Is Lana Del Rey truly morose and reckless, or just a hot chick exploiting that persona to titillate audiences? On her latest album, “Ultraviolence” (three stars out of four), the controversial singer/songwriter poses that question again — along with a third option: that she’s a crafty storyteller who’s unafraid to explore her own demons or entice yours.
Del Rey’s musical gifts may be limited, but the sultry minimalism of her vocals continues to work well against spookily ambient, vaguely trippy arrangements. Ultraviolence producer Dan Auerbach, of the Black Keys, proves a canny collaborator, layering bluesy textures into “Sad Girl” and adding wailing rock guitars to “Pretty When You Cry.”
Lyrics for those songs and others will likely incite some hand-wringing. But Del Rey, and her fans, surely wouldn’t have it any other way.
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