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Top 10 Lana Del Rey Songs

Lana Del Rey
Complex

Lana Del Rey songs made a splash on the pop music scene when the songstress released ‘Born to Die’ in 2012, but Ms. Rey is incredibly prolific, with lost tracks, demos, soundtrack tunes and special edition songs popping up online with increasing frequency. While much is made about her stunning good looks and her propensity for appearing on magazine covers, she does have a wealth of music to sift through.

The singer is a bit of an anomaly — likening herself to a gangsta Nancy Sinatra, she delivers her words in chatty, alt rap style. Yet she’s also an old soul, a vampy vixen who just so happens to be trapped in a pair of platform go-go boots, with a taste for synths and ’00s pop divas, too.

When it comes down to it, LDR pledges allegiance to no era or genre, instead choosing to come up with an amalagam that is distinctly her own. Her music has been deemed “sadcore,” since it’s woven with a thread of melancholy, stuffed with emotion, and LDR’s whiskey-soaked voice is unforgettable. She is at ease with being melancholy and moody, and with being a vocal temptress.

To celebrate her unique sound, we’ve picked the Top 10 Lana Del Rey Songs that define her career thus far, focusing on officially released material.


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10

'Blue Jeans'

 
 

Much of Lana Del Rey's music is cinematic in scope, and the sweeping, plucky and rhythmic 'Blue Jeans,' from her 2012 debut 'Born to Die,' is one of those tracks that would be perfect for either a film score or a particularly tense sequence in a mystery film. The song possesses a noir, old Hollywood vibe, but it's never too retro or throwback-y. The vocal parts sound like a pout, namely in the verses of 'Blue Jeans.'

 
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9

'Burning Desire'

 
 

Sadder than a breakup, this retro tune is a fitting soundtrack for the end of the world, if you'd like to curl up with a stereo, a cup of tea and a cozy sweater that you've had for years and that may have belonged to one of your late relatives. The song, which was featured in a commercial as part of Del Rey's partnership with luxury car make Jaguar, is the sultry chaneteuse's attempt at chamber pop, and it's a successful one at that.

 
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8

'Diet Mountain Dew'

 
 

'Diet Mountain Dew' is lush, layered and lazy pop music with finger snaps and a sugary tone, much like the drink itself. A lot of her catalog is sadcore, but this Lana Del Rey song is not. When she has her way with a backbeat, that baby-fied voice just comes alive. As LDR muses about whether she and her lover will last forever, it doesn't feel like a question for which she is truly in search of an answer. It's her interpretation of NYC-reared disco, funneled through the filter of indie-pop.

 
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7

'Blue Velvet'

 
 

Lana Del Rey's cover of the '50s classic 'Blue Velvet,' which appeared on the 'Paradise' edition reissue of 'Born to Die,' is transformed into a lullaby in the hands of the smokey chanteuse. With the backbeat doing its thing, LDR's voice feels rich and sensuous, like velvet itself. With sweeping instrumentation backing her beautiful voice, LDR feels like the centerpiece of a symphony.

 
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6

'Summertime Sadness'

 
 

Yes, Miss Del Rey made an album full of tracks that sound gothic and romantic with 'Born to Die,' but this Lana Del Rey song is the saddest... and not just because it has the word "sad" in the title. She is an old soul trapped in a young and beautiful -- natch! -- body, and none of her tracks display that reality better than this one. The song isn't all Debbie Downer melancholia, though; it gets a lift from the shimmery, synthy and reverberating production, as well as from the building tension.

 
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5

'Video Games'

 
 

If there was one thing that producers and the powers-that-be didn't scrimp on when it came to 'Born to Die,' it was production. 'Video Games' is rich and full, topped by Del Rey's heavy, sad voice, as she sings, "It's you, it's you, it's all for you / Everything I do." It's a dirge-like hymn laden with harps and delicate piano, perfect for shoe-gazing. There is something utterly gorgeous in the way Lana Del Rey breaks it down.

 
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4

'Born to Die'

 
 

The title track of Lana Del Rey's 2012 album is a lament where the singer implores someone not to make her sad or make her cry. Her wish is musically backed by undulating drum and bass, as she croons, "Sometimes love is not enough and the road gets tough / I don't know why." The rhythmic song has got one helluva a beat, which modernizes the overall maudlin, sadcore vibe. But then Del Rey's old soul, from-another-era voice comes in and infuses it with lived-in, well, life!

 
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3

'Ride'

 
 

From the 'Paradise' edition of 'Born to Die,' this Lana Del Rey song shows the songstress at her smokiest and huskiest, and her most head down. While she sounds like she puffs through two packs a day, we can also hear a different tone when she hits semi-falsetto notes at the end of the epic track, singing, "I'm tired of feeling like I'm f---ing crazy / I'm tired of driving 'til I see stars in my eyes / All I got to keep myself safe, baby / So I just ride, I just ride." It's woozy and sad, but somehow, hopeful.

 
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2

'Young & Beautiful'

 
 

Lana Del Rey's contribution to 'The Great Gatsby' soundtrack fit the film's Jazz Age setting. The chanteuse ponders the future and surface issues on 'Young & Beautiful,' wondering if she will be loved when she no longer has her youth and ravishing good looks. That's a question that pop singers have posed from the genere's nascent days, but Del Rey delivers a familiar philosophical question in a package that is gorgeous in its ache.

 
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1

'National Anthem'

 
 

Sexy, sultry and seductive is what LDR does so well, and she fires on all pistons with 'National Anthem,' easily her the best Lana Del Rey song. With an assist from A$AP Rocky, she's a breathy babydoll, offering up her vocals in her chatty, alt rap style, one that she does not overuse, to her credit. As we said earlier, LDR likened herself to a gangsta Nancy Sinatra and that was never more apparent than with this swirly, girly tune. While this track has nada to do with the land of the free and the home of the brave, it made LDR feel like an American pop treasure.

 

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