By Rathan Paul Harshavardan
Released Friday June 13th, 2014 - UMusic
What do you when you are Lana Del Rey, have a chart-topping alternate album, no collaborations on your debut, covered iconic tracks and brushed criticism? You release an album calledUltraviolence smack dab in the middle of the year and revel in its celebration of sadcore. After the successful Born To Die and an EPParadise, Lana is back with the dark, spiritual and almost unlistenable follow-up to the perfect album of 2012. Does it match Born To Die? I don't think it has to and apparently neither does Del Rey.
Ultraviolence, begins with Cruel World, a slow jazzy track complete with the drawl and classic references Lana has come to make her own. If you thought that Ultraviolence will be heavy with orchestration, Dan Auerbach, who produced the whole album can assure you that it is nowhere in sight. Heavy with beats of drums and guitar riffs, electronica and Lana's drawls, Cruel World will give you a taste of what is in store. If you love sadcore, you will love Cruel World. The whole album has the same theme - love so violent, that it hurts just to love the right man. Vintage American culture is subtly mentioned, but the focus is the same syrupy yet poisonous love for the bad boy.
The next track Ultraviolence is Tropico in a song. Love is ultra-violent enough that a song and album is named after it. Carrying the notes from Cruel World, Ultraviolence, Shades Of Cool and Brooklyn Baby are peas of the same pod. Listen to the tracks in succession to feel the drugged vocals that run through the tracks if you like getting high on music. Lana loves her drugs, most tracks on the record talk about it. Hell, she's even got a track called Florida Kilos and though it is at the end, it is like Lolita on drugs.
The truly unlistenable track Lana mentioned must be Guns And Roses. I tried to like it, but I must admit I didn't feel the drift. The production is all over of the place and the rhythm slightly off-beat to even put the song in the jazz or indie category. If Lana does have a rare jazz collection like she says she does, then Old Money, Shades Of Cool, Brooklyn Baby, West Coast and Black Beauty belong to it. These tracks grow on you and are the highlights of the album along with minor ones like Sad Girl, Money Power Glory and Pretty When You Cry. The sadness of the record is complete with Is This Happiness, ironically having nothing to do with the emotions of elation.
Rick Nowels, Dan Auerbach, Dan Heath, Blake Stranathan, Barrie O'Neill, Greg Kurstin, Nino Rota, Robbie Fitzsimmons, Jessie Mae Robinson and Harmony Korine share writing credits with Lana on the songs that are modern jazz rather than indie-pop-rock. Elizabeth Grant took the introspective route to explain the Lana Del Rey persona. Lana loves her man real hard, he should know, she has so many songs about him. Love hurts, drugs can't heal the pain, you might temporarily love being the other person, but you still wish you were the only one, because if love calls you will run, run, run. If you truly love the idea of Lana Del Rey, as fans of the twirling chanteuse, I'm sure you will love this record.