By Bella Mazzola
Lana Del Rey definitely reinvents herself--yet again-- on her new album, Ultraviolence that has placed #1 in this week’s top selling albums on Billboard 200. Her second full-length album is very different from her previous mostly due to the help she received from The Black Key’s Dan Auerbach. Auerbach brings more of a bluesy-classic rock feeling rather than the poppy-R&B-electro vibe that Born to Die had so much of.
This album had high expectations and although I wouldn’t consider it her best, I think Lana continued to create music with originality and fosters a different sound from any other artist in today’s music world. She is incredibly raw; and showcases this rawness through her powerful lyrics and her ability to express pure emotion in her voice. The album also expresses an evident sense of nostalgia leaving listeners with introspective and haunting rumbling in their soul.
The album of course is permeated with songs about her problematic and complicated relationships: a classic theme of her music, which has gained her much notoriety. Specifically on her titled track, “Ultraviolence”, her capturing lyrics such as “He hit me and it felt like a kiss” underlines the theme of emotional distress that is prevalent in her album.
The raw emotions in her music are appreciated by her fans because it truly convinces them to believe every word she’s saying. She’s real. She’s honest. In the track “Fucked My Way Up to the Top” her honesty is emphasized when she puts rumors of her relationship with a label executive to rest. She admits to fans that “I fucked my way to the top/this is my show”. She doesn’t sing of things that are superficial yet still clings to the idea that love is perfect creating the dichotomy that we all struggle with within our own romantic lives. Her album is refreshing and touches on the idea that the world we live in is filled with imperfections: a pure human truth.
The depth of her music is limitless because of her willingness to touch upon the realities of love and how it can leave many scars. Nothing shows that more like her track, “Sad Girl”, where she is trying to justify her status as a guy’s mistress. She sings “Being a mistress on the side, it might not appeal to fools like you/but you haven’t seen my man” showing how although she knows her status is looked down upon it doesn’t matter because she’s in love with a man who’s “got the fire”. Love isn’t black and white. Her ballad expresses that by highlighting how love can bring two people in situations that may not always fit the ideal of Romeo and Juliet.
Although lyrically and musically strong, Ultraviolence does not display her talent as a vocalist. There is no doubt that Del Rey does have her moments; specifically, on tracks such as “Money Power Glory” and “Brooklyn Baby” where she shows of her skill as an alto that helps multiply the power laced in her voice when singing the chorus in each track.
I would suggest exploring the deluxe version of Ultraviolence because it contains more upbeat tracks such as “Florida Kilos”. Although this albums screams sadness, that is also the beauty of it because you are pushed to immerse yourself in the lyrics and explore the depths of pain. Other than a couple, be prepared to listen to tracks that are great for rainy days.
Edited by Valerie Reich
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