In 2011, Lana Del Rey arrived on the music blogging scene to harsh commentary from critics, specifically pertaining to authenticity, intent, and talent. Her breakthrough song, "Video Games," engendered good will that had seemingly evaporated by the time her debut album, Born to Die, was released. The album was maligned by reviewers, but its impact has proved far-reaching; you can hear her cool, hip-hop inflected style and somewhat tongue-in-cheek generational address in the music of Lorde, Halsey, and Post Malone. Since then, Lana has only grown stronger at her craft, doubling down on her anti-pop tendencies and clearly defined aesthetic, and recruiting an incredibly dedicated fanbase in the process.
Lana Del Rey fashioned a career out of blurring the lines between reality and fantasy. The cinematic music videos, Lynch-lite Americana imagery, and willingness to draw on black culture as a white performer are all part of the carefully curated world of Del Rey. The release of her fourth studio album, Lust For Life, gave listeners writing that was as vivid as ever, and showed a different side of Lana; some of the darkness inherent in her music was beginning to recede.
In honor of Lana's 33rd birthday, the following list is a glimpse into the glimmering swimming pools, hazy southern California light, and heartbreak that define her work. Whether she’s turning diamonds into snow in Florida, lounging at the Chateau Marmont, or eating soft ice cream at Coney Island, these are the (officially released) songs where Del Rey is at her very best.