Earlier this week we were tuned into the hauntingly striking sounds of Lana Del Rey’s new single “Ultraviolence”. It’s been two years since her debut album Born To Die and now, there has been a lot of Lana Del Rey lately. First her lead single “West Coast” from her forthcoming sophomore album was released in April. Now quick on the heels of second album cut “Shades of Cool”, she releases her third single. On “Ultraviolence”, the album title track, again in true Lana Del Ray style, the Queen of Sadcore effortlessly takes listeners on another emotional rollercoaster.
Although she tells the tale of classic Del Rey romantic relationship: failed, shattered, and aching, there is a certain darkness in her lyrics. It’s almost spooky and a bit worrying as she references The Crystals’ “He Hit Me” with lyrics, “I can hear sirens sirens, he hit me and it felt like a kiss”. Just some history, the 1962 Crystals hit was the subject of controversy for its justification of abuse.
However, I don’t think Lana is glorifying domestic violence. In all her music, she creates a guise, the awry character who recounts her startling stories. What one thinks is clear-cut exaltation of domestic violence is really a character telling a tale. Let’s not forget deep yearning and unending love are recurring themes in her music, unafraid to talk about drugs, old men, or violent relationships. This is where Lana’s enticement lies.
Whilst disturbing, playing a woman who blindly loves an abusive man with lines likes “he hurt me and it felt like true love”, the song will unfortunately strike a chord with some female listeners. The eerie production of string arrangements, lightly beating drums and murky piano chords are the sounds fans expect to hear from Lana Del Rey. This kind of profound orchestral arrangement is reminiscent of her earlier releases.
As she sadly melds pain with love, or love with violence, Lana expresses the dangerous distance or closeness of love and pain. Lana did warn that her second album will be “darker than the first – so dark it’s almost unlistenable and wrong”, but it is hard to not be seduced by the singer’s dreamy vocals. Her upcoming album might ruffle a few feathers, except that only intrigues me more to listen. The LP is planned to be released on June 17th and you can pre-order it here. Listen to “Ultraviolence” below.