Lana Del Rey Essentials

Lana Del Rey Essentials

When Lana Del Rey released “Video Games” in late 2011, nobody quite knew what to make of her. On the one hand, she seemed like a nostalgia act, the wayward daughter of a Stepford wife tapping into the dark underbelly of suburbia and the American dream. On the other, she seemed utterly contemporary—a detached but self-conscious millennial marking time between selfies. There was something fake, almost alien about her—that blank stare, that perfect hair—but also something wild and passionate, the sound of a young woman trying to vent her desires after being conditioned to hold them in. As her music evolved—from the luxurious club-adjacent sound of 2012’s Paradise to the pastoral grandeur of 2019’s Norman F*****g Rockwell!—her contradictions only got deeper and more interesting. By the end of the decade, she’d transitioned from pop curio to major artist—a shift achieved not so much by changing course but by forging confidently ahead and waiting for the culture to catch up.

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