more of a ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ surrealist place,” she told the Inquirer earlier this year, revealing that the record would be less “heavy and autobiographical” than its predecessors.
An even more cinematic feel
Since ‘Ultraviolence’, most of Del Rey’s releases have been for film scores: in the past 18 months or so she’s contributed music to Tim Burton’s Big Eyes, the story of artist Maggie Keane, and the song ‘Life Is Beautiful’ for the flick The Life Of Adaline. Chuck in a live cover of ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’, references to legendary filmmaker Fellini in interviews and the noir-like flourishes of new single ‘Honeymoon’, and it’s possible that Lana’s next album could be her most cinematic yet.
Out with the old producers…
The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach worked with Del Rey on the languid rock of ‘Ultraviolence’, but he revealed to NME earlier this year that the pair had decided not to work together again. Auerbach had previously hinted that he and Del Rey had occasionally been at loggerheads in the studio, stating: “There were moments when she was fighting me. I could sense that maybe she didn’t want to have anybody think she wasn’t in control because I’m sure it’s really hard to be a woman in the music business. So we bumped heads a little bit, but at the end of the day we were dancing to the songs.”
And in with the new
So, Auerbach’s out, and there’s some new faces involved instead. It’s expected that Del Rey will return to familiar collaborators Dan Heath and Rick Nowels, who both worked with her on ‘Born To Die’ and ‘Ultraviolence’. But by far the most intriguing possibility is her hints that she’s been working with ‘Uptown Funk’ hitmaker Mark Ronson. In December last year, she revealed: “I played him [Ronson] 10 songs that I have composed for this next album. Not so much that he added his usual signature, soul and funk. But rather it explores a sound close to the golden age of jazz.” In April of this year, meanwhile, Ronson admitted: “I’m going to do some recording with Lana Del Rey today and tomorrow. I found this cool old studio out here.. She has some songs and I said I had some demo ideas, and if they are any good, then maybe she’ll like them and we’ll go from there.” We should find out more details as September approaches. Stay tuned…