Ultraviolence

Common Sense Media says

Brooding, mature album of desperation and heartache.

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Lana Del Rey's commentary about the way drug use can damage and ensnare a relationship could be seen as a cautionary tale. She also exudes some strength and resolve when she sings about leaving her lover to pursue her dreams because "down on the West Coast, [she] get[s] this feeling like / It could all happen." On the album's opener, "Cruel World," she sings, "I'm finally happy now that you're gone."

Positive role models

Lana Del Rey has been public about her own past struggles with drugs and alcohol, so as a fast-rising pop star who's managed to overcome her own addictions she could be seen as an inspiration to teens dealing with drug and alcohol abuse. Additionally, a few moments of strength are displayed throughout the album, as when the woman on "West Coast" decides to leave her lover to pursue her dreams. 

Violence

The title track "Ultraviolence" features lyrics such as "he hit me and it felt like a kiss" and "he hurt me but it felt like true love." 

Sex

Her track "F--ked My Way Up to the Top" suggests that her success wasn't from her talent as a singer. 

Language

Her songs include strong language such as variations of "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," and "whore." There are a few lyrics in Spanish, which translate to "I am the princess, understand my white lines" and "He's crazy and Cuban like me, my love."
 

Consumerism

Ultraviolence is a reference to Anthony Burgess' novel A Clockwork Orange, and the title track "Ultraviolence" includes a reference to the Crystals song "He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss)." Del Rey sings, "I want your money, and all your power, and all your glory," and mentions that all she wants are "dope and diamonds" on "Money Power Glory." Throughout the album she makes references to Chevy Malibus, Parliament cigarettes, and old Hollywood's "silver starlets, their queens of Saigons." She also mentions Lou Reed, Beat poetry, Sunset and Vine, and Woodstock, and she covers Nina Simone's "The Other Woman." 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Lana Del Rey tragically sings that "he lives for his love, he loves his drugs" and "All those times I spent with you, my love / They don't mean s--t compared to all your drugs." She loves "all of your heroin," gets "high on hydroponic weed," and wants "dope and diamonds." The last bonus track on her album, "Florida Kilos," includes lyrics about crack cocaine such as "White palms, baking powder on the stove / Cooking up a dream, turning diamonds into snow," "yayo," and "you snort it like a champ." 

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."

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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?

Music details

Artist:Lana Del Rey
Release date:June 25, 2014
Type:Album
Label:Interscope Records
Genre:Alternative Rock
Parental advisory:Yes
Edited version available:Yes

This review of Ultraviolence was written by

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Teen, 13 years old Written byFathomT May 3, 2015
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

HUGE improvement over Born to Die, some awful messages

This album is much more enjoyable than Lana Del Rey's first effort, Born to Die. This album is more uniformly beautiful/haunting than BtD. Stand out tracks include Shades of Cool, West Coast, Money Glory Power, Old Money, and F--ked My Way Up to the Top, although most of the album is stellar. There are some serious issues with appropriateness, though. The last stand out track I mentioned is an issue, but Del Rey has said, semi-jokingly, that that doesn't work. There are a few tracks, like Sad Girl and The Other Woman involve her being, well, the other woman. The title track is about domestic violence, but thank god its one of the worse tracks. There is a reasonably large amount of profanity. Money Glory Power is about dating a guy to "take you for all that you got." She occasionally talks about weed, cigarettes and booze. This is an amazing album that has an unfortunate amount of terrible messages.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byBlockBlock March 29, 2015
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Hauntingly Beautiful

Indie princess Lana Del Ray is not everybody's cup of tea, but those who will get her nostalgic, old Hollywood vocals and melodramatic lyrics are sure to love her. Lana's strengths truly lie in her songwriting, her singing is somewhat left in the shadow. Smaller children may enjoy some of the more catchy tunes of the album, such as "Ultraviolence" and "West Coast", but they won't understand the meaning behind the lyrics or experience the emotion that older listeners might feel.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bydelaneynola September 16, 2014
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

My favorite of her albums

Ultraviolence is by far my favorite of Lana's albums. She has such a distinct, signature sound that can't be replicated. Her sound is so haunting and makes me feel nostalgic about things that have never even happened to me. My favorite tracks include "Sad Girl", "Brooklyn Baby", and "Shades of Cool". The content of Ultraviolence is classic Lana, with her themes of abusive love, desperation for one particular person, desire for money and glory, and womanly power. Ultraviolence could have done with a couple of more upbeat songs, like "Lolita" and "Off To The Races" from Born to Die. Listening to Ultraviolence may put you to sleep. This album is good to listen to if you're just hanging out by yourself, it's not really car music or anything like that. Personally, I love the slowness of Ultraviolence. Lana's unique voice and low tone is entrancing. She's one of my all-time favorite artists, and once again rose to the occasion and produced yet another fantastic album.

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