Despite insisting that she would never release another album again, Lana Del Rey – who can always be counted on to sound as deluded and pretentious as can be in her interviews and live appearances – takes only a year to come out with Ultraviolence. Maybe she remembers that she still has bills to pay like everyone else in this world.
Unlike Born to Die, Ultraviolence doesn’t have immediate ear candy. The closest to that is Brooklyn Baby, which deliberately includes a catchy hook that sounds like it is lifted from that album. The rest of the songs, on first listen, resemble one long monotonous beat with some crazy woman whispering non-stop over it. It takes a few listens before it becomes apparent that there is a tune to each song, after all. However, the sameness of each song becomes dreary when Ms Del Rey tones down the quirky ice queen persona that made the songs in her previous efforts magnetic and memorable. Here, these are just songs with plodding production values. Where once Ms Del Rey seem to be taking on modern beats and putting a retro glaze on them as some kind of playful homage to the 1970s, here everything is flat and dull.
Still, Fucked My Way to the Top has its moments for being that song that one can sing out loud just for the hell of it, and her old-school style version of Ray Parker Jr’s The Other Woman is poignant and lovely. The lyrics of The Other Woman is easily the most succinct and mature of the songs here, and, unsurprisingly, the words were penned by Jessie May Robinson, not Ms Del Rey, who still writes like a moody girl on Tumblr angry at the world.
Ultraviolence is more like an case of ultra-boredom. Oh well, but at least it’s out of Ms Del Rey’s system. Now she can really stop making music like she claims that she wants to… right?