Lana Del Rey: Ultraviolence – Review

Matthew Hoy
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Lana Del Rey is the only artist that I know of who takes such deppressing and sad topics and creates such intense lyrical beauty. This album from the 27 year-old artist is rife with melancholic melodies and her own paradoxically sweet vocals.

Cruel World tells of love lost, the desolation found when you have given yourself over to someone and they’ve left you hollow. This track also highlights a transitional phase within the artist with the lyrics, “’Cause you’re young, you’re wild, you’re free, You’re dancin’ circles around me.” Lana is showing that she isn’t the same person anymore, she identifies as more mature and I think that this is true for many relationships that end, either you mature together in the relationship or the one outgrows the other. Here Lana’s song shows that she might find it hard to dissociate from this lover but as she later says; “I’m finally happy now that you’re gone.”

Ultraviolence, the album’s namesake, has lyrics that hint to an abusive past – both emotionally and physically. She refers to this unknown figure who would hit her. She also introduces the idea that a victim of abuse seldom can’t differentiate between love and abuse because they become desensitized to this. Most abusive relationships achieve sustainability by making the victim feel they deserve it, or by creating a skewed mindset whereby the abused feels dependent on abuse for worth. Ultraviolence is first found within The Clockwork Orange a famous piece of literature which shows how educated Lana is and how she studies her art, it is not merely guesswork.

Shades of Cool, tells the story of trying to love someone who doesn’t love themselves. Her lover finds himself amidst shades of blue, which refers to the different strati of depression. You can feel her anger and frustration at the situation as she can’t break his cycle of self-loathing. This is a beautiful piece of poetic genius and Del Rey hammers home these themes with real power and elegance.

Similarly, her next track Brooklyn Baby is nothing short of genius. It’s a retrospect of her New York days as a struggling student finding herself. It is definitely another sing-along piece like Blue Jeans from her previous album Born to Die and it is the type of song you could easily envisage her singing in a small unknown smoky bar. Her audience a mix-match of students and older patrons on the outskirts of society all brought together by the need to lose themselves amidst the intoxicating soulful tunes.

When I heard her track West Coast I immediately envisaged an old convertible cruising along a coastal road. Wind in your hair, sepia tones and despite the tranquil setting tears are streaked down your cheeks. Occasionally I think we all have done something similar, gone for a jog, climbed on a bus or locked the door. We’ve fallen in love with someone who we know is a danger to us, we need to get away. Like the uncontrollable urge to vomit our soul wishes to expel this person, these feelings from our hearts. We feel dizzy with fear, but it is one way road, no turning back….

Her next track Sad Girl, tells the pain of being the mistress. She genuinely loves this man and she knows that he surely cant because she’s the dirty little secret, and it kills her inside because how can this love feel so real yet be so flawed? Pretty When you Cry, reminds us once again that we are dealing with an incredible artist, like any true artist she finds beauty amidst the pain. Like a painter she uses her tears to mix the paint, she uses her very self as a tool to fill the canvas, she bleeds for her art. This is why we love Lana del Rey, not because she is dark and gloomy but because she’s a true martyr for her work.

Money Power Glory is quite simply a masterpiece. It showcases her hauntingly beautiful vocals so well and is frankly orgasmic in it’s delivery. In an exclusive interview with Grazia magazine Lana confessed that, F*cked my way up to the Top, was born out of irritation at an “artist” who accused Lana of having a fake style and has now attempted to adopt it and claim authenticity.

Old Money, takes us back to our first love. That one guy who will always have a piece of our hearts, the one guy that despite whatever happened to cause us to split we know we would give them another chance. “And if you call I’ll run, run, run. If you change your mind, I’ll come, come, come”

The Other Woman, makes us review our opinion of the kept woman. Her desperate attempts to keep her man entertained, her loneliness knowing that she is merely a break from the routine of marriage. It’s the ballad of the mistress and her bleak outlook and future.

I applaud Lana on her exquisite album, a collection of songs I hope will go on to be remembered and spoken about for years to come. She has true talent and is not just a star but an artist worthy of recognition.

About Matthew Hoy

Matthew Hoy is currently studying to become a Chartered Accountant. Despite the popular belief that accountants lack creativity, he has a creative side and is passionate about writing and inspiring people. He has a love-affair with music and weird novels. @Matthew_Hoy