Thursday, 3 July 2014

Lana Del Ray - Ultraviolence

Ultraviolence (album)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ultraviolence
A black and white photo of a fair-skinned, dark-haired woman wearing a sheer white V-neck T-Shirt and a white strapless bra, standing beside a car. Her hand is resting on the opened left car door and the word "Ultraviolence", stylized in all capital letters, is placed on the lower part of the picture.
Studio album by Lana Del Rey
ReleasedJune 13, 2014
Recorded2013–14; Easy Eye Sound (Nashville); The Bridge (Glendale);Electric Lady Studios (New York City); Echo Studio (Los Angeles); The Church Studios (London); The Green Building (Santa Monica)
GenreDream pop[1]
Length51:24
Label
Producer
Lana Del Rey chronology
  • Ultraviolence
  • (2014)
Alternative cover
Urban Outfitters-exclusive vinyl version cover
Singles from Ultraviolence
  1. "West Coast"
    Released: April 14, 2014
  2. "Shades of Cool"
    Released: May 26, 2014
  3. "Ultraviolence"
    Released: June 4, 2014
  4. "Brooklyn Baby"
    Released: June 8, 2014
Ultraviolence is the third studio album by American singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey, released on June 13, 2014 by Interscope andPolydor Records. Despite originally dismissing the possibility of releasing another record after her major-label debut Born to Die(2012), Del Rey began planning its follow-up in 2013. Production continued into 2014, at which time she heavily collaborated with Dan Auerbach to revamp what she initially considered to be the completed record. The project saw additional contributions from producers including Paul EpworthGreg Kurstin, and Rick Nowels.
Ultraviolence received generally favorable reviews from contemporary music critics, who commended its cohesiveness and overall production. It debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 182,000 copies, becoming Del Rey's first number-one album on the chart and the best-selling debut week of her career. Ultraviolence was preceded by the digital release of four singles, "West Coast", "Shades of Cool", "Ultraviolence", and "Brooklyn Baby". Music videos were released for "West Coast" and "Shades of Cool", directed by Vincent Haycock and Jake Nava, respectively.

Contents

  [show

Background and production[edit]

After the release of Born to Die in 2012, Del Rey dismissed the idea of releasing another album, because she had "already said everything [she] wanted to say." However, by February 2013, Del Rey had started work on an album saying, "It's a little more stripped down but still cinematic and dark. I've been working on it really slowly but I love everything I've done. I've been writing in Santa Monicaand I know what the record sounds like. Now I just have to finish it. Musically I've worked with the same three guys."[2] She mentioned that one of the songs off the album would be called "Black Beauty".[2] When the demo version leaked in July, Del Rey stated "I do feel discouraged, yeah. I don't really know what to put on the record. But I guess I could just put them on and see what happens. Each time I write... I'll never write a song if I don't think it's going to be perfect for the record."[3] She also stated that she was writing "low-key and stripped back" songs and was working with Dan Heath, her boyfriend Barrie-James O'Neill and that she wanted to work withLou Reed.[3]
In October, Del Rey said about the prospect of a new album, "When people ask me about it, I just have to be honest — I really don't know. I don't want to say, 'Yeah, definitely — the next one's better than this one,' because I don't really hear a next one. My muse is very fickle. She only comes to me sometimes, which is annoying."[4][5]
By January 2014, Del Rey and Dan Auerbach were rumoured to be working together at Auerbach's Easy Eye Sound recording studio in Nashville, Tennessee and he was said to be producing her upcoming album.[6]
Del Rey and Auerbach were initially scheduled to work together for three days but ended up spending two weeks on recording a full album. On February 20, Del Rey posted a picture of herself and Auerbach on Twitter with the caption "Me and Dan Auerbach are excited to present you Ultraviolence".[7] About working with Del Rey, Auerbach later said "She impressed me every day. There were moments when she was fighting me. I could sense that maybe she didn't want to have anybody think she wasn't in control because I'm sure it's really hard to be a woman in the music business. So we bumped heads a little bit, but at the end of the day we were dancing to the songs."[8] The artist stated that the album draws inspiration from the West Coast, as well as from Brooklyn, New York. In addition, it also features heavy guitars and jazz tones. Del Rey also stated that the inclusion of Auerbach was last-minute. The two had met in New York when she believed that the record was finished.[9] On the release of Ultraviolence, she reaffirmed her earlier reluctance to make another album, saying "I mean, I still feel that way, but with this album I felt less like I had to chronicle my journeys and more like I could just recount snippets in my recent past that felt exhilarating to me."[10]

