After the critical drubbing she withstood from late 2011 through early 2012, Lana Del Rey would have been well justified in packing up her party dresses and heart-shaped sunglasses and secluding herself in some Hollywood mansion, "Sunset Boulevard"-style. Branded an untalented, anti-feminist, prefabricated fraud by scores of online haters, Del Rey told U.K. Vogue in February 2012 that she might never record a follow-up to "Born to Die," the album that established her as one of the most divisive musical figures of the digital age. Thankfully, she had a change of heart.
On "Ultraviolence" — her third studio LP and second since transforming herself from mild-mannered retro songstress Lizzie Grant into the hyper-stylized post-modern glamour queen we've all come to love and/or hate — Del Rey once again dives into the depravity of American culture. She sings about drugs, cars, money, and the bad boys she's always falling for, and while there remains a sepia-toned mid-century flavor to many of these songs, LDR is no longer fronting like a thugged-out Bettie Davis.