Monday, June 23, 2014

Album Review: Lana Del Rey - Ultraviolence

On the follow up to her successful debut, Born To Die, Ultraviolence finds Lana Del Rey fine-tuning her trademark, melodramatic sound. Beautiful and dark, her second release is more complete and powerful than her past work.

Many things from her first release still remain. A spoken word section on the title track similar to the one on “This is what Makes Us Girls” and hip-hop influenced beats are still present. The minimalist aesthetic, which made Born so unique, still exists here as well, most songs having on a bass beat and vocals with a piano or a guitar added in.

What is new is the heavy blues guitar on many of the album’s tracks, most noticeably “Shades of Cool,” provided by the album’s main producer and Black Keys front man Dan Auerbach. This new element moves the album away from pop and adds a tone more appropriate for the lyrics.

Ultraviolence is a much darker album than Born. Gone are the songs about Diet Mountain Dew and being on the radio. In are songs that wrestle with lost love, sadness and addiction. The album’s opener, “Cruel World,” sets the tone for the album by addressing all of these issues.

Del Rey’s voice is still the main attraction on Ultraviolence. She switches from her classic low drone to glass-shattering high notes, hitting every octave in between, with ease. With that raw power, Del Rey is easily able to overpower the music that accompanies her.

After a long break, Lana Del Rey returns more focused, creating a cohesive album that showcases her raw talent. Ultraviolence is introspective, yet accessible, filled with beautifully written and performed songs.

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