Release and artwork[edit]

During the premiere of her short film Tropico on December 4, 2013, Del Rey explained to the audience that "I really just wanted us all to be together so I could try and visually close out my chapter [of her second studio album Born to Die (2012) and third extended playParadise (2012)] before I release the new record, Ultraviolence."[11] Journalists identified the phrase from Anthony Burgess' dystopian novella A Clockwork Orange (1962), although initial reports were conflicting as to whether or not the title would be stylized as the one-word "Ultraviolence" or two-word "Ultra Violence".[12] In February 2014, she mentioned the possibility of releasing the record on May 1,[13] although during her concert in Montreal on May 5 stated that the project would be released the following month.[14]
On May 8, Del Rey announced the track listings for the 11-track standard version and 14-track deluxe version of Ultraviolence.[15] Its black-and-white album artwork depicts Del Rey dressed in a sheer white T-shirt and a white strapless bra while leaning against a vintage convertible; the title "Ultraviolence" is positioned beneath her image in an all-capitalized typeface, similar to the covers for Born to Die and Paradise.[16] The artwork was unveiled on May 14, along with the confirmation that the record itself would be released on June 17 in the United States.[17] It was made available through the traditional CDdigital download, and vinyl formats, and was additionally distrubuted in a multi-piece box set; it covers the title "Ultraviolence" in black foil, includes the deluxe record on compact disc and on a two-piece vinyl collection, and is packaged with four photo art cards.[18] Clothing retailer Urban Outfitters offers an exclusive vinyl version of the standard version ofUltraviolence, and features an alternate cover which depicts a close-up of Del Rey's knee in torn jeans as she holds a loose strand of fabric from the torn denim.[19]

Composition[edit]

"Shades of Cool", was described by Consequence of Sound as "a slow and slightly gloomy ballad marked by reverberated guitars, slight atmospherics, and Del Rey's vocals that alternate between a hushed whisper and ephemeral wailing."[20] The song consists of "a chiming guitar, slow-burn bass line, and swelling orchestra" which surround Del Rey's vocals.[21] Del Rey said that she wrote "Brooklyn Baby" with Lou Reed in mind. She was supposed to work with him and flew to New York City to meet him, but he died the day she arrived.[10] He is referenced in the line "And my boyfriend’s in a band/ He plays guitar while I sing Lou Reed".[22]
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"The tempo [of the song] shifts frequently, the instrumentation is jagged, and Lana’s voice skips between breathy franticness and slurred, drugged-out ecstasy."[23]

Problems playing this file? See media help.
"West Coast" is a mid-tempo song with a pop and soft rock verse and a surf rock slow-tempo chorus.[24][25] Musically, its composition is built around reggae drum fills, blues-influenced guitar riffs, and draws influences from indie rock music.[26][27]
"Sad Girl" was written about being "the other woman" in an affair. Del Rey wrote "Money Power Glory" as a reaction to her rise to fame. About writing it, she says, "I was in more of a sardonic mood. Like, if all that I was actually going to be allowed to have by the media was money, loads of money, then fuck it... What I actually wanted was something quiet and simple: a writer's community and respect."[10]
"Fucked My Way Up to the Top" was written about an undisclosed female singer who, at first, mocked her for her supposedly unauthentic style, but then "stole and copied it" and became successful with it.[28]

Singles and promotion[edit]

