If you know me, you’ll know I adore Lana Del Rey. I sing her songs all the time, literally. All. The. Time. In fact I will barely release one word before my friend Morgan glares at me to stop – I may or may not be a horrible singer. But that doesn’t stop me because Del Rey is, without a doubt, my most beloved artist.
Her first album Born to Die is one of my favorite albums ever to study with because it keeps me focused. That means that yes, I can sing the entire thing straight while filling out math problems – one of my proudest skills.
All of the reasons why I love her are impossible to name because there’s just so many. Not only is she timeless — her albums range from 2012-2015 yet are still popular today — but her music is impressively complex. I know that even though I’ve heard all of them hundreds of times over, I always pick up on new background vocals or violins.
Del Rey’s music is usually called baroque or dream pop, so if you’re into The Beach Boys, Arcade Fire or The Beatles, then Del Rey is a must.
Now if you live in some grass in the depths of country Kansas and haven’t heard of Del Rey, then dang you are missing out.
“Art Deco” Honeymoon
By far my favorite from the mysterious Honeymoon, “Art Deco” captures my attention from the first second. From there, her almost-whisper speaks directly to me. According to Del Rey, the song is about teenagers who go out every night. Though my lifestyle is pretty tame, Del Rey takes experiences like that and translates them to something I can understand and enjoy without thinking twice of it.
“Black Beauty” Ultraviolence (bonus track)
I think this song is gorgeous, as the sweet organ paired with her soothing melody is incredible. Whenever I’m sad I crank it, as it somehow makes me feel better and worse at the same time. Another instance of Del Rey being completely open, this song actually describes her ex-boyfriend, who had depression. Instead of droning on and on about insignificant problems, Del Rey talks about how hard the relationship was, how much she tried to make it last, yet it didn’t work. She’s real and authentic, not pretending her life is perfect, and I respect her so much for that.
“Brooklyn Baby” Ultraviolence
This could be, quite possibly, my favorite Lana song ever. I mean it. I can’t describe why, so just listen to it and you’ll get it.
“Carmen” Born to Die
This one is a prime example of a song I know by heart, in fact a particular favorite when solving math problems. It’s another one with a real message, this time about Del Rey’s alcohol addiction at a young age, showing her depth. “Carmen” is a good example of the baroque pop style Del Rey has with its combination of violins, piano and catchy drums.
“Sad Girl” Ultraviolence
As I mentioned earlier, I’m awful singer. Like truly bad – my mom once told me to “stop screeching,” thinking I was singing badly on purpose. But this song is so fun to sing along with, probably because it’s one of her more clear, simple songs. It also has a lot of high, almost breathy, notes that make me feel like I’m a professional.
“Off to the Races” Born to Die
If I didn’t include “Off to the Races,” this playlist wouldn’t exist. I would say it’s one of her most well-known, because even my friends who never listen to Del Rey know this one. I’ll admit, Del Rey can be hard to understand at times, so singing the words perfectly to this one is an accomplishment worthy of a shiny trophy. I listen to this one when driving to Lawrence by myself to keep focused, and this song in particular helps a lot because it’s from her most upbeat and catchy album. Plus for those who say Del Rey just sings about alcohol, drugs and boyfriends, this song is actually a strong reference to Vladimir Nabokov’s classic, Lolita.
Also check out some of my other top choices: “Ride,” “Blue Velvet,” “Is This Happiness?” and “Lolita.” Of course, I love all of Del Rey’s music but the aforementioned are the ones I regularly jam to.
BONUS: If you are super interested in Del Rey, then head straight to YouTube right now. She has a huge collection of unreleased songs that are totally rad. They range from her early days as Lizzy Grant to now. Some of her songs should definitely, ahem, stay unreleased just because they need some work, but that’s what I love about her. She’s not perfect. But the fact she’s worked so hard and written so many songs that most fans will never know about shows just how much she loves her career.
Top unreleased include: “My Best Days,” “Summer Wine,” “Because of You,” “Serial Killer,” “Queen of Disaster” and “Is It Wrong?”
I’ll admit it, selecting just a few songs for this playlist was hard because all her music is exceptional. So go and start listening now, because she’s got some good stuff out there.