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In late June, 2014, shortly after the release of her second major-label album, Ultraviolence, Del Rey stated she had begun recording her follow up album. Del Rey explained, "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".
In interviews around late 2014 to early 2015, Del Rey discussed the songs she had contributed to Tim Burton's 2014 film Big Eyes, "Big Eyes" and "I Can Fly", and the sound and lyrical content of her upcoming record. Also during this period, Del Rey released a song named "Wait for Life" with Emile Haynie for his debut album We Fall, leading many to speculate he would return as a collaborator on her upcoming album having not been featured on the previous one. On January 6, 2015, Honeymoon was revealed as the official title of the album.
All tracks on the album were recorded and mixed from 2014 to 2015 at The Green Building in Santa Monica, California, with the exception of "Salvatore" and "Swan Song", which were recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City, New York.
Rick Nowels, Kieron Menzies, and Del Rey serve as the executive producers on the album, the album was solely written and produced by the three. In October in an interview with L'Uomo Vogue, Del Rey stated she wanted to work with Giorgio Moroder, credited as the father of synth disco and electronic dance music, whom she had previously worked with on an upcoming project of his own. Later, in an interview with Grazia in December, 2014, Del Rey talked about working with Mark Ronson, acclaimed pop record producer who worked notably with Amy Winehouse on "Valerie", saying "I played him [Mark Ronson] ten 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, 2015, Ronson confirmed he was in the process of recording songs with Del Rey in L.A, saying "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."
On August 25, 2015, it was revealed that Ronson would not be involved with Del Rey's album after all. Ronson explained, "I hate to crap all over your excitement, but we just worked a couple days together and I think she's amazing, but we didn't actually end up doing anything for her album." He added, "I said it and I shouldn't have opened my big mouth, but I love that track 'Honeymoon' and the stuff I've heard from the record is great."
Rick Nowels' contribution to the album was elaborated on in an Instagram post on June 16, 2015. In the post, Del Rey explained "Every day in the studio with him and [Kieron Menzies] is a good day. It's truly my peaceful place and in a way, my home. I'm so grateful for all of the beautiful ways he dances around my melodies, and all of the new melodies that spring from the muse that dances between us."
Sound and writing
In her Grazia interview, Del Rey elaborated on the sound of the album saying "musically, I’m still looking for something different, with majestic choruses, beautiful orchestrations, a type of 50s vibe with a bit of soft grunge." Speaking about the lyrics, Del Rey explained that there wouldn't be a stark contrast in terms of the new album's writing and her previous work however she was working on developing herself lyrically, taking inspiration from Mark Ryden, Fellini and Picasso for more surrealist, colorful songs. Del Rey told Grazia that structurally she was writing in a more conventional way with verse-refrain composition and a "strong jazzy influence".
On January 2, 2015, Del Rey opened up a little more on the album, elaborating on how she wrote "Music to Watch Boys To" in a visual, noirish way saying "the title [of the song] lends itself to a visual of shadows of men passing by, this girl's eyes, her face. I can definitely see things." In an interview with Billboard a few days later, she remarked "[The new album is] very different from the last one and similar to the first two, Born to Die and Paradise. In terms of how she enjoyed the writing process behind the album, she explained "I'm kind of enjoying sinking into this more noirish feel for this one". When asked if she was still writing everything, Del Rey revealed she had covered "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", popularized by Nina Simone which would feature on the album.
When being interviewed by the Inquirer, on February 15, 2015, Del Rey talked more about her writing process for Honeymoon. She also expanded upon the surrealist inspiration she was taking for the writing of the album, saying her last three major releases (Born to Die, Paradise and Ultraviolence) were "heavy and autobiographical", whereas Honeymoon was different. She stated:
"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’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.”In an Instagram post, Del Rey cited "late night Miles Davis drives" as inspiration for the sound of the album, while also explaining that some tracks have a "muddy trap energy". In the same post, she described the title track, "Honeymoon", as "where the record begins and ends".
