Lilian Min
Updated August 10, 2015
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Lana Del Rey’s new album Honeymoon drops in October, and she’s been rolling out new details and tunes slowly but deliberately. After creating an account for her album and using it to tease first song “Honeymoon,” Del Rey’s next move was this: Dropping new tune “High by the Beach” on Apple Music’s Beats Radio today, and possibly teasing visuals from her new album. Let’s explore.

First off, “High by the Beach” has much more in common with first album Born to Die than the hazy, washed out rock production that permeated Ultraviolence and gave it its intimate, yet distant, sound. Over muted keyboards that morph into a stuttering snare for the chorus, Del Rey intones lines like, “All I wanna do is get high by the beach / get high baby, bye bye” in her trademark languid delivery. The electronic additions expand in the latter half of the song, as synths weave an airy net around the higher edge of Del Rey’s range.

As for the lyrics, “High by the Beach” is probably the closest Del Rey has come to putting out an explicitly “I am my own woman” kind of song. For someone who sings so much about dependence, oftentimes meeting with and deserving criticism for her songs’ portrayals of deeply feminine submission, lines like “Don’t need your money, money / to get me what I want / lights camera action / I’ll do it on my own” are downright revolutionary. “Anyone can start again / not through love but through revenge” it’s a torch song, a pouty-lipped call to action — and given the images Del Rey’s been posting on her Instagram, oh, there’ll be hell to pay for the poor dude at the other end of her ire.

Though “High by the Beach” still retains Del Rey’s obsession with morbidity (“I don’t wanna do this anymore,” the sigh not heard but implied), hey, even she just wants to hang out at the beach sometimes. And when she does, she doesn’t want any man getting in the way between her and her fun. For someone whose public image is so built on rock music tropes (e.g. the Disturbed but Beautiful Rocker Man, the Long-lashed Songstress in Distress), to see her play with them instead of play into them is a welcome move. It helps that the song hits that exact late summer jam sweet spot.

We can’t wait to hear what new directions Del Rey explores next, and how her sound and image evolve in the future.

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(Image via.)