Lana Del Rey – ‘Watercolor Eyes’ Single Review
Matt Titcombe reviews Lana Del Rey’s latest single, Watercolor Eyes.
A few days shy of 10 years on from the release of iconic major label debut Born To Die, Lana Del Rey continues in her productive, self-assured lane of emotional pop artistry with this standalone track. Appearing on the soundtrack of the HBO series Euphoria, ‘Watercolor Eyes’ has the slightly swimmy, narcotic-infused sense of tragedy that much of its parent show does.
The song is slight in stature, with Lana’s now characteristically fragile, breathy vocal sat over an instrumental as washed out and hazy as the titular watercolor eyes she sings of. Her gorgeous vocal swoops take centre stage as the track gently drifts in a state of anhedonia. Meanwhile, the lyric depicts a tortured relationship, a young love derailed to such depths that “Wild horses can’t keep us together”. It is a song haunted by the stasis of the destructive relationship it finds itself trapped in, left to question and despair.
If there is an issue with this song, it resides in its lack of dynamics and slightly muddied production, meaning it never announces itself – but it almost seems as though it doesn’t want to. In the final leg particularly, you want it to swell further, to soar in the way that the highpoints of her discography (Ultraviolence, Honeymoon, Norman F—-ing Rockwell) achieve so effortlessly. Whilst it does bear some of the traces of an Ultraviolence or Honeymoon track, and undoubtedly showcases her effortless talent for melody, it is not fleshed out enough to sit among those albums.
However, this isn’t a song intended to change anyone’s mind. If those on Chemtrails over the Country Club or Blue Banisters struck you as underbaked, then this probably won’t do much for you. But if, like me, you consider Lana to be one of the finest pop songwriters of her generation, then it is another pretty addition to a catalogue of songs that speak for themselves. She has nothing left to prove to anyone at this point. ‘Watercolor Eyes’ is another reminder of her ability to craft and conjure emotion, to depict and sonically beautify pain, even on a loose, understated cut like this.