So Art Deco


I feel like I’ve written more than my fair share of Ms. Lana Del Rey, but her music never fails to make me question it. Honeymoon was released in September 2015, and is her fourth studio album (but is actually the eleventh album that she’s made…). The first song I heard off of it was High By the Beach since it was released a month prior to the album. Interested in what she had to offer, I listened to it, but I found that it wasn’t like her previous albums. I began to wonder if she had fallen into what her fans, and critics expected of her, but it was just too weird, and I didn’t like it. Honeymoon, as a single, was released a few weeks after, and my best friend convinced me to listen to it, so I did, but I still found it weird except for maybe the bridge part of the song.

After listening to the album a few times after it’s release, I still wasn’t convinced to like it. I began to really wonder, “What is wrong with Lana Del Rey this time?” After three albums, how could the fourth have missed the mark so bad? My speculation was that she had fallen into what fans, and critics demanded; “Stop writing about your personal life, (and old men,) and relate more to your fan base” perhaps. I’d always regarded Ms. Lana Del Rey as one of the best story tellers of music in the twenty-first century as she told stories of herself through characters like Carmen, who was a teenaged girl who basically had a drug, alcohol, and fame problem, but in the entire album, Honeymoon, she was generically just singing about how she loves a boy, and how she was trying to convince him that loving her back would be right. Although the lack of stories were compensated for in her poetic lyrics, I still couldn’t get past why I couldn’t enjoy her music as much as I had for the past two and a half albums.

One day, I decided to watch the music video for Freak for some reason, and at the end of the video, Clair De Lune by Claude Debussy was added just to extend the video for artistic purposes. After a few days of analyzing post tonal music in Music Theory, I realized that maybe adding Debussy to the end of her song wasn’t an accident, much less coincidence… or maybe it was, but it was a really good one that opened my eyes. Debussy, being part of the school of new diatonicism, was able to compose music that perhaps to a more trained musician would seem weird, but to anyone else, it would simply be beautiful. After listening to Music To Watch Boys To, I realized that a few of the songs off of Honeymoon were not conventional, not even to today’s pop music standards. I looked at some of the chords for Honeymoon, as well as Music To Watch Boys To, and I realized their functions were blurred. The chord progressions were odd, but no more than most of the melodies she wrote. The idea of a key was definitely present, but in all honesty, the chords and melodies were just too weird. Her heightened poetic lyrics, and now, post tonal sounding music would fly past anyone who wasn’t looking out for them.

I realized that Honeymoon, like a lot of post tonal music, isn’t for everyone. For me, it just took some getting used to, though I wouldn’t listen to it over her previous albums. I’m not saying it is necessarily post tonal because most, if not all, of the songs seem to have a tonal center, but the chord progressions could definitely throw someone who is trained off. I admire what she has done with her music throughout her more “mainstream” career because if anything, it is undeniably not like other pop songs on the radio. It’s not everyday someone like Beyonce or Ariana Grande are gonna put out a song that sounds unsettling or unresolved to the ears.

Here’s her single, Honeymoon if you wanna hear basically the reason why I made this blog post…


3 thoughts on “So Art Deco

  1. Great post! I have never listened to her music but I actually enjoyed the the song! It didn’t sound strange to me, but then again, I listen to a lot of jazz! The reverb on the her vocals through me off in the beginning but it went well with the texture of the song!


  2. WOW! After listen to the song you added, I really understand what you mean in your blog about it being so different than “mainstream”. I actually really enjoyed the piece because it is so different than the norm.


  3. Very interesting, Josie. It’s quite interesting that Lana Del Rey would choose such a mundane topic (liking a boy) for such adventurous musical material. Why do you think that is? Do you think she’s subtly making a comment on that topic?


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