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"Ultraviolence" (originally titled "Melancholia") is a song by Lana Del Rey written with Dan Heath. It is the second single and title track from Del Rey's second major-label studio album, Ultraviolence. The song was released as the second promotional single from the album on June 4, 2014, after "Shades of Cool". On August 18, "Ultraviolence" was released to radio stations in the United Kingdom as the second single from the album after "West Coast".
- 1 Background and writing
- 2 Composition
- 3 Critical reception
- 4 Commercial performance
- 5 Music video
- 6 Cross-references
- 7 Official versions
- 8 Official remixes
- 9 Lyrics
- 10 Commercial release
- 11 Promotional release
- 12 Credits
- 13 Charts
- 14 References
Background and writing[edit | edit source]
Del Rey stated in an interview that the title "Ultraviolence" had little to do with the novel and film that made the term famous, A Clockwork Orange, instead she was inspired by the phonetic quality of the word. The track was debuted live on May 25, 2014 before the song's release during a concert in Vancouver. The song premiered on BBC Radio 1 on June 4 and was uploaded to Del Rey's official Vevo channel straight after. The song was available for download on iTunes the same day and reached #1 on the iTunes song chart briefly. While doing a track-by-track commentary of the album, Del Rey explained that "Ultraviolence" was a reworking of a song she had written previously called "Melancholia".
Whilst she still performs the song live, she no longer sings the line 'He hit me and it felt like a kiss' to where in a recent Pitchfork interview she states "I don’t like it. I don’t. I don’t sing it. I sing “Ultraviolence” but I don’t sing that line anymore. Having someone be aggressive in a relationship was the only relationship I knew. I’m not going to say that that [lyric] was 100 percent true, but I do feel comfortable saying what I was used to was a difficult, tumultuous relationship, and it wasn’t because of me. It didn’t come from my end" - in her 2017 live shows you can see backing vocals taking over this particular line.
A demo of the song, produced by Dan Heath, leaked on October 3, 2020. The demo features a different instrumental and some lyrical differences.
Composition[edit | edit source]
"Ultraviolence" is written in 4/4, in the key of D minor and is performed at approximately 110 beats per minute. The track utilises a heavy use of strings, similar to songs on her previous two records, as well as pounding piano chords and guitar. The song features a spoken bridge, similar to "Carmen", although it is, for the most part, in English. The vocals on the track are heavily layered during the chorus similar to "West Coast".
Critical reception[edit | edit source]
Nolan Feeney of Time criticized the song for its glorification of domestic violence, mentioning Lorde's comment on Del Rey's music, "This sort of shirt-tugging, desperate, don’t leave me stuff. That’s not a good thing for young girls, even young people, to hear." However, Feeney also stated that Del Rey would "likely" not endorse the "screwed-up tales of vice and luxury" her character, Lana Del Rey, sings about. While noting that Del Rey did not offer a positive or negative opinion on domestic violence, Harley Brown of Spin said that the lyrics to the song could generate controversy, especially since Del Rey dismissed feminism in a recent interview with The Fader, saying "For me, the issue of feminism is just not an interesting concept. I’m more interested in, you know, SpaceX and Tesla, what’s going to happen with our intergalactic possibilities. Whenever people bring up feminism, I’m like, god. I’m just not really that interested."  By the end of 2014, NME named "Ultraviolence" the 32nd best song of the year.
Commercial performance[edit | edit source]
"Ultraviolence" debuted at number 70 in US Billboard Hot 100. The song debuted at number 34 and 12 in Belgium, Flanders and Wallonia, respectively. The song reached number 38 in Canada, number 88 in France, and number 59 in Czech Republic.
Music video[edit | edit source]
Scrapped music video[edit | edit source]
The song originally had a music video that was shot in 2014, but for unknown reasons, it was not released, and later its scenes were used in the "Honeymoon Sampler" video, as well as in the music videos for "Music to Watch Boys To" and "Freak". In 2016, Father John Misty told NME, "I filmed the 'Freak' video two years ago. It was supposed to be the video for something else... She wanted me to play a cult leader in the video, with a bunch of a women." A behind-the-scenes photo of Lana Del Rey dressed in the same outfit she wears in the "Freak" video, holding a clapperboard dated 6-9-14 and reading "Ultraviolence", further supports the idea that footage used for the "Freak" video was originally intended for the "Ultraviolence" video.
Official music video[edit | edit source]
|Released||July 30, 2014|
|Filmed||July 3, 2014|
|Vevo views||56+ Million views|
Background and description[edit | edit source]
The music video was shot entirely on an iPhone using the 8mm Vintage Camera app and was released on July 30, 2014 by Noisey (Vice). It was directed by Francesco Carrozzini, and shows Del Rey wearing a white dress and wandering around in an outside setting located in Portofino and later entering the church of San Sebastiano. The video was then uploaded to her official Vevo channel on August 1st. 
