American beauty and singer/songwriter Lana Del Rey (aka Elizabeth Woolridge Grant) is inspired by timeless superstars like Marilyn Monroe and Janis Joplin, with her image and work always reflecting a similar vintage all American portrayal. Like previous albums, ‘Ultaviolence’ tells stories of personal adventure, but in a more moody gritty respect.
Coincidentally, with these things considered, the cover to her third album comes as no shock where it captures Lana in a monochromatic setting, getting out of a classic car. Albeit predictable, it strongly indicates her love for the archetypal film noir era, when the stars of years past reigned heavily only to have their lives come to untimely tragic end. It’s plain to see that Del Rey glorifies the poetic misfortunate of such talent. Whether or not she’s an original talent herself or a cleverly marketed pretty girl with a voice is for you to decide.
The LP eases us in with the hauntingly beautiful ‘Cruel World’, which holds an otherworldly feel to it, with Del Rey‘s voice expectedly on top form. It has a sombre feel to it in juxtaposition with the saddening lyrical content, synonymous with Del Rey as a musician. Del Rey likes to romanticise youthful folly, mistakes and drunken misdemeanour.
Idealistically, as an artist, she wants to be cool, be around the indifferent and seen as a somewhat tragic beauty, much like her idols. ‘Shades Of Cool’ is pretty indicative to her intentions, the title even speaks for itself. Vocally she bears a strange mishmash between Marilyn Monroe and Kate Bush. With regards to new artists of today, ‘Ultrasonic’ holds a great comparison to bands like London Grammar.
Keeping within the same depressing tone, ‘Ultraviolence’ remains blatant in its idolization of the misery and pain of love, and self-destruction she writes about. Titles like ‘Sad Girl’ and ‘Pretty When You Cry’ symbolize just how much Del Rey is eager for listeners to understand that pain can be beautiful. Throughout the album, she encapsulates all that is Hollywood, yet conveys how she’s aware of the ruthless world that she’s part of. She ridicules in comprehension with tracks ‘Brookyln Baby’, expressing “They treat me like a picture book”, and on ‘Fucked My Way Up To The Top’, she’s extremely blunt with her explanation of how she got where she is.
Written by Kella Colton