However, Ultraviolence differs musically from its predecessor. Listeners should not expect to find lively tracks such as “Summertime sadness” or “National anthem” here, as the melodies on Ultraviolence strive to pay homage to 70s slow rock and the album completely abandons the pop-fuelled sounds found on Del Rey’s debut album. Tracks such as “Cruel world” and title track “Ultraviolence” achieve the 70s retro atmosphere perfectly with slow guitars courtesy of The Black Keys guitarist and vocalist Dan Auerbach, who also produced the album.

“Shades of cool” is yet another track that adds to the overhanging retro feel of the album, as it sounds like it would be perfectly suited for a vintage Bond movie.

Remarkably, there is no upbeat track on Ultraviolence. In many ways, it is Auerbach’s twanging guitar in the background that picks up the pace of most the songs and saves them from being placid to the point of irritability.

Del Rey’s slow, gentle vocals show off just how much her voice has grown and progressed since her debut, as there is a definite touch of confidence which was slightly absent on Born to Die.

Every song features a perfect chorus, which makes up for the album’s slow pace. The record comes together like a film noir – full of mysterious lyrics and enigmatic melodies. The song “Old money” is more reminiscent of “Young and beautiful”, Del Rey’s enchanting track from the soundtrack to Baz Luhrmann’s movie The Great Gatsby.

Ultraviolence makes it very clear that the age of Born to Die is over as Del Rey explores new melodies. But fragments of Born to Die still remain in Ultraviolence’s lyrics, making the gap between the albums just wide enough for fans to handle.

 

Rating: 4/5

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