Ultraviolence: Lana Del Rey Album Review
Sunday 15 June 2014
Remember the great musical non-debate that once raged over Lizzie Grant, aka Lana Del Rey? A supposedly fickle wannabe, who, having tried the dressed-down, singer-songwriter approach, decided to trick the world with a carefully constructed pop persona. It subsided of course, in the face of the unassailable tunes of Born to Die. But what this sequel reveals is just how wrong her original accusers got it: Del Rey’s problem isn’t fickleness, but over-consistency.
Which is to say that Ultraviolence is more of the same, but less. Musically, talk has focused on the recruitment of the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach as producer and the promise of a rawkier Del Rey. And in this respect, “Cruel World” is a brilliant, compelling opening salvo: a swirling psych-rock stomp daubed with a touch of Warpaint. But it’s also a red herring: the odd guitar workout aside, from there on in we’re broadly in the Lynchian ballad mode of yore – all twangs, strings, shuffling beats and ethereal yearning; only without the killer hooks this time, the atmosphere turns from sensual to soporific, while novelty is nipped in the bud: the promisingly uptempo, Fleetwood Mac-like “West Coast”, for example, grinds to a halt on a chorus of predictable, coo-ed languor.
And then there are the lyrics. On Born to Die Del Rey’s dead-eyed moll-playing made for some interesting character drama. But here it has nowhere left to run, and the quasi-transgressive mixture of hopeless passivity and coquettish sexuality running through songs such as “Sad Girl” (“I’m a sad girl/ I’m a bad girl”) feels ever more tired and uninspired.
Beyond a second album, what Lana really needs is a second act.
musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
- 5 Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
This is what a film sex scene actually looks like on set (mostly awkward)
Taylor Swift, 1989 - album review: Pop star shows 'promising signs of maturity'
American Horror Story season 4, Fox - review: Silly, sensational but still sensitive
The Apprentice 2014: Nurun Ahmed and Lindsay Booth sent home in double firing
Breaking Bad season 6 hoax: Vince Gilligan has not confirmed a new series
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are