Thursday, June 26, 2014

he hit me and it felt like a kiss

"Lana Del Rey's music has only fueled my obsession with discovering both a past and a future I haven't had yet," I wrote last year when I first discovered the 28-year-old singer. I'll be the first to admit that I don't really listen to much music (blame it on my NPR-is-the-only-radio-station-we-listen-to-in-this-household parents), but when I first heard some of Lana's most popular songs, I couldn't get enough of how her voice ached of nostalgia and the American Dream, found and then lost again. When I heard that she was coming out with a new album this year, I did a bit of a happy dance. Ultraviolence was everything I expected it to be and more, and I'm still trying to understand how I feel about how beautiful and thought-provoking this album is each time I listen to it.

The thing I love most about this album is the way it revolves around the less pretty aspects of love, appealing to our secret desires for all-consuming passion: Ultraviolence is obsession, infatuation, addiction, desperation and ambition, and it says "I love you" in a way that means "f*ck you, f*ck me, make me feel alive again."

It's this kind of raw intimacy pulsing through the album's slow, hypnotic beats that keeps us hooked and wanting more. "Everyone told me that the next record has to be bigger and better, to which I replied, 'no, it has to be more personal,'" Lana explains in an interview with Metro. She allows us to explore fantasies of reckless ambition with unwavering crescendos ("Money Power Glory"), experience desire on both sides of an affair through confident verses and lonesome pleas ("Sad Girl" and her cover of Nina Simone's "The Other Woman"), and feel our heartbeats quicken to the catchy "yayo" hook at the thrill of loving a man who loves drugs ("Florida Kilos").

But more than that, Ultraviolence lends itself to an unexpected degree of introspection beneath the performative melodrama she croons to us precisely because of how personal her songs come across as. In an age of post-feminism where everybody tries to make heroines and strong, independent women from pop singers to fictional characters alike, we're supposed to be shocked at how openly Lana sings "he hit me and it felt like a kiss" ("Ultraviolence") and asks "are you gonna hurt me now? / or are you gonna hurt me later?" ("Flipside"). Even toying with the idea that women would want to go back to surrendering and playing the role of a mistress on the side seems regressive, and yet it serves as powerful running commentary on where we are today. Her lyrics dare us to answer the question is it wrong? for ourselves; after all, as Anton Chekhov claims: "the role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them."

You can listen to Ultraviolence here. Let me know what you think of this album or Lana Del Rey in general; I'd love to hear your thoughts!

xoxo, vivian

Images from this post were edited from: Ultraviolence promo pics from the Idolator


  1. Thanks for the link, I haven't listened to her album as yet, but sounds like something I would like. Have a wonderful start to the weekend!

  2. Wow.. I 've only heard a song or two from her, but she's an amazing singer! Your post was reallie inspirational and deep too!!

    xoxo, Mango ❤
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  3. Hi!

    Like your blog ;) Followed you!
    I love Lana's music. Blue jeans is one of my favourites. All though...Without you is also very beautiful. Her music has this raw edge...I really think she's a good singer. She can do high and low tones. Very strong voice.


  4. I love Lana, for a lot of reasons your mentioned here. She paints a picture of love that I recognise. Everything can be a bit too 'Disney' nowadays and that really doesn't appeal to me. Much rather have her twisted American Dream :) xx

  5. I love Lana! I became her fan when I heard her song on The Great Gatsby!

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  6. She definitely has a really beautiful voice! I admire a lot of her songs! :)
    I loved these pictures- black and white always makes the photo look better ( like it has more depth to it!)

  7. Thanks for sharing all of Lana Del Rey. She's one of a kind, her voice is unique, soft and soothing in a way that gives the audience the feeling of warmth, calm and comfort. I'm in love with her singles TV In Black & White and Without You. Would love for us 2 follow and support each other, ur posts are amazing xx
    Lenny xx

  8. Very lovely and chic as usual. Hope you enjoy the weekend!

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