Promotional polaroids by Francesco Carrozzini[edit source]
Cross-references[edit | edit source]
- The phrase "Ultraviolence" was first mentioned in a different variation in "Hundred Dollar Bill".
- "Hit me and it felt like a kiss" is a lyric also used in "Beautiful Player". It also appears in the song "He Hit Me" by the band Hole and the song of the same name by the band The Chrystals.
- Directly referenced in the "Ruby Tuesday" version of "Hundred Dollar Bill".
- Jim is mentioned often in Del Rey's songs, such as in "You're Gonna Love Me" and "Motel 6".
- Lemonade is mentioned in "Trash Magic", "Dance for Money", "Music to Watch Boys To", and the poem "What Happened When I Left You".
- Reference to "Raise Me Up (Mississippi South)".
- A reference to sirens also appears in "Drive-by". It could also possibly reference Del Rey's unreleased demo album of the same name.
- The lyric "Heaven is on Earth" references "Video Games".
- Del Rey calls herself a jazz singer in "Dum Dum".
- "Poison Ivy", a nickname of Del Rey's, is also mentioned in "Driving in Cars with Boys".
- The last chorus samples lyrics from "Fucked My Way Up to the Top".
- The lyric "crying tears of gold" is also used in "Ghetto Baby".
- "Loving you was really hard" is a similar lyric to "Loving you is hard" from "High by the Beach".
- Kids are also mentioned in "Old Money", "Never Let Me Go" and "Love".
- Woodstock is also mentioned in "Coachella - Woodstock in My Mind".
- Gold is also mentioned in "Heavy Hitter", "Back to the Basics", "Ghetto Baby" and "Lust for Life", among many other songs.
- New York is also mentioned in many of Del Rey's songs, some of which are "Making Out", "Old Money", "Hit & Run" and "How to Disappear".
- The phrase "true love" is also used in "I Talk to Jesus", "Off to the Races", "Bad Boy", "Because of You" and "True Love on the Side".
- "Deadly nightshade" (also known as "Belladonna") is the name of a poisonous plant known for being one of the most toxic plants in the world.
- Lyrics in Spanish also appear in "West Coast" and the concept demo for "Carmen".
Official versions[edit | edit source]
- Album version — 4:11
- Instrumental version — 4:10
- Demo version — 4:11
- Music video version — 4:23
- Carbon Airways Remix — 4:15
- Datsik Remix — 3:56
- Disciples Remix — 5:40
- Hook N Sling Remix — 5:28
- Hook N Sling Remix (BUMP 35) — 5:29
- Hotel Garuda Remix — 3:52
- Jean Tonique Remix — 4:24
- PBR Streetgang Remix — 5:28
- Prins Thomas Diskomiks — 7:20
- Prins Thomas Dub Remix — 5:23
- Sonic Matta Dawood Remix — 5:34
- The Penelopes Remix — 5:01
Lyrics[edit | edit source]
Album version[edit | edit source]
Demo version[edit | edit source]
Commercial release[edit | edit source]
Digital release[edit | edit source]
- Ultraviolence - Single
|Label: Polydor, Interscope|
Released: June 4, 2014
Photography: Neil Krug
Design: Mat Maitland
- Ultraviolence (Hook N Sling Remix) - Single
|Label: Polydor, Interscope|
Released: February 15, 2015
|1.||"Ultraviolence" (Hook N Sling Remix)||5:29|
Promotional release[edit | edit source]
Ultraviolence CD by Polydor in UK[edit source]
Credits[edit | edit source]
- Lana Del Rey — vocals, background vocals, songwriting
- Dan Heath — songwriting
- Dan Auerbach — production, mixing, electric guitar
- Collin Dupuis — engineering, mixing, drum programming
- Maximilian Weissenfeldt — drums
- Nick Movshon — electric bass
- Leon Michaels — synthesizers, mellotron, piano
- Russ Pahl — pedal steel
- Kenny Vaughan & Seth Kaufman — electric guitar
- Alfreda McCrary Lee, Ann McCrary & Regina McCrary — background vocals
- John Davis — mastering
Charts[edit | edit source]
|Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)||34|
|Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)||12|
|Canadian Hot 100 (Billboard)||38|
|Czech Republic Digital Singles (ČNS IFPI)||59|
|Russian Top Radio Hits (Tophit)||160|
|US Billboard Hot 100||70|
References[edit | edit source]
- ISRC: GBUM71404391
- ISRC: GBUM71404603
- ISRC: GBUM71405571
- ISRC: GBUM71404136