Self-destruction, regret and blind despair are recurring themes in Lana Del Rey‘s music. The queen of sadcore explores these staples — at length — on her excellent Ultraviolence LP as well as introducing some new favorites to the mix, like her obsession with the dark underbelly of Los Angeles and abusive relationships. As you can tell, it’s not exactly easy listening.
There’s a lot to love about Lana’s sophomore set but her seemingly effortless ability to set a scene or evoke a strong emotion with a simple lyric is the album’s greatest achievement. You can almost see the mascara running down her face as she sings “Pretty When You Cry” and feel the protagonist’s hope fade on “Old Money”. See the 10 most quintessentially Del Rey lyrics on Ultraviolence after the jump.
10. “Black Beauty”
Lyric: ”You have no room for light, love is lost on you.”
Reason: Lana finds herself in a one-sided relationship with someone suffering from clinical depression. Who would have thought?
9. “Fucked My Way Up To The Top”
Lyric: ”Lay me down tonight in my linen and curls.”
Reason: If the moody diva is going to sleep her way to the top, she’s going to make sure she looks glamorous.
8. “Sad Girl”
Lyric: “Bein’ a bad bitch on the side might not appeal to fools like you.”
Reason: The 27-year-old’s affinity for the other woman reappears time and again in her music.
7. “Shades Of Cool”
Lyric: “My baby lives in shades of blue, blue eyes and jazz and attitude.”
Reason: Nobody romanticizes depression better than Lana.
6. “Money Power Glory”
Lyric: ”Dope and diamonds, dope and diamonds, that’s all that I want”
Reason: What could be more appealing to our heroine than narcotics and extreme wealth?
5. “West Coast”
Lyric: “Down on the West Coast I get this feeling like it all could happen.”
Reason: The Fader cover girl is obsessed with Los Angeles because it’s a place where American dreams come true or slowly disintegrate into something horrific. Both ends of the spectrum appeal to her equally.
4. “Pretty When You Cry”
Lyric: ”Don’t say you need me when you leave and you leave again, I’m stronger than all my men except for you.”
Reason: Lana walks that find balance between strength and vulnerability better than anyone.
Lyric: “He hit me and it felt like a kiss.”
Reason: Abusive relationships attract the marginalized women she loves to sing about.
2. “Brooklyn Baby”
Lyric: “They judge me like a picture book, by the colors, like they forgot to read.”
Reason: A commentary on the obsession with LDR’s “authenticity”. The emphasis should be on her music not her name change or new image.
1. “Old Money”
Lyric: “My father’s love was always strong, My mother’s glamor lives on and on, yet still inside I felt alone for reasons unknown to me.”
Reason: I think this lyric holds the key to coming to terms with Lana’s gloomy demeanor. You can have a privileged life and loving parents but still feel lost and empty.
What lyric sums up Lana best? Let us know in the comments below.
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