Review of Lana Del Rey's "Ultraviolence"
I expected another casual album like any other. I dramatically learned the true meaning of “expect the unexpected” when i clicked on “Shades of Cool.” I was mind blown, frozen solid, shocked, and in awe. “Oh my God!” i exclaimed within because nothing could prepare me for this. Listening to her voice was heart-stopping and like heaven on earth. My entire perspective on Lana Del Rey changed that very moment. Sadly, i've listened to her latest album on YouTube but i knew it wasn't the original copy. Because of copyright issues, users were forced to alter her voice pitch and speed of the song. Nowadays it feels like any artist makes music for the money. When i listen to any album, i feel the artists are doing the same old routine. I feel the music isn't worth the money i put in. Lana Del Rey poured her soul out on the album and i could not let her go unpaid. It made me realize that hard work ought to pay off.
I went to the store and proudly bought “Ultraviolence.” It was worth every dollar. There were no more high voice pitches, no more edits, no more low quality, and no more restrictions. I was finally free to enjoy every song in it's cinematic high quality and original form. I sat at the edge of my seat captivated and connected to her lyrics built on her life experiences. She showed me that Jazz was far from being a dead genre. She greatly influenced me to expand my music tastes. “Ultraviolence” earns her a spot among the greats: Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, Billie Holiday, etc. This is by far her greatest works to date.
Producer - Dan Auerbach, Lana Del Rey, Paul Epworth, Lee Foster, Daniel Heath, Greg Kurstin, Rick Nowels, Blake Stranathan.
Label - Polydor, Interscope.
Studio - Easy Eye Sound, the Bridge, Electric Lady Studios, Echo Studio, the Church studios, the Green building.
Genre - Desert rock, dream pop, Jazz, Psychedelic rock, etc.
Recorded - 2013-14
Released - June 13 2014
Lana Del Rey - "Shades of Cool"
"Ultraviolence" [Deluxe Edition]
I strongly recommend that you buy the deluxe edition. The bonus tracks are also as good if not better as the official songs. Be sure to also get her bonus track “Is this happiness” found exclusively only in Japan.
I'll review three of her songs of the whole album: “Shades of cool”, “The Other Woman”, and “Florida Kilos.”
1. “Shades of Cool” - The electric bass playing at the beginning got me excited to hear her voice. She strongly gives the impression of a modern day Billie Holiday. “My baby lives in shades of blue, blue eyes and Jazz and attitude. He lives in California too, he drives a Chevy Malibu” was a strong hook with it's catchy rhyme scheme. “And when he calls, he calls for me and not for you..” was a very smooth transition to the next line. She's bragging about her man to make you jealous thus her choice of words, her emphasis on them, and the slow pace are fitting. With each passing verse, there is a powerful emotional build-up until it finally reaches it's peak in the chorus. The drumming, electric bass, omni-chord, and electric guitar enhance the impact of the chorus. Even more so with the breakdown. Her vibrant melodious singing is a unique feature of this song. The closing leaves a soothing thought on the climax of her message.
2. “The Other Woman” - This song is probably the most powerful out of all the others. It's basically a break-up but has a “Blues” environment. Soon as the beat drops and the instruments start playing, it sets the stage for a depressing story. The tone and mood of Lana's voice makes you feel despair. It's as if she wants to break down and cry. It makes you feel for “the other woman” who “will never have his love to keep.” “And when her old man comes to call, he finds her waiting like a lonesome queen..” defines a woman who was given everything and left with nothing. The saxophone and drums expressed the cruel twist of fate that he left her. Almost at the end, Lana seemingly tries to utter a word only to make it sound like a wail of despair and anguish. One sorrowful word sums up the other woman's destiny: alone.
3. “Florida Kilos” - The name fits the song since Florida has a drug problem. Listening to the opening brings back memories of the sunshine state for me. The rhythm in the guitars, synthesizers, drums, and singing gets you in the party mood, especially when she sings the chorus like a lullaby. Her “little girl” voice in this song sounded more mature, adventurous, and seductive than the past. The instrumental comments between sung phrases enhance the song's meaning. “Come on down to Florida, i got something for ya..” greatly reflect her experience as a wild party girl living the fast life.
In my experience, buying Lana Del Rey's "Ultraviolence" Deluxe edition is worth far more than her standard album. The Deluxe edition contains several high quality and most memorable bonus tracks such as "Black Beauty", "Guns N' Roses", "Florida Kilos", and "Flipside." Her limited edition contains 4 beautifully designed photos In Vinyl format.
Despite Ultraviolence being such a great album, it has a few flaws. I disliked how she repeatedly used the word “baby.” She could've improved the rhythm of her voice using synonyms such as “honey”, “love”, and “sweetheart.” She has a lot of richness in her melodic singing voice that can expand far beyond the syllables in “baby.” I also disliked the foul language with the exception of “I fu**ed my way up to the top.” It was unnecessary because it added no power to her music. Lana Del Rey could've reached her potential as a poet by being original as opposed to using “filler words.” For example, using biblical imagery to describe her desire for “money, power, and glory” could've had more impact instead of singing “That's not what this bi*ch wants..” Lastly, her songs are too repetitious. Don't get me wrong, each song is unique, but there's a common pattern. She repeats the chorus and the same melody of her verses slightly changing the lyrics. The songs would've been more memorable if she added variety in her singing and placed more emphasis on the most emotional lyrics.
In conclusion, this album truly demonstrates that she has fully matured as an artist and a person. I highly recommend you purchase the "Ultraviolence" album. She's one of the most underrated artists in America. She's proven beyond any doubt that she knows who she is. Spending years experimenting with her music paid off well. She's wonderfully made a name for herself. She genuinely connects with her music in a way that most artists don't. I deeply hold to my conviction that she's yet to reach the end of her journey in the world of music.