June 13, 2014


Complete Guide to Lana Del Rey's 'Ultraviolence'

Next week, Lana Del Rey's third official album Ultraviolence arrives. It's the highly-anticipated follow-up to 2012's platinum selling Born to Die, a record that launched her into pop-stardom nearly a year after the Internet fell in love with her "Video Games" video. 

Del Rey doesn't let too many people into her world these days, in terms of interviews. But over the course of the last few months, she's released a handful of tracks and teases, as well as two big interviews. Here's the complete guide to Ultraviolence.

The Build Up

In December 2013, when Del Rey was screening her short film Tropico in Los Angeles, she dropped the album title Ultraviolence when she was speaking to the crowd. Something was up. 

Two months later, Del Rey tweeted out a picture of her and the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach - she had hooked up with for production duties on Ultraviolence. The guitarist ended up producing seven of the 11 tracks.  

Her first single "West Coast" came out on April 14 and was a noticeable departure from the grand orchestration of Born to Die. It's clear that Auerbach put his stamp on her sound, as it was a bluesy, dirty guitar number that featured Del Rey singing praise to, well, the west coast. The accompanying video failed to generate the buzz of her earlier ones, but still featured that cinematic quality she tends to favor. 

Since the release of "West Coast," she's released three more tracks: "Shades of Cool," "Ultraviolence," and "Brooklyn Baby."

The Inspirations

Over the course of her career, Del Rey clearly favors old aesthetics and romantic notions about bad boys, bad behavior, and mortality. In a Guardian interview published yesterday, Del Rey bluntly stated she wished she was "dead" and that her career as a pop star has essentially been a terrible experience. But there were some nuggets about her new songs and the stories behind them. "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," she said. Some of the specific inspirations include:

Bikers: On "Sad Girl," she said: "I had different relationships with men, with people, where they were sort of wrong relationships, but still beautiful to me."

The Media: On "Money, Power, Glory," she said: "Like, if all that I was actually going to be allowed to have by the media was money, loads of money, then f-ck it… What I actually wanted was something quiet and simple: a writer's community and respect."

Lou Reed: She was supposed to record the song "Brooklyn Baby" with the Velvet Underground founder, but it never happened. "I took the red eye, touched down at 7 a.m.… and two minutes later he died," she said."

The Release

Several different Ultraviolence editions are available, with the deluxe version featuring three bonus tracks called "Guns and Roses," "Black Beauty," and "Florida Kilos." Interestingly enough, this last track was co-written by Del Rey, Auerbach and Spring Breakers filmmaker Harmony Korine.

True Lana fans will want to get the deluxe box set, which for $99 gets you a special packaging box, CD, special double LP and 12x12 art prints.