20. Summertime Sadness (2012)
apparently inspired by the suicide of a acquaintance and remixed by Cedric Gervais into that rare of things – a party-starting Lana Del Rey banger – Summertime Sadness was a hook-laden highlight of her second album Born to Die, late becoming a key text in the # prettywhenyoucry “ sad girlfriend ” aesthetic Del Rey unwittingly spawned .
19. High By the Beach (2015)
high By the Beach sounds superb : shimmer organ, exhausted-sounding washes of synth, a bunker rhythm that seems to have been sapped of all its swagger machismo. It absolutely fits the song ’ s mood of fatigue, an early sign of its generator ’ randomness wariness about her fame : “ I can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate survive if this is all that ’ s real. ”
18. Blue Banisters (2021)
There was a clock when Lana Del Rey singing about riding a tractor in Oklahoma would have seemed no more probable than Lana Del Rey doing a cover of the Hokey Cokey, but here we are. flush by her more late standards, the music here is minimal, which lone adds to the song ’ s climate of creeping disquiet.
Lana Del Rey performing in New York in 2018. Photograph: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
17. Norman Fucking Rockwell (2019)
It ’ south hard not to be cheered by the lyrics of Norman Fucking Rockwell : after umpteen songs in which she pledged undying allegiance to some appalling-sounding quality, it offers the heavy of Lana Del Rey telling one of them where to get off in pleasingly lineal terms. besides : fantastic chorus .
16. Wild at Heart (2021)
It was probably only a matter of time until Lana Del Rey named a birdcall after a David Lynch movie – Lynch ’ s 80s collaborations with singer Julee Cruise have distinctly been a major influence from the get down. Wild at Heart is a strike, brumous imagine of a global without Lana Del Rey in it : a fantasy of get off from fame .
15. Terrence Loves You (2015)
Lana Del Rey ’ s darling song from Honeymoon, obviously because it was “ jazzy ”. It ’ mho jazzy in the feel that a flashlight song is flashy, but – beyond the adust, reverb-heavy guitars that recall Mazzy Star – the most obvious charm is John Barry ’ s Theme From Midnight Cowboy, repeat in the lovely descending vocal tune .
14. Lust for Life (ft the Weeknd) (2014)
Like Dory Previn ’ s Mary C Brown and the Hollywood Sign, Lust for Life is haunted by the 1932 suicide of fail actor Peg Entwhistle : like the grim pulsing synthesizer in the background, the allusions to it add a dark undertow to what initially sound like bullish assertions of potency from Del Rey and Abel Tesfaye : “ We ’ re masters of our own destine. ”
13. Hope is a Dangerous Thing for a Woman Like Me to Have – But I Have It (2019)
A cynic might suggest that, from its title to its lyrics ( “ 24/7 Sylvia Plath ”, “ spilling my guts with the Bowery mooch is the only love I ’ ve always known ” ), this is a song that teeters on the scepter of self-parody. But it ’ randomness hard to be cynical while it ’ randomness playing – barely a piano and articulation, it ’ s the model of elegant simplicity .
12. National Anthem (2012)
The stature of Lana Del Rey in Stepford-Wife-as-pop-star mood, National Anthem pitches her blank vocal delivering satirical sex-and-materialism lyrics – “ Money is the reason we exist, everybody knows it ” – against jarring musical euphoria : a skyscraping chorus, a string arrangement with a hint of Bitter Sweet Symphony about it . Lana Del Rey at the 2016 Outside Lands Music and Arts festival in San Francisco in 2016.
Photograph: C Flanigan/WireImage
11. Mariners Apartment Complex (2018)
With its birdcall titles borrowed from Neil Young and its lyric nods to Joni Mitchell, Norman Fucking Rockwell ! is an album immersed in Laurel Canyon ’ s former 60s singer-songwriter scene, an divine guidance that finds its fullest expression on Mariners Apartment Complex, a beautifully sullen, icy update of said setting ’ s folk-based style .
