Aural Pleasure Review: Lana del Rey's 'Ultraviolence'

Lana Del Rey | Ultraviolence  | Interscope  | **

“They judge me like a picture book?/ By the colors, like they forgot to read,” Lana Del Rey waxes defensively on “Brooklyn Baby.” But she’s got it backward—it’s the rich chamber pop coloring, Del Rey’s voicings and Dan Auerbach’s opulent production that give Ultraviolence anything resembling character. Dive into the language of Del Rey and her songwriters, and you’ll find yourself swimming in a cesspool of false nostalgia, ad nauseam cliché and sexual politics that would give Charles Bukowski a power-boner from beyond the grave. On her sophomore LP, Lizzy Grant’s poker face as Lana Del Rey is still the most interesting thing about the project, never letting the audience know what is real and what is pastiche, or if there’s any difference between the two. The façade is so perfectly applied that it’s near impossible to measure the merits of anything outside the record. But the least interested party is Del Rey herself, sounding so incredibly bored repeating the same melodic flourishes that it makes Ultraviolence a yawn-fest to get through.
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