Reviews: Lana Del Rey, The Concept, Hits Her Stride With "Ultraviolence"
Unlike her first record as Lana Del Rey, "Ultraviolence" is doing great with the critics so far
Lana Del Rey’s sophomore album (post-transformation, that is), Ultraviolence, is finally out after some questionable promotional tactics. The album is now up for the top spot in the iTunes chart and LDR has her work cut out for her in competing with Sam Smith’s debut record In The Lonely Hour.
Lana Del Rey returns as a perfectly crafted drama queen in Ultraviolence.
Besides her competition, Del Rey is up against some unfortunate odds; her previous album, Born to Die, was panned by just about every critic in the Western Hemisphere and a good chunk of the hipster crowd.
LDR seems to have finally hit her stride with Ultraviolence, which, while still retaining a lot of her old-school sound, no longer pits Lana as some sort of modern day Nancy Sinatra, up against everything modern music stands for. The album also benefits from the expertise of Dan Aurenbach of The Black Keys fame.
“Auerbach offers a more sedate take on the "Born to Die" template, lightening the orchestrations, ditching the hip-hop beats, and presenting Lana as a perpetually scorned pop-noir fugitive — part Neko Case, part Katy Perry.It's a delicious contrast that makes for a surprisingly great album,” writes Kenneth Partridge of Rolling Stone.
Lana's return is admirable after the thorough bashing she received for Born To Die.
Generally, the reviews seem to agree that the tragic, atmospheric sound of the new album is the perfect vehicle for Del Rey’s voice and persona. Per Pitchfork’s Mark Richardson: “Gone are annoying trifles like Born to Die’s Carmen and Diet Mountain Dew; in their place are slow, atmospheric songs filled with theatrical melancholy and a parade of women in trouble who mourn for men who treat them badly yet somehow remain irresistible.”
NME’s review is more of the same. After defining her persona with Born To Die – love it or hate it, it is a well crafted persona – Lana and Dan Aurenbach have joined forces to carve out a musical identity for the concept singer. “Most of these 11 songs are stately ballads that swap her old hip-hop affectations and hiccupping-baby vocals for languid desert rock. The pace is unwavering: her notably powerful voice reaches piercing highs before evaporating, like steam rising from hot coals, while Auerbach punctuates his reverby sandstorms with occasional guitar solos. Even though the silliness of Born To Die was key to its appeal,” writes Laura Snapes “The classy Ultraviolence sounds like a better capital-A album, putting Del Rey first in line to helm the next Bond theme.”
The Americana theme is heavy in Ultraviolence, but this time the music backs it up.