Review Summary: All the world's a stage.
In conversation with Anupa Mistry, Abel Tesfaye noted the parallels between his own lecherous persona The Weeknd and Lizzy Grant's disaster seeker Lana Del Rey, specifically of how they locate themselves in each other's compositions. Unlike The Weeknd, however, Del Rey's always fought an uphill battle because she plays the lethargic and detached victim in these performances, as opposed to the agent of accountability who caused it all. Comparatively, she's what's left after the chauvinist's purge, made all the more unlikeable for prescribing to a defeatists narrative that audiences generally feel anxious about identifying with.
It's probably not fair, because in the drab wastelands Del Rey inhabits she's just as prone to a vacant majesty as much as she is the sullen plodding she's often accused of. Make no mistakes, Honeymoon
is a tiring listen, 65-minutes of exhausting and protracted misery that never really reaches catharsis. It just sort of basks in its own absurd self-loathing, as if to imply Morrissey never really could hate himself quite like this. It's impressively catatonic music punctuated by the occasional upbeat detour, most notable on the immediately dated (yet still undeniably glorious) trap-footed "High By the Beach". But then being upbeat has never been Del Rey's strength, and although we all like to giggle at her self-appointed descriptor as a 'gangster Nancy Sinatra', Honeymoon
genuinely succeeds when its narrative doubles down on narcotics and the mechanization of sex. The likes of "Music to Watch Boys to" and "Terrence Loves You" aren't nearly as important or satisfying as the bleak exhibitions of "Art Deco" and the title-track, where Lana Del Rey finally realizes she's too fu
cked up to care. It's the best move Grant's made for herself since composing "Video Games", because she's opened the door for her next album to be more than just contrarian viewpoints; if we're lucky, it could be the fullest realization of Lana Del Rey yet.
All the world's a stage, and Lizzy Grant is just another player, performer, and portrayer. Although we may anguish over her contrasting sincerity and irony, it's difficult to argue how compelling her contradiction truly is. Overwrote, overlong, and melodramatic to the nth degree, Honeymoon
succeeds because it's what we expected: Lana Del Rey doing Lana Del Rey, complete with the faults and the scars. Forget your moralistic pretenses and you might just enjoy it.