Lana Del Rey is best known for exploring tragic romances in her music, typically with an overtly melancholy tone. An incredibly talented singer, her vocals have drawn comparisons with Adele and other top vocalists in the world. Many of her tracks have found immense success charting internationally, usually winding up on end-of-year lists for the best songs of the year. In this article, we’ll take on 25 of her best tracks of all time.
1. Video Games
Video Games was released from Del Rey’s major label debut album Born To Die in 2021, but it was first released on the internet in 2011. It’s a beautiful downtempo ballad where the protagonist decides to love her partner despite him ignoring her. It saw widespread positive reviews among critics and is widely considered her breakthrough hit single.
On the Hot 100, the song only reached number 91, but it topped the charts in Germany, Iceland, and Luxembourg and reached the Top 10 in several other European countries. The Q Awards named it the Song of the Decade in 2019, and it won an Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song in 2012.
2. The Greatest
A standout track on Del Rey’s Norman Fucking Rockwell album, The Greatest was part of a double-feature music video that saw it and Fuck It I Love You released together. The whole point of the song is the singer reminiscing on the good times in her past and kind of lamenting the way things have changed, both with her relationship and the world as a whole. Pitchfork magazine ranked it at number two on their Best Songs of 2019 list, and it ended up peaking at number 12 on the US Alternative Digital Song Sales chart.
Ride ended up being the lead single on the reissue of Del Rey’s extended play, Paradise. The ballad describes alcoholism, parental problems, and loneliness. The cover art for the song depicts her on a tire swing is a nod to the younger Del Rey speaking in the track. It was only a small hit in the US, but saw great commercial success in Russia, becoming a Top 10 hit. At this point, critics began comparing her to Adele in terms of vocal quality, with this song being one of the first to draw that comparison.
4. Venice Bitch
Venice Bitch ended up as the second single released from Del Rey’s Norman Fucking Rockwell album in 2019. Several publications, including Rolling Stone and Pitchfork, ranked it as one of the best songs of the year and the decade. The folk-rock, psychedelic pop song is her longest-ever single, with a total runtime of over nine minutes. It was universally recognized by year-end lists for publications, almost always within the top 10—except for you Esquire, get some taste.
5. Blue Jeans
Blue Jeans was another one of the best tracks from Del Rey’s album Born To Die in 2012. It reached the Top 10 in Belgium, Israel, and Poland, while placing number 41 on the US Rock Digital Songs chart.
There were a total of three music videos created for the track, with the first one being self-produced by the singer herself. It ended up as the B-side track to the second single on the album, the title song of Born To Die. It’s been labeled as a trip-hop ballad version of ZZ Top’s Sharp Dressed Man.
Love was released as the fifth single from Del Rey’s fifth studio album Lust For Life in 2017. It should have come earlier, but it got delayed thanks to leaked versions of the song appearing online the day it was supposed to come out. The track debuted at number 44 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number two on the Hot Rock Songs chart.
7. Born to Die
The title track of her debut album, Del Rey released Born To Die in 2011 as the second single of its namesake album. Speaking of a doomed relationship that became her second Top 10 hit in the UK, this ended up being massively influential in the pop scene from 2012 on, shifting the way other songs ended up sounding.
8. Summertime Sadness
Summertime Sadness is one of Del Rey’s biggest hits, charting incredibly well across Europe. Eventually, remixes of the track landed her on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart in the US, marking the first time she entered that chart. It’s also one of her tracks with the most longevity, and to this day, is a great song when you’re having a bad day or stewing on a relationship going bad.
9. Hope Is A Dangerous Thing For A Woman Like Me To Have – But I Have It
hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but i have it—whew, what a title—was originally named Sylvia Plath in honor of the American poet that gets referenced in the song. The track delves into religion, problematic romantic relationships, alcoholism, and family issues. It’s one of the times Del Rey has shied away from fame, even as she wrote one of her best songs.
I’m gonna start this off with something I never thought I would have to say. If your vagina tastes like any kind of soft drink, including Pepsi, you need to see a doctor. With that out of the way, Cola centers around the idea of a sugar daddy, something Del Rey has included in several of her songs and came under quite a bit of scrutiny.
The part I referred to was the opening line, which brought lots of attention to the track, but other lines ended up having more significance later on, especially the ones revolving around a certain Harvey.
11. Young and Beautiful
The Great Gatsby film used Young And Beautiful in its soundtrack, and I’m thankful they did. A hauntingly somber tune, the song delves into a young lover’s skepticism over whether their love is going to last or not. The track broke into the Billboard Hot 100, reaching the number 22 spot and becoming Del Rey’s highest-charting single on that chart up to that point.
