Album review: Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence



I really wanted to review this album, purely out of frustration. I really like Lana Del Rey; Born to Die was one of my favourite albums of 2012. I love her silky smooth, 50’s era voice. I admire her eye for aesthetics, and her general musical compositions. I just think she’s really cool, like actual cool. Not when you say cool but don’t really mean it. What I don’t look to Lana for is greatness from her lyricism, hell no. It seems she has this one track one mind on trying to make EVERYTHING sound tragic, expensive and dangerous, or all of the above. I got that impression from Born to Die, and Paradise. But she hasn’t given up, so here is a list of words I’m sicking of hearing Lana Del Rey say:

  • Baby
  • Little party dress
  • Money
  • Girl
  • Bad
  • Cashmere
  • Baby
  • Crazy
  • White
  • Satin (has she actually ever said that?)
  • Red
  • Sad
  • Baby
  • Cry
  • Cool

Did I put baby in there 3 times? Ah well, I think that’s enough for now. I think what makes it worse, is that no-one really seems to know who Lana Del Rey, or should I say Lizzie Grant really is.lana-del-ray Well I don’t anyway. Any interview I’ve ever seen of her, everything that comes out of her mouth appears to be incredibly calculated, scripted, like she’s reading from a teleprompter. So what she’s trying to feed us via her lyrics, I find it any of it hard to stomach. In a couple of recent interviews, she’s quoted to have found ‘intergalactic possibilities more interesting than feminism’, and in an entirely separate interview ‘would like to be dead’, referring to the dead at 27 club. Wow.
The tales of bad girl image that she’s trying to create, is so central to her entire persona that I think she’s begun to believe it herself. Even the name Ultraviolence seems to mean nothing really, it’s like she’s looked it up in the dictionary, thought ‘oh that sounds dangerous, I’ll tenuously associate that to a subject matter to make myself sound cool’.

Ultraviolence is full of cinematic arrangements, Del Rey’s signature vocals, which are undeniably great, and some good melodies. But 80% of this album is hugely drab, slow and lifeless. It sounds as if she’s forgotten how to annunciate too, every word seems to fade away into another word, or the background. It’s like she’s taken a colour photograph, scratched out the detail and taken a black and white photograph of it, on low exposure.

To sum up what I think of each track, here is my iTunes:

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 16.33.28

The album is inundated with muddled, embarrassing lyrics, like: “I’m a dragon, you’re a whore” from F*cked My Way Up to the Top. Which is right up their as one of the worst lyrics of all freaking time.
Personally I think this album is a really big step back from Born to Die, and I frankly regret buying it. Recommended tracks: West Coast, Shades of Cool, Sad Girl.



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