Lana Del Rey’s third studio album, Ultraviolence, came out on June 17, 2014. It represented a stylistic change compared to her previous records. Whereas Born To Die was very produced and combined cinematic, jazzy pop with hip hop and trap elements, Ultraviolence was noticeably more stripped down and raw. Lana drew on psychedelic rock, jazz, blues, and dream pop, with guitar being a more central instrument. The songs are more consistent in mood and tempo as well, generally staying gloomy in slow- to mid-tempos. The effect was a conceptual album that captured a specific moment in time, and Ultraviolence was generally well received.
The Ultraviolence may have felt rather cut short though. The singles were released in rapid succession, leaving little time for any of them to gain attention from more casual listeners. Once the album dropped in June, there was little else going on with Ultraviolence until the Endless Summer Tour nearly a year later.
But in that time, Lana was already working on new music. In late 2014, Lana revealed that she was recording a new album, later announced as being titled Honeymoon. She also confirmed that she is working with Mark Ronson on some of the new tracks. Song titles include “Music To Watch Boys To” and the title track, plus a cover of Nina Simone’s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” Lana has stated that the new music will be more similar to Born To Die, though there will still be a noir, jazzy element to them.
The first song fans got to hear from the new album was the title track, “Honeymoon,” in July 2015. On August 10th, the lead single “High By The Beach” made its debut. Honeymoon was confirmed for a September 18th release date in late August, and the pre-order came with an instant download of “Terrence Loves You.” We have since heard “Music To Watch Boys To” and “Salvatore” as well.
Honeymoon eventually was released on September 18th, and as promised, combined the sounds of Born To Die with Ultraviolence. It’s a stunning album, and among the best released in 2015.
“Music To Watch Boys To”
In late June 2014, shortly after Ultraviolence was released, a snippet of an interview appeared online. We only hear Lana mention a new song called “Music To Watch Boys To” before it gets cut off. Despite just releasing an album, it sounded like Lana was already preparing to record more music.
I have this idea for this record called “Music to Watch Boys To” so, yeah, I’m just kind of thinking about that and what that would mean.
Grazia Interview: Jazzy New Songs for an August Album, Working With Mark Ronson, & Taking Inspiration From Picasso
On December 17, 2014, Lana did her first interview in a long time with the French publication, Grazia. (It was translated into English by a Lana Del Rey fan on Lanaboards.) Although Ultraviolence had only been out for a few months, her conversation quickly veered to the subject of new songs and her next album tentatively set for late August 2015. As she told Grazia:
I’m afraid this album [Ultraviolence] will be forgotten. I’m always afraid good things will be forgotten, burried. Musically, I’m still looking for something different, with majestic choruses, beautiful orchestrations, a type of ’50s vibe with a bit of soft grunge. Since March, I’ve been writing a lot of new songs, in a more conventional way – the verses, then the refrain, with a strong jazzy influence. I’m having a lot of fun with all of that. And next year, I’ll tour across the USA. I’ve done it only once before and I was really moved, especially in Detroit where I could feel the weight of its history. So, that’s why I decided I wanted to do it again, this time with my friend Courtney Love, for two months. My new album will come out after, maybe in late August.
When asked if her writing style is different on her new album, she stated that she has new inspiration:
My lyrics are very similar to me, who I truly am, but I must admit that I’m currently trying to do some new things. It’s a bit surrealist, full of colors. I feel much more inspired by people like Mark Ryden, Fellini, or Picasso… Oh, I’m totally fond of this documentary: “Fellini : I’m a Born Liar,” which explains that the filmmaker was in love with his hometown, and each of his movies is like one of its facets. I like his idea, the fact that truth should never impede to a beautiful lie… [smiles]
Grazia commented: “You seem to like evoking the ’50s imagery in your songs: The golden age of recording studios, ladies singing late at night with their big band…” Lana replied, revealing that she was working with Mark Ronson, famous for his single “Uptown Funk” featuring Bruno Mars and for producing for artists like Adele and Amy Winehouse.
Yeah, I love it. I love nightlife, the mood that comes from it. That’s why I wanted to meet Mark Ronson: I played him ten songs I just 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. I wasn’t even born in the ’50s but I feel like I was there. And when I still was living in New York, I was looking for this dream, maybe some other girls had the same, to live as a singer in a jazz club where I could sing some standards, but my own compositions too. I had a very “romantic” vision of what a singer’s life should be. I daydreamed about tours in Europe, just like Chet Baker did, for example.
“Big Eyes” & “I Can Fly”
On December 19, 2014, Lana’s new song “Big Eyes” was released on YouTube. The song is the title track for Tim Burton’s movie, based on the the true story of the painter Keane. Lana wrote “Big Eyes” for the movie, but when the movie makers wanted a second track, she offered her pre-existing song “I Can Fly.” She reworked some of the lyrics to make them fit with the film. The Big Eyes soundtrack came out on December 23rd, while the film was released on December 25th in North America.
