Lana Del Rey has A NEW ALBUM coming for us on August 30! I decided to do a thorough investigation into Lana Del Rey’s top 25 darkest & saddest songs. Keep in mind that this has nothing to do with my personal favorites — that would be really tricky, but I may do it another time. This is a bit more fact than opinion. We are looking for 50% dark and 50% sad. LDR specializes in darkness/sadness because she is not afraid of the controversy/public shaming that comes with romanticizing masochistic tendencies — in fact she is “the starving artist” who recognizes that great art comes from great pain. (Even her “happiest” songs have a melancholy tone.) Let’s begin…
25. In My Feelings (Album: Lust for Life)
“If you were me, and I was you, I’d get out of my way.”
Dark, but a lot more ‘anger’ than ‘sadness.’
24. 24 (Album: Honeymoon)
“There’s only 24 hours in a day, and half you lay awake with thoughts of murder and carnage.”
This is very dark, but just not sad enough. Very sassy, actually.
23. Blue Jeans (Album: Born to Die)
“And I know that love is mean and love hurts.”
Kind of sad and kind of dark. Man would rather go out and make money than be in love.
22. Without You (Born to Die)
“I can be your China doll if you’d like to see me fall.”
Blessed with fame and fortune — but that means absolutely nothing without love.
21. Million Dollar Man (Born to Die)
“You said I was the most exotic flower.”
This is just hopeless heartbreak.
20. Ride (Album: Paradise EP)
“Been trying hard not to get into trouble but I’ve got a war in my mind.”
Feeling out of control, needing to rely on others just to survive.
19. This Is What Makes Us Girls (Born to Die)
“She starts to cry, mascara running down her little Bambi eyes, ‘Lana, how I hate those guys.'”
Very interesting song, probably only relatable if you are a girl. It’s a spotlight on female friendship: how someone can mean so much to you and you can have so much fun together, until boy-drama gets in the way and rips it apart. It’s sad because ladies need to stick together and support one another, but jealousy can ruin it all. The bond is eternal and never forgotten about, though.
18. Pretty When You Cry (Album: Ultraviolence)
“I’m stronger than all my men… except for you.”
This is the best song to cry to, if you want to feel glamorous through all the pain. It’s almost kind of funny.
17. The Blackest Day (Honeymoon)
“Got my blue nail polish on, it’s my favoritecolor and my favorite tone of song.”
Quite sad, quite dark.
16. Is This Happiness? (Ultraviolence)
“Taking violet pills, writing all my songs about my cheap thrills.”
15. Tomorrow Never Came (Lust For Life)
“I waited for you.”
Having so much hope, and then getting let down.
14. Terrence Loves You (Honeymoon)
“But I still got jazz when I’ve got those blues.”
Really, really missing someone who you lost. And feeling absolutely empty because of it. But you can get through it with sad music and substance abuse.
13. 13 Beaches (Lust For Life)
“I’d be lying if I kept hiding the fact that I can’t deal, and that I’ve been dying for something real.”
I think it’s about being fed up with the world and trying to find some peace and quiet, so you can sit back and fully feel your sadness.
12. Body Electric (Paradise)
“Elvis is my daddy, Marilyn’s my mother, Jesus is my bestest friend.”
Loneliness… and cleverness. Inspired by Walt Whitman’s “I Sing the Body Electric” poem.
11. Shades of Cool (Ultraviolence)
“My baby lives in shades of cool: blue heart, and hands, and aptitude.“
10. Born To Die (Born To Die)
“The road is long, we carry on, try to have fun in the meantime.”
Life is short. We are missing out by rushing to our deathbeds.
9. Carmen (Born To Die)
“Darling, darling doesn’t have a problem lying to herself cause her liquor’s top shelf.”
Dangerously sick and depressed alcoholic woman who has the world convinced she is happy, healthy, and having fun.
8. Sad Girl (Ultraviolence)
“He’s got the fire and he walks with fame, he’s got the fire and he talks with fame.”
The verses are so confident on the surface and then the chorus is so vulnerable and raw. She makes it seem like she is the one in control, but she is powerless.