10. West Coast (2014)
The inaugural evidence of Ultraviolence ’ s sonic stir – aided by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys – into more guitar-driven territory : the initial riff is equal parts Blondie ’ s Atomic and the Beatles ’ And I Love Her, the lyrics a tribute to a mythologised California, the sudden slow of tempo that announces the chorus is fabulous .
9. Black Bathing Suit (2021)
Lana Del Rey ’ s lockdown birdcall, which captures something of the lockdown feel by being impressively scattered. The lyrics leap without warning from posturing ( “ Let me show you how bad girls do ” ) to tearily confessional ( “ I ’ m not friends with my mother ” ), the music from finely controlled – the tempo shifts in the refrain – to unravel and chaotic .
8. White Dress (2021)
Photograph: PR tellingly, Lana Del Rey ’ s songs have gone from fetishising fame and success to yearning for a life without either. A aloof apparitional cousin of Joni Mitchell ’ sulfur For Free – which she covered – White Dress breathily suggests she was felicitous as a waitress or strange singer : ironically it ’ mho dress to the kind of irresistible tune that sent her Chemtrails Over the Country Club album to No 1 .
7. Love (2017)
An ambiguous ode to youth : the lyric message is be-young-be-foolish-be-happy but the tone of the vocal coolly indifferent, there ’ s something perceptibly baleful about the music. How you take it credibly depends on how old you are, but there ’ s no arguing with the world power of the tune, or the sweet address to the Beach Boys ’ troubled ballad Don ’ t Worry Baby .
6. Ride (2012)
Released in the consequence Born to Die ’ s success – and appended to the album ’ south deluxe Paradise Edition – Ride was produced by Rick Rubin and drenched in strings, but beneath them lurks a supremely classy country-soul sung : for person whose song abilities were mocked early on, Del Rey ’ s octave-leaping operation is cheekily knock-down .
5. The Greatest (2019)
shortly after the release of Norman Fucking Rockwell !, Lana Del Rey shared a overlay of Rolling Stone with Elton John. You can hear his influence on The Greatest, a gorgeously elegiac sung that could have made it on to Goodbye Yellow Brick Road : its everything-is-screwed mood – “ I want everything to feel like it used to ” – however, is pure Trump-era America .
4. Brooklyn Baby (2014)
Self-baiting autobiography, or bitchy hippie character character assassination ? It isn ’ thymine clear, and possibly it doesn ’ thymine matter : just indulge in Brooklyn Baby ’ s swooning melody, the adorable moments where the beat drops out, leaving just Del Rey, a trebly guitar and the buzz of an amplifier. Lou Reed was meant to sing backing vocals, but died the day of the session .
3. Young and Beautiful (2013)
By some distance the best thing on the star-studded soundtrack to Baz Luhrmann ’ s The Great Gatsby, Young and Beautiful is Lana Del Rey at her most haunting. Co-opted by rather than commissioned for the film, its saga of fleeting youth and celebrity fits its fib absolutely, the melody is exquisite.
2. Venice Bitch (2018)
about 10 minutes long, Venice Bitch hypnotises the hearer for its entire duration. It shifts, subtly, from tender folk rock – instinct with references to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young ’ randomness 1970 album Déjà Vu – to a heady eddy of synthesizer and guitar feedback, to a refrain based on Tommy James ’ s Crimson and Clover. It ’ second expansive, experimental and envelop : a prevail .
1. Video Games (2011)
With Lana Del Rey a changeless, influential bearing in pop over the last ten, it ’ randomness easy to forget how striking her first appearance was. She ’ second written umpteen fantastic songs since, but Video Games is the kind of once-in-a-career sung that stops you dead in your tracks : the decelerate build strings, the funereal beatnik, the lyric ’ south unsettling combination of romance and apprehension, the glassy-eyed vocal, the sense that it was absolutely unlike anything else happening in crop up at the fourth dimension. As introductions to a new pop phenomenon go, it may well be the best of the past 20 years : the pass of time has done nothing to dim its authority .