Lana is Working On A New Album & Describes “Music To Watch Boys To”
On January 2, 2015, the LA Times interviewed Lana about her songs for Big Eyes. When they asked her about her “noirish and visual” sound, Lana commented she was already working on a new album. She mentioned a her song called “Music To Watch Boys To,” this time describing it further:
Definitely. I can see it and I can hear it. I’m working on a new record now, and I have this one song, “Music to Watch Boys To.” The title lends itself to a visual of shadows of men passing by, this girl’s eyes, her face. I can definitely see things.
Honeymoon: A Follow-Up Idea for Ultraviolence
On January 6th, Billboard published a new interview with Lana Del Rey. In addition to talking about the songs she did for Big Eyes, they also confirmed that she was already working on a new album. They reported that the album would by called Honeymoon and 9 songs were ready for it already. For four of the songs, Lana said that “the production is perfect; I’m looking for a few more songs to tie everything together.” Lana described the sound of the new songs and confirmed that it would close with a cover:
Does the Big Eyes song give us any indication of how the new album will sound?
It’s very different from the last one and similar to the first two, Born to Die and Paradise. I finished my last one [Ultraviolence] in March and released it in June and I had a follow-up idea. It’s growing into something I really like. I’m kind of enjoying sinking into this more noirish feel for this one. It’s been good.
You’re still writing everything?
I’m doing a cover of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” After doing a cover of [Jessie Mae Robinson’s] “The Other Woman,” I like summarizing the record with a jazz song. I’m having fun with my interpretation.
Lana confirmed that she will be covering Nina Simone’s version of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.”
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
On February 15th, Inquirer published a new interview with Lana. She talked about going in a less heavy direction on her new album, instead channeling a “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” atmosphere.
I feel that the three records [Born To Die, Paradise, and Ultraviolence] were so heavy and autobiographical. It’s been so cathartic. I like to use my previous work as a jump-off point to do something new.
I’m ready to go into more of a ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds’ surrealist place. That’s why I really do like what I heard about Fellini and all of the movies that were overdubbed and the actors were counting and not saying lines. I couldn’t believe that.
Lana also talked about how she likes to write. Her fondness for being love and anything tropical may come out a lot in Honeymoon.
I like to write at night. I lived in New York for 10 years. I never thought I’d move to the West Coast. Now that I’m in California, I find that I actually love writing when it’s really hot. So I like summertime; I’m a sun chaser. Everything is summertime. I’ve been banned from incorporating that word.
I like to be in love when I’m writing. I like anything tropical and exotic, anything Tahitian, Hawaiian.
Mark Ronson Confirms His Part in Honeymoon
In April 2015, Mark Ronson confirmed that he was working with Lana on some new songs. Lana had already mentioned working with him back in December to Grazia. As Mark told Interview Magazine:
Q-TIP: What are you doing in L.A.?
Mark RONSON: I’m going to do some recording with Lana Del Rey today and tomorrow. I found this cool old studio out here.
Q-TIP: Are you producing?
RONSON: I don’t know. 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.
Honeymoon Coming in September
On May 22nd, Lana Del Rey was on tour and playing a concert in Ridgefield, Washington. She announced to the crowd that her new album, Honeymoon, would be out in September. That’s not far off from the late August estimate she had given back in December 2014.
“Music To Watch Boys To” Music Video Filmed
On June 3rd, Jake Mast confirmed that he had filmed a music video for possible single “Music To Watch Boys To.” He stated it would be out later in June, though that did not come to pass. The video was filmed on April 25th in San Pedro.
— Jake Mast (@jake__mast) June 4, 2015
“Honeymoon” Preview & Lyrics Revealed
In the middle of June 2015, a new Instagram account with the name “honeymoon” appeared, and the user’s first post instantly made waves. Lana Del Rey fans got to hear a short snippet of the upcoming album’s title track. Lyrics for the whole song appeared next. Lana Del Rey soon confirmed that it is her account, and that it would have plenty of more news in the coming weeks.
Studio Updates: June – July 2015
Lana continued to actively use her “honeymoon” account to share behind-the-scenes photos and information about the making of her new album. One of the first pictures she posted was of her producer, Rick Nowels. He also worked on Born To Die, Paradise, and Ultraviolence.
Lana’s next picture’s caption seems to be lyrics from a new song. Though it mentions honeymoons, it is not part of the lyrics for the song “Honeymoon.” What could this song be?
Kieron Menzies is a co-producer and engineer for Honeymoon. He previously served as an engineer on Born To Die, Paradise, and Ultraviolence
On July 14th, Lana shared not only shared the title track from her new album – she also revealed more details about the other songs. The album will have a total of 14 songs, ranging from some with a “muddy trap energy” to others inspired by “late-night Miles Davis drives.” However, Lana feels that “Honeymoon” feels like both the beginning and end of the record.