Del Rey premiered "West Coast" as part of her set at the Coachella music festival on April 13, 2014.[29] “West Coast” was serviced as Ultraviolence's lead single the next day.[30]Its music video was released on May 7 and directed by Vincent Haycock.[31] "Shades of Cool" was released as the second single on May 26.[32] A music video was directed byJake Nava and released on June 17.[33] The third single and title track, "Ultraviolence", was released on June 4 and was followed by the fourth single, "Brooklyn Baby", four days later.[34][35]
Prior to the album release, Del Rey announced a North American concert tour, as well as performances at several European festivals.[36][37] Del Rey received attention for taking a "less is more" approach to promoting the album. Del Rey didn't promote the album with television performances or interviews, instead relying on a couple of print interviews, music videos, and social media.[38]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic75/100[39]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[40]
Billboard83/100[41]
Clash7/10[42]
Consequence of SoundA[43]
Entertainment WeeklyA[44]
The Guardian4/5 stars[45]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[46]
New York Daily News2/5 stars[47]
Pitchfork7.1/10[48]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[49]
Ultraviolence received positive reviews upon its release. According to Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album currently holds a score of 75/100 based on 31 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[39] Writing in The GuardianAlexis Petridis wrote that "Every chorus clicks, the melodies are uniformly beautiful, and they soar and swoop, the better to demonstrate Del Rey's increased confidence in her voice. It's all so well done that the fact that the whole album proceeds at the same, somnambulant pace scarcely matters".[45] Kyle Anderson of Entertainment Weekly wrote about Del Rey's aesthetic, stating, "Kubrick would have loved Del Rey — a highly stylized vixen who romanticizes fatalism to near-pornographic levels, creating fantastically decadent moments of film-noir melodrama. It's an aesthetic that demands total commitment from both artist and listener, and it would be difficult to buy into if she didn't deliver such fully realized cinema." He also added, "Ultraviolence masterfully melds those elements, and completes the redemption narrative of a singer whose breakout-to-backlash arc on 2012's Born to Die made her a cautionary tale of music-industry hype." Caryn Ganz for Rolling Stone gave a positive review, commenting the album "is a melancholy crawl through doomed romance, incorrigible addictions, blown American dreams," although she also wrote " [it] wraps desire, violence and sadness into a tight bundle that Del Rey doesn't always seem sure how to unpack."[49] Tony Clayton-Lea of The Irish Times noted, "What seems certain is that whatever she really is, or whatever she does in her chosen milieu, Del Ray [sic] is the best at it."[50] Jim Farber of New York Daily News wrote, "Ultimately, she's milking classic male fantasies of the sad Marilyn Monroe, the babe in distress who can only be saved by you - and your dollars."[47] Critic Jamie Hamilton of DIY reviewed the album on a positive note stating, "Most songs on Ultraviolence link up with a bluesy smoke of a sound. Whereas ‘Born to Die’ flirted with gloss and glitz, this is the sound of Lana hitting the road. Producer Dan Auerbach in tow, most of the time the tempo doesn’t get any quicker than a Kolo TourĂ© sprint." Justin Charity of Complex magazine noted, "Ultraviolence is a blues affair, with moody innuendo spilling bloody and bold as the opening sequence to a vintage Bond saga." The critic also called it 'intimate', 'drunk driven'.[51] Mike Diver for Clash Music commented, "For all its lows-inspired highs, Ultraviolence is not quite the complete picture. It goes so far as to reflect, albeit perhaps coincidentally, this era: black and white, the colour has to come from the performance, not the film it’s captured on." The critic gave a bottom line for Del Rey—"A bruised beauty, just short of classic status..."[42] At the The Independent the album scored 3 out of 5 and critic Hugh Montgomery felt, "Ultraviolence is more of the same, but less. There is quasi-transgressive mixture of hopeless passivity and coquettish sexuality running through songs."[52]

Commercial performance[edit]

On June 18, 2014, Billboard estimated that Ultraviolence would sell approximately 175-180,000 copies in first-week United States sales.[53] The album debuted at number-one on the Billboard 200, with sales of 182,000, making it Del Rey's first number-one album in the United States and her best sales week yet.[38] Overall, Ultraviolence debuted at number one in twelve countries, including the United Kingdom making it her second consecutive album to reach No.1 following Born To Die. The album sold 880,000 copies in its first week, worldwide.[54] Ultraviolence was certified Gold in Canada on June 25, and Silver in the United Kingdom, two days later.[55][56]

Track listing[edit]

Ultraviolence – Standard edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Cruel World"  
Dan Auerbach6:39
2."Ultraviolence"  
  • Del Rey
  • Daniel Heath
Auerbach4:11
3."Shades of Cool"  
Auerbach5:42
4."Brooklyn Baby"  
  • Del Rey
  • Barrie O'Neill
Auerbach5:51
5."West Coast"  
  • Del Rey
  • Nowels
Auerbach4:16
6."Sad Girl"  
  • Del Rey
  • Nowels
  • Auerbach
  • Nowels[a]
5:17
7."Pretty When You Cry"  
  • Stranathan
  • Del Rey
  • Del Rey
  • Stranathan
  • Lee Foster
3:54
8."Money Power Glory"  
Kurstin4:30
9."Fucked My Way Up to the Top"  
  • Del Rey
  • Heath
Auerbach3:32
10."Old Money"  
  • Del Rey
  • Heath
  • Robbie Fitzsimmons
Heath4:31
11."The Other Woman"  Jessie Mae RobinsonAuerbach3:01
Total length:
51:24

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