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The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Lana Del Rey's Ultraviolence features 11 tracks of brooding pop music about heartbreak, desperation, and despair (plus three bonus songs on the deluxe version of her album). Title track "Ultraviolence" is about a presumably abusive relationship and includes lines such as "he hit me and it felt like a kiss" -- a reference to the Crystals' 1962 song "He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss)" -- and "he hurt me and it felt like true love." Other lyrics about this tragic love include "I wait for you, babe, you don't come though, babe" and "All those times I spent with you, my love / They don't mean s--t compared to all your drugs." Del Rey sings a couple of lyrics in Spanish, which translate to "I am the princess, understand my white lines" and "He's crazy and Cuban, like me." Her songs "Cruel World," "Florida Kilos," and "Shades of Cool" include references to drugs including heroin and cocaine. There's also some strong language including variations of "f--k," "s--t," "whore," and "bitch."
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What's the story?
ULTRAVIOLENCE -- a reference to Anthony Burgess' novel A Clockwork Orange and produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys -- is Lana Del Rey's second full-length album with songs about young women falling in love with bad boys who love their drugs more than them. Gone are the hip-hop beats of Born to Die in exchange for what Del Rey and Auerbach have dubbed "narco swing." She premiered the lead single "West Coast" at the 2014 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, and the album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts.
Is it any good?
Lana Del Rey is indeed a "Sad Girl" on this album that's full of heartache with tracks such as "Cruel World" and "Pretty When You Cry." Del Rey's layered vocals are haunting and full of nostalgia, particularly on the melancholic "Old Money" (which is reminiscent of 2013's "Young and Beautiful"), and the laid-back "West Coast" is especially hypnotic with the downtempo shift during the chorus. It's fitting that Del Rey ends Ultraviolence with a cover of Nina Simone's "The Other Woman," on which she tragically realizes that being his "bonny on the side" can only end in heartbreak.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the types of relationships that Lana Del Rey sings about on her album, especially on her track "Ultraviolence." Who can you turn to if a relationship isn't healthy?
How does Ultraviolence compare to Del Rey's debut album Born to Die? Do you like her cover of Nina Simone's "The Other Woman"?
Would you consider Lana Del Rey a role model? Why, or why not?