Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 35
  2. Negative: 1 out of 35
Buy On
  1. 100
    The characters and artifacts that surround these songs feel artificial, like stock props, but the music that Del Rey pulls them through splits them open, shakes them to life.
  2. 100
    Ultraviolence is the masked bacchanalia that finally unleashes the full potential lurking beneath the hype.
  3. 91
    Ultraviolence, a collection of mid-century ballads spiked with blues-rock, is a stunning accomplishment. Its eleven songs whimper and howl, soothe and taunt, hypnotize and thrill.
  4. Jun 17, 2014
    90
    Slavishly downbeat, it burrows even deeper into Del Rey’s torchy sensibility and rarely breaks its spell.
  5. Jun 18, 2014
    86
    It's the very definition of a grower, and this record has something Born to Die never had: more reflection.
  6. Jun 17, 2014
    83
    Auerbach offers a more sedate take on the "Born to Die" template, lightening the orchestrations, ditching the hip-hop beats, and presenting Lana as a perpetually scorned pop-noir fugitive--part Neko Case, part Katy Perry. It's a delicious contrast that makes for a surprisingly great album.
  7. Q Magazine
    Jul 2, 2014
    80
    Del Rey sounds regally removed from the box-ticking modernity of her peers, a one-woman advertisement for the appeal of the unreal. [Aug 2014, p.113]
  8. Jun 20, 2014
    80
    In a career fraught with obsessions over the perfection-imperfection dichotomy, it turns out to be a blessing that she put pop and its various pressures on the backburner just to deliver some real summertime sadness.
  9. Jun 19, 2014
    80
    Dan Auerbach’s production helps shape that drama, but he’s accurately interpreting her vision rather than directing Del Rey, who suddenly seems completely in control of her brand.
  10. Jun 17, 2014
    80
    With Ultraviolence, Lana Del Rey remains a singular figure in music, sounding (and addressing the idea of authenticity) like no one else.
  11. Jun 16, 2014
    80
    Ultraviolence thrives for the most part in its density, meant clearly to be absorbed as an entire experience, with even its weaker pieces contributing to a mood that's consumptive, sexy, and as eerie as big-budget pop music gets.
  12. Jun 16, 2014
    80
    Ultraviolence is a beautiful argument for her relevance and her potential longevity.
  13. Jun 12, 2014
    80
    A record that’s a hundred times more cohesive than Born to Die.
  14. Jun 12, 2014
    80
    Overall, the writing feels sharper and stronger. Every chorus clicks, the melodies are uniformly beautiful, and they soar and swoop, the better to demonstrate Del Rey's increased confidence in her voice.
  15. A shake up in the lyric department would be nice to see next time around, but on this outing Lana Del Rey is able to sell it with striking vocal performances and breathtaking compositions.
  16. Jun 16, 2014
    75
    It's a candlelit record, a 3 a.m. record. Turn it up loud and melt into the couch.
  17. Jun 16, 2014
    71
    Ultraviolence finds one feeling--a seedy, desperate, hyper-romanticized sense of isolation and loss--and blows it up to drive-in screen proportions, saturating the color riding the blue crest of sadness for the better part of an hour. Whether or not you want to take this particular ride will largely depend on how much stock you put in “authenticity,” your tolerance for Del Rey’s vocal tics, and your reflexive response to her lyrics.
  18. Aug 4, 2014
    70
    Underwhelming ending aside, it’s fair to say that Del Rey (and her collaborators) have more than risen to the challenge of keeping her a part of the pop culture conversation, for all the right reasons.
  19. Jun 20, 2014
    70
    The album wraps desire, violence and sadness into a tight bundle that Del Rey doesn't always seem sure how to unpack.
  20. Jun 18, 2014
    70
    On balance, Ultraviolence is ok, tending towards pretty good. However, there is a nagging wonderment over exactly where Del Rey goes from here.
  21. Jun 16, 2014
    70
    As an album to invest in, feel sentimental about, or be genuinely thrilled by, Ultraviolence falls short. Take it simply as a sumptuously-presented pop record, though, and you have to wonder if you’ll hear a better one this year.
