Lana Del Rey – “Freak” (Singles Going Steady)

A molasses jam as sensual as it is sticky, but also one of the more directly pleasing tracks on Lana Del Rey's Honeymoon.

Maria Schurr: A lot of people seem to judge Lana Del Rey’s music by how languid it is, and although this is certainly seen as a detriment to some, personally it feels truly refreshing in a time when music — and Top 40 music in particular — is engineered for instant gratification. A molasses jam as sensual as it is sticky, but also one of the more directly pleasing tracks on Honeymoon thanks to its hypnotically flirty chorus (and don’t you just love how slightly antiquated “we can dance to rock music / kiss while we do it” is?). Also, what other pop star could look so glamorous with Kool-Aid running down the sides of her mouth? 8/10

Emmanuel Elone: This is standard fare for Lana Del Rey. Her ’60s, bad girl image comes out once more on “Freak”, featuring lethargic vocals, catchy melodies, and a touch of psychedelic atmosphere in the background. The first half is a great Lana track, but the second half is an elongated classical piano piece. It’s pretty, but not necessary to have tagged onto first half of the song. Other than that, “Freak” fits nicely into Lana’s growing catalog of ’60s psych-pop nostalgia. [6/10]

Pryor Stroud: From her first record, Lana Del Ray has been a sentimentalist who enjoys inspecting the sonic menageries of bygone eras and then spiraling them, once they’re dusted off, into drugged-out, silver-screen ballads. Her songs decay before your eyes; they are gaudy pieces of jewelry covered in rust and grime that momentarily regain their sparkle, only to lose their luster again and eventually disintegrate, reduced to the dust they once collected. “Freak” fits into this same mold. It’s filled with blurry visions of domestic disarray: slow dancing to rock records, perversions only revealed under the sheets, slow-motion words uttered, not for their meaning, but for the sultry open-and-shut of lips full to bursting. Like that other Del Ray staple that got so much airplay, the song is set in a fleeting summer of endless melancholy, where both lovers chase each other through the halls of some noir-era mansion — think the pleasure domes of Sunset Boulevard or Citizen Kane, it doesn’t matter — and end up losing their way and, relatedly, each other. [8/10]

Morgan Y. Evans: This is sort of like when Lady Gaga and R. Kelly teamed up in terms of bad. Lana just elevated the new poster boy for overrated Starbucks-friendly hipster music and she doesn’t need him. Like, James Franco at his doofiest is way cooler. Why were the Silver Jews never that popular and Jason Molina able to become an American tragedy, but this pretty basic dude who occasionally waxes poetic gets the star treatment for rocking a shitty Jim Morrison beard and just showing up? There is a “Father John Misty” type in every indie mecca right now trying too hard to be Mr. California or the new Levon Helm or Mr. Brooklyn douche 2016. If that is your perfect caffelatte sex fantasy, more (or less, rather) power to you. Ultraviolence was a damn near perfect album, full of adventure as well as the archetypal Lana things we love. Honeymoon has a lot of backtracking, sad to report. Thinking of falling off the wagon now. [3/10]

Chad Miller: Wonderfully moody and cinematic, This downtempo jam evokes emotion, or when appropriate, the lack of it. Del Rey sounds cool and in control here even though she leaves traces of her desperation lying in the cracks. She’s definitely one of the most interesting artists/vocalists in pop today, and while her personality pushes the track upward, one might wish for a track that showed these qualities off a bit more, musically and lyrically. [7/10]

Chris Ingalls: Much like the video, where Father John Misty goes full Charles Manson, this is darkly seductive stuff, with a slow, heavy, synthetic beat clashing with the minor-key doom. “Baby if you wanna leave / come to California / be a freak like me, too.” It sounds like fun, but it’s probably a really bad idea. Meanwhile, the second half of the song/video (is this a remix? Nobody told me) contains a lot of slo-mo underwater acrobatics, looking like something from an obscure Criterion Collection film, while “Claire de Lune” plays on the piano. Is this on the album? That would be something. [8/10]

Jared Skinner: Lana Del Ray’s new music video feels like it’s trying to offer us something of artistic value, but it is far from succeeding. Coupling a warm color pallet with a strong disenchanted attitude, the result feels void and without anything of substance to grab onto. Instead, we are left with a flat, boring video that seems to be wasting an artist’s talent and songwriting ability. [4/10]

SCORE: 6.29

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