10. Ultraviolence- Lana Del Rey (2014)

Lana Del Rey burst onto the scene in 2012 with Born to Die, her baroque pop and trip-hop influenced debut record. Songs like the title track, “Video Games” and “Summertime Sadness” were inescapable at the time. She was well on her way to become one of pop’s newest superstars and even contributed a hit single to the soundtrack for Leonardo DiCaprio and Baz Luhrmann The Great Gatsby. She followed all of this up by hiring Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys to produce her second record, the provocatively titled Ultraviolence. She kept kept exploring the sounds of Born to Die, but pushed them to be far darker and less pop friendly this time around. Songs like “Brooklyn Baby”, “West Coast”, and the title track are big departures from the club remix of “Summertime Sadness” that the world couldn’t get out of their heads the previous two years. It would have been easy to lean into her success from Born to Die by chasing the pop sound from her hit singles, but by making an intentionally divisive record Del Rey produced a terrific album that pushed her and is an enduring example of what has given her longevity as one of the best artists of the decade. I also thought about putting 2019’s Norman Fucking Rockwell on here too, as I think it’s an utter masterpiece, but I wanted to do my best to avoid recency bias since I’ve spent more time with Ultraviolence.

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