I have not always been kind when writing about Lana Del Rey's music and persona but her latest single High By The Beach from her upcoming 4th studio album "Honeymoon" hits all the right notes high and otherwise. From the opening dour organ and effected vocals there is surreal vibe with a patina of bitterness and even paranoia in the sonic wash. When the deliciously chilled trap beat drops in the song becomes as cool as it becomes dark. Lyrically, tonally, Lana serves up a vocal and emotional performance that is maybe more complex then her prior work. Yes, she plays the victim (again) but this character has a self awareness of what she has and the backbone to use whatever she has (or doesn't have) to her advantage. The vocal performance and production also has a tongue and cheek quality deep in it's bones, a kind of Grindhouse vindictive revenge flick percolates through the lush sounds. There is also a familiarity to some of Lana's other songs but High By The Beach doesn't feel as pretentious which is a huge plus. Written by Del Rey, Rick Nowels and Kieron Menzies it is drenched in cool and spins a broken story that while melodramatic is unfortunately easy to relate to.
I love this verse. Like the entire song, it is a transcendent art pop masterpiece.
"Boy look at you, looking at me
I know you don't understand
You could be a bad motherfucker
But that don't make you a man
Now you're just another one of my problems
Because you got out of hand
We won't survive
We're sinking into the sand"
The official video is artfully done. It, like the song feels surreal, a bit cheeky, preposterous (in a good way) and very cool. At the end of the day (and this review) Lana Del Rey's High by the Beach is a cool sonic cinematic loop that might just play in my head forever.