When talking about the album artwork, Del Rey explained there was an issue with the initial photoshoot that was intended to be for the cover, saying, "The pictures were perfect but something was missing. Maybe it was the need for movement and motion or the search for a single frame that felt extra graphic." A week after the first shoot, Del Rey was in Bel Air, California, with Neil Krug and Chuck Grant. The three of them took a ride in a StarLine Tours bus, and the photos taken on the ride ended up serving as the album art.
The artwork for Honeymoon was revealed when it went up for pre-order online, on August 21, 2015. The standard cover was shot by Chuck Grant with 120mm/35mm film, and the Urban Outfitters & Universal Store "exclusive" cover was shot by Neil Krug. On physical copies of the boxset, the cover featured Del Rey's name printed in a metallic red foil, and the album title printed in a metallic blue foil (the standard artwork for Honeymoon is used as the cover for the boxset).
Release and promotion
Del Rey suggested on May 22, 2015, at her concert in Ridgefield, Washington, that Honeymoon would be released in September, and confirmed on August 14 that the release date was scheduled for September 18, 2015. She unveiled the track listing through her Instagram account on August 20, the day before the record was made available for pre-order on the iTunes Store.
The album's title track was released to YouTube on July 14, 2015, accompanied by a video with a short clip of Del Rey along with the song's lyrics, as well as releasing the album artwork, tracklist and pre-order.
A month later, Del Rey released the record's lead single, "High by the Beach", on August 10, 2015. Del Rey also released a promotional single, "Terrence Loves You", on August 21, 2015. The song had previously been accessible by calling Del Rey's Honeymoon Hotline, via the number present on the album cover. Additionally, the Honeymoon Hotline played the track "Burnt Norton (Interlude)" upon immediate connection to the number. The hotline would provide weekly updates on the album, as well as lectures chosen by Del Rey. "Honeymoon" was released for purchase as the second promotional single on September 7, 2015. On September 9, Apple Music's Beats Radio 1 station premiered "Music to Watch Boys To" two days ahead of its release as the third promotional single. The following day, Del Rey released a sampler of Honeymoon, which included the tracks "Terrence Loves You", "Music to Watch Boys To", "Freak", and "High by the Beach".
Unlike her previous three major-label releases, Honeymoon was released without any deluxe, international or store-specific editions, however various bundles and packages were made available for purchase. The "Honeymoon CD Boxset & Digital Bundle" included Honeymoon as a CD digipack, a code that could be redeemed online for a digital copy of Honeymoon, a 16 page booklet, and ten 12" x 12" art prints. The "Honeymoon Red LP" included Honeymoon on red double heavyweight, gatefold vinyl complete with a 16 page booklet. Another limited edition vinyl package, "Honeymoon Red LP with Limited Edition Cover Art", also came with Honeymoon on red double heavyweight, gatefold vinyl and a 16 page booklet as well as featuring alternate album artwork. The Australian store, JB Hi-Fi, was offering a postcard set during online pre-orders, while the stock was lasting. In December 2015, the album was released on cassette exclusively for Urban Outfitters.
Del Rey did not promote the album with television performances or filmed interviews, instead relying on a couple of print and radio interviews, music videos, fan meets, radio appearances, and social media. Urban Outfitters held an early listening event on September 12 in select stores. Post the listening session, low-quality recordings of all the tracks from the album were leaked onto the Internet. On September 15, BBC Radio 1 premiered "Salvatore" and briefly interviewed Del Rey for Huw Stephens' (in place of Annie Mac's) Hottest Record In The World show. On the day of release, Mel's Drive-In restaurant from Sunset Blvd. was offering a promotional milkshake called "Honeymoon" that was based on a piña colada milkshake. The restaurant was offering other gifts such as tickets to a Starline Tour. Following the release of Honeymoon, Del Rey hosted 3 meet-and-greets in late September at select Urban Outfitters stores to promote the record. On February 9, 2016, she held a music video premiere for the song "Freak" at The Wiltern, in Los Angeles, California.
