4. Lana Del Rey, “West Coast”
I liked Lana Del Rey’s hugely hyped debut album a couple years ago, but I never, ever expected to her to not only surpass that record but come through with a single as stunning as “West Coast”. The first time I heard it was in Paris actually. I’d just gotten back to my flat in the Bastille, weary from a day of sightseeing, and got the news of the new track. I played it through my Bluetooth speaker, and I don’t know if it was my happy mood, the bottle of cheap wine, or what, but I was so transfixed. Here’s a track that masterfully combines trip hop, surf guitar, indie rock, Lee Hazlewood-style psychedelic pop, hip hop, shifting from murky and menacing to dreamy and romantic. Dan Auerbach’s production makes the song, but you can’t overstate Lizzy Grant’s singing, either. She’s wrapped up in her Del Rey persona beautifully, bringing out the bad-ass torch singer concept better than she ever did before. It’s a spectacular little suite that initially felt a little too smart and avant-garde for the pop crowd as I sat there that night in April trying to figure it out, but it turned out to be a global hit. Deservingly so, too.