Lana Del Rey has carved herself a niche in music like no other in contemporary pop music, one which has seen the esteemed artist earn her place at the pantheon of the music industry.
Del Rey’s unique delectable blend of timeless music with a contemporary twist has made her a force to be reckoned with and an artist that has successfully pushed the boundaries of mainstream success. The singer-songwriter released her seventh album, Chemtrails over the Country Club, earlier this year, and the record duly met the high expectations with ease.
Her journey kickstarted with the independently-released Lana Del Ray album in 2010. Following that release, the singer-songwriter altered her stage name from ‘Ray’ to ‘Rey’ and, since 2012’s astounding Born To Die, Del Rey has been on an unstoppable path to stardom that has only continued to gather pace.
The lyricism is a key ingredient at the heart of Del Rey’s work, and her love of literature bleeds into everything she produces. She’s a red herring in the popular music sphere, who is an unlikely pop star for this day, and age with Del Rey feeling like a throwback from the halcyon days of yesteryear.
In celebration of her career, this feature looks back at her creations and ranks the albums in order of greatness which is no easy task with a canon as illustrious as Del Rey’s.
Lana Del Rey’s albums ranked from worst to best
7. Lana Del Ray
Back in 2010, when Lana released this album, she was still finding her feet as an artist. Her identity is somewhat confused on Lana Del Ray as two era’s of her career collide, as she brings together songs she wrote back when she went by her birth name Lizzie Grant and her newly adopted character.
There are moments splattered across the album which signify what would lie ahead in her career, but the record would be taken off sale by Del Rey before she released her major-label debut. The album doesn’t exist on streaming sites but can be found on YouTube.
‘Yayo’ was re-released in 2012. However, the rest of the album is something that Del Rey has tried to leave in the past by distancing herself from.
Following the success of her magnificent double salvo of albums, Born To Die and Ultraviolence, all eyes were on Del Rey to deliver with her fourth studio album. Unfortunately, while Honeymoon isn’t a bad album by any stretch of the imagination, it failed to match its predecessors’ immersive, dynamic nature and the high standards that she’d set herself.
‘High By The Beach’ remains one of the finest moments from her career, and saw her switch it up by not being scared to get darker than ever before as Del Rey leaned into a new-found gothic sound.
5. Lust For Life
Del Rey is an insular artist who exists within her own universe, which is why Lust For Life was such an exciting project as she invited other artists into her world for the first time.
It perfectly balanced her love of vintage music as she enlisted the help of Stevie Nicks and Sean Ono Lennon, but the likes of A$AP Rocky and The Weeknd provided Lust For Life with a contemporary edge. Del Rey opened up her horizons on the record, and it paid off in magnificent style as fans got to see a side to her that she’d previously kept guarded.
4. Born To Die
Born To Die spawned Del Rey’s most notable hits, ‘Video Games’ and ‘Summertime Sadness’, which catapulted her into international superstardom. Everything about the album was compelling, and it felt surreal for a pop star like Del Rey to exist in 2012.
Del Rey felt like a true star who immediately had an aura about her which you couldn’t quite put your finger on. Lizzie Grant had found the perfect foil to unlock her talent, and while she perhaps hid behind the character too much during those earlier days, Born To Die is a timeless album that has aged gracefully.
Following Born To Die, Del Rey faced criticism from some quarters because she didn’t fit into the box they demanded from a pop star. Instead of trying to mould herself into what others wanted her to be, Del Rey stayed true to her guns and shared Ultraviolence.
The creases that exist on her debut are ironed out on Ultraviolence. Although sonically, the two records sit comfortably side by side, Del Rey produced a more coherent album that said everything she wanted to say on her debut but didn’t quite have the nous to do back then.
2. Chemtrails Over The Country Club
2021’s Chemtrails Over The Country Club tells a similar story of love and loss that we’ve become accustomed to from Del Rey. Del Rey confirms that she’s the queen of the bittersweet ballad on the album and confirmed that there’s truly nobody else around like her.
The record provides everything you’ve come to expect from one of Del Rey’s trademark efforts. It is another love story soaked in nostalgia, another signal that the singer-songwriter knows her sound and continues to gently evolve it rather than dramatically shift it. Her ability to capture vivid imagery through her lyricism is an unquantifiable asset that shines brightly on Chemtrails.
1. Norman Fucking Rockwell!
Del Rey’s magnum opus arrived in 2019 when she shared Norman Fucking Rockwell!, which cultivated the best parts of her career and brought them together to create a body of work that represents what makes her such an imitable talent.
There are trip-hop minimalist elements that dominated her earlier albums. They juxtapose beautifully with the plethora of eye catching psychedelic-pop moments that thread everything together on the record. Everything that she released before Norman Fucking Rockwell! was leading up to this crowning moment. There are no moments on the album that feel out of place as Del Rey struck gold and finally obliterated the question marks that hung above her head by a vocal minority.