- Main article: Festival Tour
Although there was no official tour to promote Honeymoon, Del Rey performed at many music festivals across Europe and North America during 2016 to further promote the record. The first date was announced in December 2015 and more announcements followed over the next several months. The Festival Tour began in Warsaw, Poland on June 3, 2016, and ended in Mexico City, Mexico on November 20, 2016.
The first single from the record, "High by the Beach", was announced on August 4 and was released on August 10. The single was leaked via YouTube three days prior to the official release. The song was met with critical praise, with many publications commenting on the sound of the track being new for Del Rey.
"Terrence Loves You" was released on August 21, 2015, as a promotional single. The title track, "Honeymoon", was released as the album's second promotional single on September 7, despite being uploaded by Del Rey via YouTube about a month prior.
The release date for "Music to Watch Boys To" was released via Amazon. Del Rey soon posted to social media sites that the song would be premiered on Beats 1 Radio and would be released on September 11.
|The Daily Telegraph|||
Upon release, Honeymoon was met with a positive reaction from most critics. According to Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album holds a score of 78/100 based on 31 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". This has been the highest Metacritic score Del Rey has held for any of her albums, tied with Lust for Life, which holds the same score.
The Independent gave Honeymoon four out of five stars, writing that the album "finds Del Rey reverting, after the more atomised, individual characters of last year's Ultraviolence, to a composite persona closer to the dissolute subject of her Born to Die debut. Not only does her vocal delivery remain the same throughout, but also its protagonist’s "voice"; while the emotional impact of what might sometimes be traumatic developments seems somehow damped, as if experienced through a narcotised haze". The Guardian, giving the album four out of five stars as well, commented that "there’s a timelessness to Honeymoon, and an intrigue that should linger longer than her previous LPs". PopMatters praised the album, saying "Producing three major-label albums in four years has developed Lana Del Rey into an artistic innovator who fearlessly draws from style and substance across the past century, whose vision is completely original and not remotely predictable". Rolling Stone shared similar thoughts in regards to the strength of the album, saying that "whatever her intentions, they've led to her most genuinely thrilling music ever".
The Telegraph gave the album four out of five stars, and described it as "an ambient album for broken-hearted hipsters" and praised the melodies and arrangements on the album. USA Today believed the album "shows that Del Rey's sound has evolved and matured in captivating ways", while giving a three-out-of-four-stars review for the album. In a four-star review, The Metropolist thought "Del Rey has found a balance in sounds" and praised how the album's production "beautifully harmonises lush strings, muddy baselines and haunting melodies, all blending to create a fluent and ethereal body of work". Evening Standard also praised the album's production, remarking how it "swells in time to the oceans of longing in Del Rey's voice".
|American Songwriter||American Songwriter's Top 50 Albums of 2015||35|
|Billboard||25 Best Albums of 2015||21|
|Crack Magazine||Albums of the Year 2015||60|
|Cosmopolitan||The 15 Best Albums of 2015||4|
|Dazed||The Top 20 Albums of 2015||15|
|Diffuser||The 50 Best Albums of 2015||40|
|Digital Spy||The 25 Best Albums of 2015||19|
|Drowned in Sound||Drowned in Sound's Favourite Albums of the Year 2015||15|
|Gigwise||Gigwise's Albums of the Year||44|
|Idolator||2015’s Best Albums: Idolator Editors Pick Their Favorite 15||3|
|Gorilla vs. Bear||Gorilla vs. Bear's Albums of 2015||24|
|Loud and Quiet||Loud and Quiet's Top 40 Albums of 2015||28|
|Mashable||The 30 Best Albums of 2015||30|
|Newsweek||Top 20 Albums of 2015||12|
|NME||NME's Albums of the Year 2015||7|
|Pigeons and Planes||Best Albums of 2015||10|
|PopCrush||12 Best Albums of 2015||6|
|Popjustice||The Top 33 Albums of 2015||23|
|Rolling Stone||50 Best Albums of 2015||12|
|20 Best Pop Albums of 2015||2|
|Rob Sheffields' Top 20 Albums of 2015||14|
|San Jose Mercury News||Top 10 Albums of 2015||4|
|Spin||The 50 Best Albums of 2015||18|
|The 25 Best Pop Albums of 2015||2|
|The Inquisitr||3 Best Albums of 2015||N/A|
|The Line of Best Fit||The 50 Best Albums of 2015||N/A|
|The New York Times||The Best Albums of 2015||9|
|The Telegraph||The Best Pop and Rock Albums of 2015||N/A|
|Variance||50 Best Albums of 2015||33|
Commercial performanceCommercially, the album was a success. Honeymoon debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200, selling 116,000 units, 105,000 of which were pure album sales while the rest is a mixture track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The album dropped to number 15 the following week. In Australia, the album debuted at number one on the ARIA charts, becoming Del Rey's third consecutive number one following Born to Die and Ultraviolence, which both spent one week at the top of the charts. In France, Honeymoon has sold over 31,000 copies.
