Since 2012, Lana Del Rey has been building her myth as indie’s poet laureate of dusty,
5. ‘West Coast’
What Lana’s critics tend to overlook is how weird her songs are. Take ‘Ultraviolence’ single ‘West Coast’, an international hit that blends trip-hop, postpunk, dark soul and woozy psychedelia to deliver an effortlessly catchy tune that fucks with chart-pop like Picasso fucks with facial features.
4. ‘Summertime Sadness’
Nowhere is Lana’s self-identification as “Hollywood sadcore” more keenly felt than on this ‘Born to Die’ anthem. It hinges on a lurching rhythm switch-up in the chorus, but its calling card are sweetly melancholy lyrics shot through with euphoria, sizzling like a snare.
3. ‘Shades of Cool’
With quietly haunting verses and an interstellar chorus that would suit a later Muse album, ‘Shades of Cool’ is the kind of stunning ‘Ultraviolence’ single that just wouldn’t have worked on ‘Born to Die’, which worked to a more rigid mould of regal pop. It’s not quite as alluring as her very finest stuff, but the change of pace marked a vital evolution for the singer.
2. ‘Blue Jeans’
After ‘Video Games’ turned the internet into one big Lana Del Rey comment section, ‘Blue Jeans’ had a whiff of anti-climax. In light of her later work, though, it makes perfect sense, elegantly wrapping passive-aggressive declarations of devotion – “Love you more than those bitches before” – in sumptuous strings and prowling guitar twangs.
1. ‘Video Games’
It’s testament to Lana’s enduring myth that, while her shaky ‘Video Games’ performance on Saturday Night Live momentarily posed a genuine threat to her status, the fuck-up has since become a footnote on her way to the top. It’s true that the song works best in studio form, a ballad so lucid and intimate that listening to it is like looking through a stranger’s photo diary. It’s as faded and sunken an account of romantic disillusionment as they come.