Sad Girl Indeed
There’s music for distraction and background noise. Then there’s music for listening– not something to tune in and out of while driving home, but music that requires your full attention.
That’s Lana Del Rey. Her sophomore album release may be slightly overshadowed by her comments on dying young, but Ultraviolence puts Del Rey’s state into context. It’s an emotionally heavy album— fragile at moments, but gorgeous nonetheless.
Ultraviolence has the signature slow-tempo music and alto voice that Del Rey is known for, but there’s still an energy in songs like “West Coast.” The lead single for the album is, expectedly, the most catchy. There’s a trade-off between a quicker rap-like verse and tranquil vocals. “I can see my baby swinging / His Parliaments on fire and his hands are up / On the balcony I’m singing / Oh baby, oh baby, I’m in love.”
The opening track of the album, “Cruel World,” is seven minutes of what can only be described as madness. “Put my little red party dress on / Everybody knows that I’m a mess / I’m crazy.” It’s strange to call it beautiful, but it is. The track is never overpowering and meshes with various distortions and a simple drumbeat that is so calm it can only be described as beautiful.
“Old Money” is dated in such a good way— it sounds like an old classic crooned by a songbird. Set on a background of strings and piano, there’s a longing in the track that is heartbreaking. “But if you send for me, you know I’ll come / And if you call for me, you know I’ll run.” The chorus layers the vocals in such a way that it’s the most delicate sounding track on the entire album.
Del Rey’s vocals have always had a heavy trance quality to them— it’s almost mesmerizing because they don’t vary much. She’s not a singer who yells notes, but instead pulls you in on an emotional world. The vocals on the album float the listener away into a bizarre state of calm. There is no franticness, nor is there any worry.
This album is not meant to be background music. It goes into a darker place with just a glance at the track titles: “Sad Girl,” “Pretty When You Cry” and “Fucked My Way Up To The Top.” It requires not only full attention but also an emotional connection that will shed light on Del Rey’s state of mind– or remind you of your own.