Friday, 13 June 2014
REVIEW: LANA DEL REY-ULTRAVIOLENCE
Born To Ride.
This girl is it! The Rey of light that's going to shine through all your 'Summertime Sadness' no matter how much rain falls on your window pane. Now this generations best female singer/songwriter, who draws experience from everyone from the boss Springsteen to Sinatra's daughter may be on an even more morose tip of late. From telling press she wishes she was "already dead" (let's hope this is not true) to bringing the bleak, black and white artwork of her new album that feels like a beautiful break-up record, albeit with a patental advisory sticker. Still, you know there's going to be explicit content from an album called 'Ultraviolence' and a women whose debut single from the album of the same name 'Born To Die' had it's negative tone changed for radio airplay to the tune of her singing "kiss me hard in the pouring rain". Still after Lizzy Grant's sophmore album went to number 1 in 11 countries thanks to stellar singles like 'Video Games', 'Off To The Races' and 'Blue Jeans', the classic collection has manged to move 7 million units and counting since its release just over two years ago thanks to standout songs like 'National Anthem', 'Dark Paradise' and the non-singles 'Without You' and 'Radio' play. Now this stars life is "sweeter than cinnamon" and she can say and do what the hell she wants. Even name a track on this new set, 'F***** My Way To The Top'. Whether she's screwing with us or not, that's an F-bomb, middle finger to the industry that made her change one of her most explicit but epic lyrics and all its meaning. Following 'Born To Die' a 'Paradise' E.P. and 'Tropico' musical movie came and showcased great, gorgeous gems for the girl like 'Ride', 'American', 'Bel-Air' and 'Gods & Monsters'. Things got even more cinematic for 'The Great Gastby' with her classic soundtrack soundbite 'Young & Beautiful' being among her best showcases. If you think this smoky starlett who was born for decades past was the right person to lead this soundtrack off, then just wait until you hear the dark, Disney magic this sleeping beauty has brought to the 'Once Upon A Dream' classic from the 'Maleficent' movie. Simply magnificent.
Now it's time for some violence for the headphones, as the fans have been eagerly awaiting another actual album from the hardest working woman in music. She doesn't disappoint either in another classic that sounds more like another soundtrack, in something that is as cohesive as it is compelling. This may be too dark for the mainstream, but thanks to production partner Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys follwing his own recent 'Turn Blue' success turn, the singer of arguably todays best band gives the industries best singer the backing and soundscape she's been richly looking for in all its brooding beauty and atmospheric angst. Even if the bigger hits and classic numbers belong on other records, for the vinyl Lana has never sounded better on wax in all her scratches. As the needle drops, this smouldering star is even chasing the diamond mining Norah Jones in being vocally the best woman out there in all of mainstream music, even if this straight shot and no chaser, bar-room blues on the rocks set is not diluted enough for the charts. Down on the 'West Coast' single and its "I can see my baby swingin'/His Parliament's on fire and his hands are up/On the balcony and I'm singing/Ooh, baby, ooh, baby, I'm in love" lyrics you can see where the real talent lies in America...under Miss Del Rey's address. Lana's 'Shades Of Cool' stream even further on the second single that hides some darkness behind the Ray Ban's with the light of day to the word of "My baby lives in shades of blue/Blue eyes and jazz and attitude/He lives in California too/He drives a chevy Malibu". These classic couplets add to the quotes of this star who has a legion of young fans treating her word like gospel. The praise and perfect chorus of vocals continues in perfect harmony on the other releases from this raw and real album. The title track shoots you down behind the bang, bangs of a Nancy Sinatra gun as Lana sings "I can hear sirens, sirens/He hit me and it felt like a kiss/I can hear violins, violins/Give me all of that ultraviolence". These lyrics where made for walking the line and with these boots our singer walks all over the wrong to the right signature step.
All the way to 'Brooklyn Baby' and the too true and soberingly sad story behind this song. Lana got no sleep to B.K., as she flew on a red eye to New York's borough to meet late, great legend Lou Reed to collaborate on what would have been another 'Perfect Day', but as she came landing to earth he died within minutes of that day and the song they could have completed together was never made this way. It obviously could have been so much more if the tandem got together, but riding across the beat on her own to the drum of kicking vocals like "They say I'm too young to love you/I don't know what I need/They think I don't understand/The freedom land of the seventies/I think I'm too cool to know ya/You say I'm like the ice I freeze/I'm churning out novels like/Beat poetry on Amphetamines" this song is still a classic for Lana in it's and her own right. The inspiration and influence of the late legend Lou is still present though in fitting tribute as Rey muses "Well, my boyfriend's in the band/He plays guitar while I sing Lou Reed" to the reason and rhyme verse of a new American classic with an undeniable hook that will be sung until the Autumn of Summer makes way for Winter and all that brings after. This stripped down cinematic collection is exactly what Lana promised in all it's potential and power. As the album delves deeper and darker this is the kind of music that brings that magic to the mid-night hour in all it's atmospheric, establishing evocation that her haunting harmonies engage, drowned in decadence. Bittersweet nostalgia and a haunting beauty is all laid out on the table from this queen of hearts. Pop music has never sounded so beautiful...or carried so much meaning even in the guilty pleasure of self-indulgence. From the Urban Outfitters exclusive vinyl cover, this torn 'Blue Jeans' queen of the new, female Springsteen, born in the U.S.A. generation gives her fans so much more than the commercial success of her single-laden, radio ready first album. This delightfully deluxe and dynamic package carries so much more weight and emotional gravity in a groundbreaking record for the former breakthrough star.
Even in a year of 'High Hopes' from the Boss, a Ben Harper collaboration with his mother and some Jack White and Black Keys this may be the best album of 2014 this Summer sorely needed. Even if the timbre, tone and texture of this album features more dark and heavy clouds for the season of sun we thought we'd see. It's been a cold year but from the 'Cruel World' beginnings to 'The Other Woman' ending we almost have a dozen tracks of tears and terrific trepidation. The bonus of the beautiful, 'Black Beauty', the haunting heavy metal keys of 'Guns and Roses' ivory and 'Florida Kilos' gives more weight to this album, as does the 'Flipside' of 'Is This Happiness' , depending on which special edition you go for. Still the original and outstanding album is perfect in its own way. 'Sad Girl' and 'Pretty When You Cry' haunt the darkness that lie behind this stars shine as Lana sings "His bonnie on the side, bonnie on the side/Makes me a sad, sad girl/His money on the side, money on the side/Makes me a sad, sad girl" for all the women that have been cruelly cheated. The million dollar girl explores more dark sides of the American dream on 'Old Money' and 'Money Power Glory' as Lana sings "Hallelujah" to "dope and diamonds" vowing to take us for all we've got. As she lyrically laments "The sun also rises/On those who fail to call/My life, it comprises,/f losses and wins and fails and falls" it's clear to hear and see what this industry has done in lasting effect to the life of this legacy making legend. Still no matter the trouble or pain, this influential icon goes through it all with honesty and heart and comes out swinging and singining like the stage was set for this siren in the times of the twenties. She's bringing all the Hepburn holding cigarette ash and smoke of those bygone decades to this day however boldly and beautifully like the words of the pages of a Fitzgerald Jazz Age. This woman who was born for the big screen, brings her movie-making music to the billboard bright lighs as nothing shines brighter in all it's glitz and glamour than her beautiful voice. This Bonnie brings beauty to this ride of 'Violence' and it seems she'll be shooting for the stars for a long time to come. From the Brooklyn boroughs to the Hollywood hills. This is the American dream deferred...and its never been so delightfully determined. It used to be a mans world. TIM DAVID HARVEY.