Lana Del Rey has cultivated such a specific aesthetic at this point, that it can be difficult to describe her music as anything than “Lana Del Rey”. Freak is the fifth single released from her excellent 2015 album Honeymoon, an album that saw her descending even deeper into her rabbit hole of fetishised drugs and unavailable men. The new video, starring Josh Tillman of Father John Misty, fully embraces her decadence-as-performance art concept, and is a fitting match for the sultry song it accompanies.
One of the more tense and sensual cuts from Honeymoon, Freak sees Del Rey imploring her lover to “come to California / be a freak like me too” over a backdrop of muted synth bass, sweeping strings, and ominous hip-hop drums. The tempo is achingly slow, and the tension is palpable. The one moment Del Rey escapes her narcotic haze is in the bridge, as she contemplates “you’re cold as ice baby / but when you’re nice baby / you’re so amazing in every way”. Major-key guitars start to swirl in the mix as it feels like Del Rey is building to a climactic epiphany, but in characteristic style, diverts back to the dark and sensual chorus.
The grainy video shows Tillman and Del Rey wandering through sunny California as they embark on a seductive acid trip. Tillman’s trademark lecharousness is at home opposite Del Rey and her numbed sadness. His exaggerated facial hair gives him the appearance of an otherworldly prophet, and besides The Weeknd, he seems the best candidate for the kind of character Del Rey sings about in her lyrics. The final few minutes of the video play out to Clair de Lune, after Freak-proper has ended, sees a group of women swimming underwater in slow-motion, which is surprisingly entrancing to watch, although the music choice is somewhat of a cliché (although knowing Del Rey’s schtick, that may be the point). Freak, and it’s accompanying video are very “Lana Del Rey”, but luckily her craft has become so refined that this can only be a good thing.