7. Summertime Sadness (Born To Die)
“Think I’ll miss you forever, like the stars miss the sun in the morning sky.”
Impossible to listen to this song without crying! It’s simply about missing someone and waiting for them to come back even though they never will. The way the song is composed, the whole melody and such, paints a dark energy over heartbreaking lyrics.
4. Ultraviolence (Ultraviolence)
“Cause I’m your jazz singer, and you’re my cult leader.”
Darker than ultraviolet radiation.
3. Heroin (Lust For Life)
“But the facts of life can sometimes make it hard to dream.”
It gets darker and sadder the more you listen to it.
2. Black Beauty (Ultraviolence)
“Oh, what can I do? Life is beautiful, but you don’t have a clue.“
When you fall in love with someone who is depressed and you get sucked into their black hole of sadness. Unable to see the beauty of life — that’s sad. Painting the house black — that’s dark.
1. Dark Paradise (Born To Die)
“Your soul is haunting me and telling me that everything is fine, but I wish I was dead.”
This song is the ultimate mix of darkness and sadness. If there was an official Venn diagram for darkness vs. sadness, this song would be smack in the middle. Dark Paradise is when death seems more tranquil than life.
A deep tunnel of darkness… she walks down, treading lightly. She does not need a candle to light the way, for she is an angel glowing brightly, yet she is a fallen angel. She has fallen down too many deep tunnels of darkness… down the rabbit holes… she is the angel of death. And death is not the end nor the final destination. It is the transformation, the change of perception, energy that is being altered.
And in this dark tunnel, holds emotional gratification over everything that is dark and destructive. There the monster awaits, pouring waves of guilt, shame, and humiliation over her body. She is held captive like a prisoner. The flames of fury spread like a wildfire. People pass by her and watch with judgement, disgusted. She is spat on with shame.
But what is this look on her face? Is it… could it be… a smile? A type of joy that goes beyond simple happiness? Why is she encouraging the monster? The more she pulls, the tighter the chains… but the keys are right there in her pocket. The exit sign is glowing and calling her to break free.
And when limits have been reached, the angel floats above and effortlessly removes herself from the suffering. Breathing fresh air, spreading her wings, and flying away. She returns to paradise seemingly untouched. This is it: Heaven, land of perfection. Everything here is beautiful, flawless, and godly. Pure lightness — not a speck of darkness in sight.
It is only a matter of time before the angel of death finds herself fallen, once again, down another rabbit hole. She does not want to be perfect, or beautiful, or flawless like the other angels. She wants a taste of real life, the type of life that others have always protected her from. They don’t want to see this poor angel hurting. But they don’t understand. Look at the trees and the mountains — crooked and bumpy, yet so breathtaking. Now look at man’s creations — symmetrical and quintessential — so lackluster!
Demons will take her away, and if one is strong enough, it will take her down deeper than any other tunnel she has fallen into before. And it will grow frustrated with her amusement, her satisfaction, and her unshakable faith. She will let it test her, let it question her beliefs, let it break her down. She will absorb its energy like a sponge. Yet the thing is, angels always remain pure in their hearts, even the dark ones. Maybe that’s their curse. No matter how hard someone may try to hurt them, they cannot shake it through their stubborn hearts that everything is love.
The angel of death finds beauty in the ugliness. Does she enjoy abuse? Does she like being controlled and disciplined? Does she seek out regret and rejection on purpose? Perhaps it is something that she subconsciously craves? Is this the key to her own personal heaven? Nonsense… that would be crazy… right?
Maybe the true craziness stems from society’s obsession with perfection, chasing after a fairytale, finding your happily-ever-after, posting your picket fence on a freshly mowed lawn while always feeling like the grass is greener on the other side. Most people are blindly running away from their own demons instead of courageously conquering them.
The angel of death visits the world of light from time to time, but mainly remains in her darkness. She lives with fear but not in fear. She feels pain so much deeper than anyone else, and she welcomes it too. But she also feels joy deeper than anyone else. Not many people can handle her, unless they are capable of weathering storms that can bring both curses and blessings upon their lives. I would not blame anyone who chooses to run away from her. If you can withstand her power, you are brave.