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(Credit: Harmony Gerber)

Music

The controversial lyric Lana Del Rey now refuses to sing

@josephtaysom

Lana Del Rey’s lyrics are brutally honest, raw, and on the bone. However, the singer-songwriter has taken this too far on certain occasions, and there’s one controversial line that Del Rey now refuses to sing live during her concerts.

Del Rey has been criticised for the content of her songs and has been accused of glamorising abuse. In 2020, the singer-songwriter stood her corner when she found herself at the centre of a social-media storm after an essay by Isbella Castillo went viral and criticised her for being “full of outdated, anti-feminist ideas”.

In her defence, Del Rey replied: “I’ve been honest about the challenging relationships I’ve had. That’s just how it is for many women. I think it’s pathetic that my minor lyrical exploration detailing my sometimes submissive or passive roles in my relationships has often made people say I’ve set women back hundreds of years.”

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She added: “There has to be a place in feminism for women who look and act like me. The kind of woman who says no but men hear yes; the kind of women who are slated mercilessly for being their authentic, delicate selves; the kind of women who get their own stories and voices taken away from them by stronger women or by men who hate women.”

Although Del Rey defended her lyrics and stance, there is one line from ‘Ultraviolence’ that she can no longer bring herself to sing. The questionable line features her recollecting being hit by a former partner and how it felt “like a kiss”.

While it might have been reflective of her experience, she now understands that it could trigger survivors of domestic abuse in the audience, and that’s why she now omits it from ‘Ultraviolence’ during her shows. Del Rey explained her decision to Pitchfork in 2017: “I don’t like [the line]. 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.”

She continued: “I’m not going to say that that [lyric] was 100 per cent 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.”

Del Rey’s decision to drop the lyric from her sets is undoubtedly the correct one because she no longer feels comfortable singing the line, and it could also cause people to relive past trauma. Mistakes will occasionally be made when you write as personally as Del Rey, and this problematic line from ‘Ultraviolence’ should be filed under that category.

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