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Top 10 Best Lana Del Rey Music Videos

VO: Lisa Yang
Lana Del Rey is known for her sultry, cinematic sound and she’s come a long way from her first first YouTube uploaded video of Video Games. We’ve counted down the Top 10 Best Lana Del Rey Music Videos including Summertime Sadness, Carmen. High by the Beach, Love, Young and Beautiful, National Anthem, Ride and Blue Jeans.

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Top 10 Best Lana Del Rey Music Videos

The modern queen of the vintage music video. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Best Lana Del Rey Music Videos.

For this list, we’re focusing on the most talked-about and noteworthy Lana Del Rey music video productions.

#10: “Summertime Sadness” (2012)

Heavily filtered and loaded with retro vibes, this Lana video captures all the gloom of failed romance. With the Christ-like poses and perpetual self-loathing, “Summertime Sadness” is indeed a bit melodramatic, yet Lana and co-star Jamie King sell each passing scene with their striking, hypnotic gazes. Given the dark subtext, one may find “Summertime Sadness” to be somewhat creepy, yet directors Kyle Newman and Spencer Susser maintain a balance of gothic beauty and contrived horror. Most of all, it feels visually organic and fully locked into the topic at hand.

#9: “Carmen” (2012)

Directed by Lana Del Rey, this video blends vintage and cryptic visuals to produce a dream-like effect. With the lyrics detailing the bleak side of fame, the images conjure up a sense of nostalgia and innocence, insinuating that a “dream life” is anything but. All in all, there’s a mixture of cinematic inspirations, ranging from film noir to New Wave aesthetics, and when Lana affords herself more screen time towards the end, it’s clear that she’s chronicling her own experience in the spotlight. It’s a mash-up of visual inspirations, and the final edit brings viewers into the artist’s mind, as Lana navigates a surrealistic world.

#8: “High by the Beach” (2015)

Despite the vibrant, exterior color palette, this video ultimately conveys what it feels like to be trapped inside. Directed by Jake Nava, “High by the Beach” features slick cinematography, as the camera follows a disturbed Lana while she plans revenge on the helicopter-boarded paparazzi. While the violence may feel over-the-top, it’s a blatant metaphor for celebrities that get fed up with constant surveillance. In this case, Lana literally and figuratively blows up the pappazzari, demonstrating that – yes - even pop stars have a right to privacy. It’s a provocative music video, and a timely commentary on modern media.

#7: “Blue Jeans” (2012)

For this Lana video, director Yoann Lemoine goes old school Hollywood, complete with monochromatic noir imagery. Whereas some of Lana’s videos include various references to historical pop culture, “Blue Jeans” has a focused narrative and look, as strange as it may be. By contrasting slow-mo shots with blurred close-ups, “Blue Jeans” communicates the subject’s troubled psyche. While the conclusion may seem to romanticize death, it ultimately depicts two lovers drowning in their own love, completely detached from reality but still entirely devoted to each other.

#6: “Video Games” (2011)

Featuring a glammed up and pouty Lana, this video highlights youthful ignorance and fun. Directed by the artist herself, “Video Games” combines pop culture clips with insert shots to create a nostalgic mood. Like many of Lana’s videos, there’s a formulaic structure in place, but through her own direction, she manages to balance her retro love with a timely message. With a trippy visual aesthetic, “Video Games” captures that feeling of being young, wild and free. Furthermore, it also showcases Lana’s commercial appeal and sultry, detached persona.

#5: “Love” (2017)

In support of her fifth studio album, Lana teamed up with director Rich Lee for a transcendent take on romance. With Lana initially filmed in black and white, the subsequent visuals contrast her old-timey look. But whereas many videos have Lana wallowing in the dark, “Love” illuminates her, just as the video’s subjects also see the light and experience a higher, enlightening truth. With this music video, Lana celebrates romantic bliss, and her positive outlook demonstrates that love has no boundaries. Given her dream-pop sound, this expansive music video is the perfect complement to the song.

#4: “Young and Beautiful” (2013)

By no means a peppy production, this Lana music video succeeds with grandiosity and an old school vibe. As the lead single for Baz Luhrmann’s F. Scott Fitzgerald adaptation of “The Great Gatsby”, the music video features Lana’s usual throwback style, all the while accentuating the theme of loneliness. Just as close-up visuals showcase Lana’s natural beauty and tattooed tears, the wide shots symbolize just how dark and lonely life can be, even in a room full of people. For a polarizing artist such as Lana Del Rey, “Young and Beautiful” speaks volumes about her own relationship with pop culture pundits.

#3: “Born to Die” (2011)

Directed by Yoann Lemoine, here’s a visually expansive video that is a departure from the more stripped-down Lana productions. The video’s narrative is somewhat paradoxical, too, as Del Rey both sits atop a throne and road trips with her beau. Unsurprisingly, there’s a dark subtext to the video, as Lana’s character falls victim to romance, perhaps destined for another life. “Born to Die” is significant for its scope, as Lana trades pop culture clips for a more cinematic take on the American Dream, demonstrating what Lana and her team can do with a larger budget.

#2: “National Anthem” (2012)

For this alternative take on American history, Lana channels a couple of American icons. Once again, she takes a filtered approach with her visuals, as director Anthony Mandler blurs the line between idealism and fatalism. As a result, “National Anthem” examines how personal moments between celebrities can easily be overshadowed by public moments caught by cameras. With the casting of ASAP Rocky as John F. Kennedy, “National Anthem” is certainly a progressive video, as the clip concludes with an artistic interpretation of the president’s assassination.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“West Coast” (2014)

“Shades of Cool” (2014)

“Music to Watch Boys To” (2015)

#1: “Ride” (2012)

For this Anthony Mandler-directed short film, Lana focuses on the independent spirit that drives so many artists. In fact, Lana’s character is named “Artist,” and she’s a freewheelin’ kind of gal that doesn’t play by anyone’s rules. More than just your typical music video, “Ride” is truly cinematic across the board, from the sound design to the cinematography to the controversial storyline. It features all the characteristics that propelled Lana to fame, as she embodies a woman that craves love like anybody else, but still needs her independence and freedom to be her best self.

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