Honeymoon had the fifth highest first week sales worldwide by a female solo artist in 2015 selling over 206,000 copies. In October 2015, Honeymoon was certified Gold in Brazil. In December 2015, Honeymoon was certified Silver in the United Kingdom, and then in March 2017, Honeymoon was certified Gold in the United Kingdom with 100,000+ sales.
The album track listing was revealed via Del Rey's Instagram on August 20, 2015. The next day, it was put up for pre-order. The track listing consists of 12 original tracks, an interlude originally written by T.S. Eliot (track 8), and one cover originally sung by Nina Simone (track 14). Honeymoon does not feature any deluxe edition tracks.
|1.||"Honeymoon"||Lana Del Rey, Rick Nowels||Del Rey, Nowels, Kieron Menzies||5:50|
|2.||"Music to Watch Boys To"||Del Rey, Nowels||Del Rey, Nowels, Menzies||4:50|
|3.||"Terrence Loves You"||Del Rey, Nowels||Del Rey, Nowels, Menzies||4:50|
|4.||"God Knows I Tried"||Del Rey, Nowels||Del Rey, Nowels, Menzies||4:40|
|5.||"High by the Beach"||Del Rey, Nowels, Menzies||Del Rey, Nowels, Menzies||4:17|
|6.||"Freak"||Del Rey, Nowels||Del Rey, Nowels, Menzies||4:55|
|7.||"Art Deco"||Del Rey, Nowels||Del Rey, Nowels, Menzies||4:55|
|8.||"Burnt Norton (Interlude)"||T.S. Eliot||Del Rey, Nowels, Menzies||1:21|
|9.||"Religion"||Del Rey, Nowels||Del Rey, Nowels, Menzies||5:23|
|10.||"Salvatore"||Del Rey, Nowels||Del Rey, Nowels, Menzies||4:41|
|11.||"The Blackest Day"||Del Rey, Nowels||Del Rey, Nowels, Menzies||6:05|
|12.||"24"||Del Rey, Nowels||Del Rey, Nowels, Menzies||4:55|
|13.||"Swan Song"||Del Rey, Nowels||Del Rey, Nowels, Menzies||5:23|
|14.||"Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"||Bennie Benjamin, Gloria Caldwell, Sol Marcus||Del Rey, Nowels, Menzies||3:01|
Credits adapted from the liner notes of Honeymoon.