Though it’s not the first single, the full song was uploaded to YouTube with a partial video including lyrics. “Honeymoon” is a slow, sensuous track much like the songs on Ultraviolence. As Lana told Billboard earlier this year, she’s “kind of enjoying sinking into this more noirish feel” for her new album, and it shows in “Honeymoon.” Lush, cinematic strings set the tone before Lana’s haunting vocals chime in, shrouding the darkness of the lyrics. It’s a song that would have fit in on 2014’s Ultraviolence. Check out the throwback styled song below:
The Weeknd: “Prisoner” featuring Lana Del Rey
On August 4th, PBR&B artist The Weeknd (real name: Abel Tesfaye) revealed the full track listing for his upcoming sophomore album, Beauty Behind The Madness. Lana Del Rey is confirmed to make an appearance on the song “Prisoner,” which she co-wrote Abel and Jason Quenneville. The album will be released on August 28th.
“High By The Beach”
On August 4th, Lana revealed the title and release of her official lead single: “High By The Beach” was scheduled to be out on Monday, August 10th.
The song came right on schedule, along with a quick interview with Zane Lowe on Beats 1 Radio. During the interview, Lana revealed that “High By The Beach” was one of the last songs she recorded for Honeymoon:
It started with the chorus. I was driving by the beach a lot. This was probably one of the last ones on the record. It had an Andrews Sisters vibe. Even with the harmonies it almost sounded monotone. It had this weird drone to it, but with this beat it had a trap aspect.
On August 13th, the music video for “High By The Beach” was released. Throughout the video, we see Lana moving about her beach house, looking at the news and avoiding the helicopter of paparazzi that constantly hovers outside her windows. The repeated flashes of scenes – like a skipping record – give the impression that Lana is going crazy or can’t think straight. The camera follows Lana’s every move as she suddenly races down her stairs to grab a random guitar case in the rocks.
It’s a slow moving yet stirring video until the unexpected, fiery end. Lana aims and fires, exploding her helicopter stalkers and finally finding peace in her secluded waterfront home.
Honeymoon Release Date & Tracklist Confirmed
On August 14th, Lana confirmed the Honeymoon release date to be September 18th.
On August 20th, Lana took to Instagram again to reveal the full Honeymoon track listing, as well as a preview of her song “Terrence Loves You.”
- Music To Watch Boys To
- Terrence Loves You
- God Knows I Tried
- High By The Beach
- Art Deco
- Burnt Norton (Interlude)
- The Blackest Day
- Swan Song
- Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
Honeymoon was made available for pre-order on iTunes the next day, and came with an instant download of “Terrence Loves You” and “High By The Beach.”
“Terrence Loves You”
On August 21st, in conjunction with the Honeymoon pre-order, Lana released her third new track. “Terrence Loves You” is a slow, melancholy ode to a lost love. Lana’s delicate and forlorn crooning is set to softly strummed guitar and piano, complemented by sultry strings and horns. It’s subtle and minimalistic, rooted in a decades-old music style that communicates more with less. If you enjoyed last year’s Ultraviolence, “Terrence Loves You” is a song that will entrance you.
Fans got an extra treat on September 8th when Lana uploaded a Honeymoon sampler to YouTube. The three minute video features clips of four new songs: “Terrence Loves You,” “Music To Watch Boys To,” “Freak,” and “High By The Beach.”
“Music To Watch Boys To”
On September 9th, Lana released the song that started it all, “Music To Watch Boys To.” Two days later, it was available as an instant download to those who had pre-ordered Honeymoon on iTunes.
The song has rich instrumentation – listen for the flute – and conjures up vivid images. It fits Lana’s description of “Music To Watch Boys To” from earlier this year: The song “lends itself to a visual of shadows of men passing by, this girl’s eyes, her face. I can definitely see things.” There is something old-fashioned and exotic about “Music To Watch Boys To,” fitting with themes introduced in “Honeymoon.”
Lana also shared her opinion of the new song on Facebook:
“Music To Watch Boys To” is one of my favourite songs from the record, I love the 30 second a cappella beginning. Reminds me of what Les Baxter would’ve had as a bonus track on Jewels of the Sea. I also adore the video that’s coming out for it soon and the beautiful underwater girls.
Fans got another surprise on September 15th when Lana dropped another new song: “Salvatore” is a beautiful Italian serenade. BBC Radio 1 premiered the song, and it was certainly the best Honeymoon song we’d heard so far. It starts with sweet strings and soft drums before Lana’s sultry voice comes in. The chorus is big and cascading as Lana croons “ahhahh,” “ladadadada,” and “ciao amore.” It’s an atmospheric, gorgeous song with lyrical imagery that paints a European scene in your head.
After premiering the song, BBC also shared a brief interview with Lana about the song. At 4:30 in the clip below, Lana describes “Salvatore”:
That’s probably the track that’s most different from all the other tracks on the record. I guess it has a little bit of an old world, Italian feel. It’s kind of a weirder song. But I love the chorus… It’s filmic.
Lana also spoke about movie soundtracks, acting, and her love of vinyl before they played the song again. Listen to “Salvatore” and Lana’s interview below:
Honeymoon came out on September 18th, and was as stunning as Lana promised. You can read our album review here, and check back for more news about Lana’s Honeymoon singles and future music.