Ultraviolence

Music review by
Amanda Nojadera, Common Sense Media
Ultraviolence Music Poster Image
Brooding, mature album of desperation and heartache.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 8 reviews

A lot or a little?

Parents' guide to what's in this music.

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 & representations

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." 

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."

User Reviews

Adult Written bydelaneynola September 16, 2014

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...
Parent of a 11 year old Written byava julianan September 19, 2015

PARENTS READ THIS

This album is a masterpiece, it has some innapropriatte lines but DO NOT TELL YOUR KIDS WHAT MUSIC TO LISTEN TO.... It's important to them, trust me I kno...
Teen, 15 years old Written byHBayazeed July 22, 2014

Dark and eerie

Definitely not all songs stand up as the same quality, nor they are as haunting. As a matter of fact, all her songs sets you for an eerie mood, desperation and...
Teen, 14 years old Written bymondaymornings June 21, 2017

'Ultraviolence' is best suited for mature tweens and teens

'Ultraviolence' is a sweeping, sad-girl epic that can be distinguished as one of Del Rey's best studio efforts. Many of the songs, though they ca...

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?

Music details

For kids who love pop music

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate