The Underworld of Lana Del Rey [Review of Ultraviolence]

By the name Ultraviolence, even if familiar with the anguished work of the princess of melancholy Lana Del Rey, (and the word, coined by the author Anthony Burgess,) it completely transpires as nothing short of burdensome.

Decidedly less affectionate than Born to Die or Paradise, it definitely feels like the dark(er) sequel to what happens when you finally do get the guy. Acoustic driven or heavily lush with drums and thrusts of blues, this is the kind of album that even when in a good mood will have you thinking about how your life connects to the the lyrics and why is it that Del Rey relishes in a such a dramatic atmosphere.

As the ultimate anomaly in music right now, she’s gracefully dodged the proverbial limelight, and cult fans and devoted music critics enjoy dissecting her vintage pop. In Del Rey’s world, women are challenging and she delves into what does and doesn’t make them weak. What provokes them to give into submission and makes them otherwise look face down when making decisions and get trapped in the unraveling emotions of the deeper end. On Born to Die, and the EP Paradise, it was all for love. On Ultraviolence, the undercurrent seems to be for the sake of wanting it it all, even if the journey is brutal as hell. With tracks like the disturbing “Ultraviolence”, alongside “Cruel World” and “Sad Girl”, we just can’t get away from this distressed woman and listeners will be asking what’s it all worth for her anyway?

There are also Americana themes wreathed in. A major focus being the everyday cycle of working for the man and the eventual and potentially fatal discourse of the students becoming the master. In that case, you could then cue “Money Power Glory” and “Fucked My Way to the Top.” Certain moments of the record will have you feeling if Martin Scorcese‘s The Wolf of Wall Street had starred Jennifer Lawrence, with all its shades of dejection and irresolute personality, Ultraviolence could’ve been the main soundtrack.

Still, this is a LP Del Rey should be proud of. Her fascinating fusion of remixed oldies with a sharper production somewhat stun 21st century ears, as songs like “West Coast” and “Old Money” are gems. Lest tracks like “Brooklyn Baby” and “Shades of Cool” are a bit draggy, and the album naturally wrap on a rather unsure note with the “Jolene”-esque “The Other Woman.” TIME viewed Ultraviolence as a “cornucopia of dysfunction“, and it really is just another glimpse into the frame of how Del Rey envisioned a bygone era of where boys protected the girls as much they made them cry and girls still had a lot to learn about the power of walking away.

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