  22. Jun 16, 2014
    70
    Ultraviolence prioritizes mood over innovation, classicism over experimentalism, and is better for it.
  23. Jun 13, 2014
    70
    Ultraviolence marks real progression: never has Del Rey sounded so compellingly crystalline on a set of recordings. Thematically, though, tracks can appear content to splash in the shallows.
  24. Jun 12, 2014
    70
    Repeated listens reveal nuances, like the acoustic guitar bristling beneath the blues-rock verses of "Sad Girl" and the male backing vocals layering the final chorus of "Brooklyn Baby," but the album's steadfast narcotic tempo and Del Rey's languid delivery, doused in shoegaze-style reverb throughout, conjure a hazy picture of the singer swaying wearily in some sweltering sweat-lodge of a dive in the deep South.
  25. Aug 1, 2014
    67
    The heiress-turned-songwriter spins tragic tales that further an intrigue somehow only mounting, yet they're just dubious enough to keep any artistic credibility at a cautious arm's length and thus perpetuate her core polarity.
  26. Mojo
    Aug 20, 2014
    60
    While her David Lynch qualities remain, there's also something of the masochistic Lars Von Trier heroine in the resigned drowse of these songs. [Sep 2014, p.92]
  27. 60
    The line between self-aware irony and tragically conforming to type is thin, though, her knowing winks getting stuck in a tangle of false eyelashes, and ultimately undermining what had the potential to be a powerful artistic statement.
  28. Jun 17, 2014
    60
    Without the hip-hop beats that peppered her first album, the songs here lack a sprinkling of brashness--a little of the Kim and Kanye touch would have helped.
  29. Ultraviolence is more of the same, but less.
  30. Jun 16, 2014
    60
    The end result is stylish and cogent but, as a consequence, perhaps a teensy bit samey.
  31. Jun 24, 2014
    50
    Throughout Ultraviolence, there's a sense of musical haziness that rests in a safe zone that Del Rey either can't or won't escape from.
  32. Jun 17, 2014
    50
    Ultraviolence almost qualifies as a parody. Unfortunately, there's not enough punch in the songs to make listeners care whether she's joking or not.
  33. Jun 17, 2014
    42
    Ultraviolence moves away from more pop-friendly territory and instead languishes in a sleepy, sad aesthetic.
  34. The sound is so dense it threatens to asphyxiate the singer, which may just be the point. Everything about her work plays into fantasies of a potentially fatal manipulation.
  35. Jun 16, 2014
    30
    In her grand tradition of coining absurd descriptive phrases, Del Rey and Auerbach have christened all this "narco swing", an apt characterisation if only one assumes it's short for narcoleptic; it takes some doing to make sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll sound boring, but in her hands, the vices of hedonism scan as crushingly monotonous.
User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 1586 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. AA2
    Jun 17, 2014
    10
    This album is one of those albums that are/must be considered a masterpiece (like Madonna's Like A Prayer). It's like a fairytale. Lana takesThis album is one of those albums that are/must be considered a masterpiece (like Madonna's Like A Prayer). It's like a fairytale. Lana takes us to a different time. The songs are emotional and beautifully composed with dark tunes -- "Lana Del Rey style". They are actual poems by Lana Del Rey turned into songs. Her voice is seductive and sad at the same time. Something about this album makes you feel like waking up after a good dream. During he day you'll ask yourself "was I dreaming or was it reality". Full Review »
  2. Jun 17, 2014
    1
    Lana wants to be heavy and deeper than she is... Her voice is good and she has some moments here and there, but this album feels rushed andLana wants to be heavy and deeper than she is... Her voice is good and she has some moments here and there, but this album feels rushed and just kinda there. All the songs sound the same (and there are no songs like Born To Die - Summertime Sadness / Blue Jeans) I was hoping for more. Don't recommend the album. Full Review »
  3. Jun 17, 2014
    0
    The songs are very similar, and all have an air of sleep. She needs to do more happy songs, this album may depress others. The songs areThe songs are very similar, and all have an air of sleep. She needs to do more happy songs, this album may depress others. The songs are cloying and all that was written seem lazy. I do not think she has a vocal power, she does not leave her calm and boring style. Full Review »