- Lana Del Rey — vocals (all tracks)
- Derek "DJA" Allen — percussion (tracks 7, 13)
- Rusty Anderson — electric guitar (track 12), guitar effects (track 6)
- Curt Bisquera — live drums (tracks 1, 2, 3)
- Lana Del Rey — Mellotron effects (track 6)
- Brian Griffin — live drums (tracks 10, 12, 13, 14), percussion (tracks 10, 12, 13, 14), conga (track 2)
- David Levita — electric guitar (tracks 9, 11, 13), acoustic guitar (track 9), dulcimer (track 13)
- Roger Joseph Manning Jr. — bass (track 2), Omnichord (track 2)
- Kieron Menzies — drums (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13), drum loops (track 13), bass (tracks 4, 5, 11), effects (tracks 1, 3, 5), loops (tracks 9, 13), percussion (tracks 2, 6, 7, 10), samples (tracks 2, 4, 5, 11), synthesizers (tracks 5, 7, 11), 808 bass (track 6)
- Leon Michels — flute (tracks 2, 5), Juno lead (track 5), Juno pad (track 7), saxophone (tracks 3, 6, 7), synthesizer (tracks 6), synthesizer pad (tracks 3, 5)
- Rick Nowels — acoustic guitar (tracks 1, 4, 10), bass (tracks 1, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14), celesta (tracks 14), chamberlin (tracks 10, 13), electric guitar (tracks 2, 4, 6, 9, 10, 14), electric piano (tracks 4, 12), guitar (track 9), horns (track 13), keyboards (track 5), Mellotron (tracks 1, 4, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14), organ (tracks 1, 4, 5, 11, 13), percussion (tracks 10), piano (tracks 1, 2, 3, 10, 12), strings (track 10), synthesizer pads (tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13), synthesizers (tracks 3, 5, 9, 12), vox organ (track 14)
- Patrick Warren — orchestrations (all tracks), basson (track 2), clarinet (track 2), effects (track 13), electric piano (track 9), flute (track 2), harmonium (track 5), horns (track 12), kantele (track 3), oboe (track 2), percussion (track 12), piano (tracks 5, 7), strings (tracks 1, 2, 3, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14), synth (track 7), synth effects (tracks 1, 14)
- Trevor Yasuda — additional effects (track 11)
- Technical, songwriting and production
- Lana Del Rey — songwriting (all tracks except 8, 14), production (all tracks)
- Adam Ayan — mastering (all tracks)
- Markus Bagå — design
- Bennie Benjamin — songwriting (track 14)
- Gloria Caldwell — songwriting (track 14)
- Keefus Ciancia — composition (track 8)
- T.S. Eliot — songwriting (track 8)
- Nicolas Essig — engineering (track 12)
- Chuck Grant — photography, cover art direction
- Chris Garcia — engineering (all tracks except 12), additional recording
- Phil Joly — engineering (track 13), assistant engineering (tracks 6, 10)
- Neil Krug — photography
- Mat Maitland — design
- Sol Marcus — songwriting (track 14)
- Kieron Menzies — production (all tracks), songwriting (track 5), mixing (all tracks), recording (all tracks), engineering (all tracks except 12)
- Rick Nowels — songwriting (all tracks except 8, 14), production (all tracks)
- Emerson Day Rhodes — assistant engineering (track 12)
- Iris Sofia — assistant engineering (tracks 6, 10)
- Josh Tyrrell — assistant engineering (track 13)
- Trevor Yasuda — engineering (all tracks except 12, 13), additional recording
- Standard iTunes edition
- Art originals
Art prints shot by Neil Krug and Chuck Grant
Charts and certifications
|Australia||September 18, 2015||CD, LP||Universal|||
|United Kingdom||CD, LP||Polydor|||
|United Kingdom||September 23, 2015||LP||Polydor|||
|Canada||September 25, 2015||Universal|||
|Poland||September 29, 2015|||
|France||September 30, 2015||Polydor|||
|Italy||October 2, 2015||Universal|||
|United States||November 20, 2015||Box set||Interscope|||
|France||December 4, 2015||Polydor|||
|Germany||December 11, 2015||Universal|||
- Buy the Honeymoon box set, vinyl, CD and digital album from the Official Lana Del Rey Store.
- Buy Honeymoon on iTunes.
- Buy Honeymoon on Google Play.
- Buy Honeymoon on Amazon.
- Stream Honeymoon on Spotify.