12. Brooklyn Baby
Del Rey is big among hipsters, but this song kind of went after the hipster culture as a whole. Brooklyn Baby included plenty of satirical lines about the New York hipster subculture and things millennials idolize. It rose up the US Bubbling Under Hot 100 and peaked at number one on that chart but never broke into the Hot 100.
13. White Dress
The featured attire in White Dress refers to the one Del Rey had to wear when she worked as a waitress in Long Island shortly after graduating. The song itself reflects on the simple life she had during that time, but it was also when she began writing and performing her own tracks. She considers it a good time in her life because without fame she was free to take whichever path she wanted. Now, she has obligations and responsibilities.
14. Mariners Apartment Complex
The lead single of Lana Del Rey’s iconic Norman Fucking Rockwell album was Mariners Apartment Complex. It set the tone for the album with a mellower tone that borrowed elements of country music. Like almost all of her other tracks, it received plenty of critical praise, eventually charting in at least 15 different countries and being ranked at number six on Rolling Stones’ 50 Best Songs of 2018.
The title track of her third studio album, Ultraviolence is sort of a typical Lana Del Rey song. It deals with a tragic and painful relationship that failed everyone involved, reflecting on the highs and lows of it as the song goes on.
Some publications saw it as glorifying domestic violence but that didn’t stop it from featuring in several compilations of the best tracks of 2014.
16. Chemtrails Over The Country Club
Chemtrails Over The Country Club has a kind of doomy foreboding that lies within it and only rises in urgency as the song progresses. It gets more and more distorted, going from a slick piano waltz to something weird and unsafe.
Chemtrails are a conspiracy theory that thinks the government releases chemicals into the sky to do… well plenty of stuff, from controlling the weather to altering your DNA. In the track, they just kind of foreshadow the end of the world from a privileged point of view at your local country club.
17. Norman F***ing Rockwell
We get to see Del Rey’s claws come out in Norman F***ing Rockwell, the title track of her sixth studio album. She simultaneously destroys her partner, highlighting all of their flaws while somehow also accepting the fact that she has to live with all of those flaws.
It hits hard, partly because of how tough the lyrics are but also because of how they don’t seem to match the music behind them. Regardless, it’s a great song and was nominated for Song of the Year at the 62nd Grammy Awards.
18. High By The Beach
Sometimes, life is overwhelming and you need a break. For Del Rey, sometimes, she just wants to slip away and get high on the beach. The song is pretty calming despite being a great pop track and featuring plenty of electronic music in the background.
19. Wild At Heart
A lot of Del Rey’s music has some element of the folk genre attached to it, so it’s no surprise she brings out the big guns for Wild At Heart. Dropping nursery rhyme-like lines in a voice that sounds like it belongs to a gypsy soul in some far-off place back in yesteryear.
20. In My Feelings
In My Feelings isn’t just a common saying for when you’re down. Del Rey explores the chaotic emotions she had to deal with after dating rapper G-Eazy in this song, detailing the emotional ride in a fairly fast-paced track for her catalog.
21. Happiness is a Butterfly
The Norman Fucking Rockwell album gets pretty dark, but I’m not sure it’s darker anywhere than it is in Happiness Is A Butterfly. Taken from a Nathaniel Hawthorne quote, Del Rey compares happiness to trying to catch an evasive butterfly that’s always just one step ahead of you no matter how fast you try to catch up.
While Del Rey is known for her incredible voice, you wouldn’t guess she’s pretty good at screaming too. She shows an entirely new side to her music in Dealer, potentially destroying her vocal cords—and your eyes if you have the volume up—in the process.
23. Looking for America
Mass shootings in the US, honestly, have become too commonplace. They’re always breaking news, but they seem to happen so often that people just see it on TV and go “oh look, another one.” Looking For America was written by Del Rey in response to two mass shootings in 2019 that happened within hours of each other. It was a standalone single, in which she’s dreaming of a better place and questioning the state America finds itself in.
24. The Next Best American Record
The Next Best American Record was meant for her fifth album but ended up on Norman Fucking Rockwell, ironically containing the lines describing the struggle to make an amazing record on her biggest album yet. Referencing all kinds of classic Americana, from Zeppelin to the Eagles and a few 70s TV shows, the song is overall an upbeat and fun pop track.
25. How To Disappear
Del Rey deals with relationships a lot in her songs, sometimes feeling stuck in them and other times feeling happy to be free of them. How To Disappear realizes her full potential in the finale when, after watching two men leave, she pictures herself hanging out in the yard with a kid and a couple of cats.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
quality content for the Music Grotto website. Dakotah is passionate about music in a wide variety of genres, from hip-hop to country and lo-fi to metal, and he enjoys creating music pieces for Music Grotto.