Song of the Day #2,226: ‘Ultraviolence’ – Lana Del Rey

lana_del_rey_ultraviolenceAfter a fairly long drought when it comes to new music, I recently picked up four new albums that have received a lot of high praise. I’ll feature a song from each the rest of this week.

I didn’t “get” Lana Del Rey until the third time I listened to her new album, Ultraviolence. And during that third listen, I got her completely.

After two listens, I was prepared to dismiss this album as pretty but forgettable. I’m glad I gave it another shot.

Every song on Ultraviolence would make a terrific Bond theme. Del Rey’s ethereal vocals are bathed in strings and distorted bass, and the music just cries out for one of those smoky montages of naked women in silhouette doing somersaults out of gun barrels.

Lyrically, there’s a whole lot going on. Those who’ve dismissed Del Rey as a lightweight clearly haven’t spent much time with her songs. She writes provocative, challenging lyrics, often taking jabs at her critics by embracing their barbs with rich satire, as on one of the album’s best tracks, ‘Fucked My Way Up to the Top.’

The title track, today’s SOTD, was inspired by a cult Del Rey was involved in during her tumultuous 20s. It’s disturbing and even irresponsible (quoting The Crystals’ ‘He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss),’ penned by Carole King, is an eye-opening choice) but utterly captivating.

I can say the same for the whole album. Just make sure you give it at least three listens.

Note: For those who followed yesterday’s Taylor Swift “victim” conversation, here’s an example of a song that deals with the singer’s victimhood, but in a provocative and complicated way.

[Verse 1]
He used to call me DN
That stood for Deadly Nightshade
Cause I was filled with poison
But blessed with beauty and rage
Jim told me that
He hit me and it felt like a kiss
Jim brought me back
Reminded me of when we were kids

[Chorus]
With his Ultraviolence
Ultraviolence
Ultraviolence
Ultraviolence
I can hear sirens, sirens
He hit me and it felt like a kiss
I can hear violins, violins
Give me all of that Ultraviolence

[Verse 2]
He used to call me poison
Like I was poison ivy
I could have died right there
Cause he was right beside me
Jim raised me up
He hurt me but it felt like true love
Jim taught me that
Loving him was never enough

[Chorus]

[Bridge]
We could go back to New York
Loving you was really hard
We could go back to Woodstock
Where they don’t know who we are
Heaven is on Earth
I would do anything for you, babe
Blessed is this union
Crying tears of gold like lemonade

[Spoken]
I love you the first time
I love you the last time
Yo soy la princesa, comprende mis white lines
Cause I’m your jazz singer
And you’re my cult leader
I love you forever
I love you forever

[Chorus]
With his Ultraviolence
(Lay me down tonight)
Ultraviolence
(In my linen and curls)
Ultraviolence
(Lay me down tonight)
Ultraviolence
(Riviera Girls)
I can hear sirens, sirens
He hit me and it felt like a kiss
I can hear violins, violins
Give me all of that Ultraviolence

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,226: ‘Ultraviolence’ – Lana Del Rey

  1. Dana says:

    Actually, as I was listening and reading this, I was reminded of Swift’s excellent moody “Safe and Sound” from The Hunger Games. Swift may be taking a romp through dance and pop of late, but I suspect we will be hearing deeper shades from her in the future.

  2. Clay says:

    I agree, ‘Safe and Sound’ is one of her best.

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