Author: Owen Salmon, YAV
Photo: Lana Del Ray Ultraviolence studio album cover (2014), Polydor and Interscope Records
On June 13, 2014, singer-songwriter Lana Del Ray released the album Ultraviolence. The album consisted of songs such as “Cruel World,” “Shades of Cool,” and the most popular one,
“Ultraviolence.” The name “Ultraviolence,” comes from Anthony Burgess’ novel A Clockwork Orange, centered around the degradation of society in the future. The main character, Alex, describes
many events as “ultraviolence.” These actions include beatings, rape, and murder.
Del Ray’s song focuses on glamorizing abuse, particularly physical abuse. While abuse can come in many forms — mental, emotional, and physical, Del Ray primarily focuses her songs
around physical abuse by using the words like “hit” to portray the physical actions. Del Ray also paints a picture of abuse by describing in her songs how she could “hear sirens.” Del Ray is a
relevant singer-songwriter to many young people.
“Lana Del Ray has a large impact on teens as they are a majority of her fan base. All of my friends and I listen to Lana Del Ray.” Anonymous High School Senior said. “Jim told me that he hit me and it felt like a kiss” is a line from the hit song, “Ultraviolence.” This line is an example of glamorizing abuse that occurs within her songs. The song explains how people can be trapped in an unhealthy relationship with abuse as it can feel “like a kiss.”
“Jim raised me up, he hurt me, but it felt like true love.” Another lyric that exemplifies glamorizing relationship violence. Using “he hurt me” and “it felt like true love” together leaves an impression that true love comes from violence. “I think that [“Ultraviolence”] reminds me of how many people are trapped in relationships that they can’t escape from. It portrays abuse in a positive way which could be very detrimental to young people,” High School Senior said.
The effect of listening to a song where violence and abuse are painted in a positive light leaves a false connotation of true love and relationships. “I think that one of the top 100 artists in the world is famous for manufacturing an image of glamorized abuse. I hope that in the future, artists stray away from these themes and move toward a more uplifting attitude toward relationships,” High School Senior said.
Owen Salmon is a high school senior who is a part of the Youth Against Program (YAV) program at STAND! For Families Free of Violence. He is passionate about working toward eliminating stigma surrounding teen dating and domestic violence.