Lana Del Rey unveils a lethargic new stoner anthem, ‘High by the Beach’


The pop queen of lethargy, Lana Del Rey, sounds like she vaped a gram of Girl Scout Cookies before her vocal take for “High by the Beach.” Taken from her forthcoming album “Honeymoon,” the artist glides her way through the song as a gentle organ hums behind her and a sibilant high-hat sizzles up top. Yearning for escape through smoke and sun, Del Rey can’t get there fast enough, even if she’s hardly panicked about it.

Except that unlike the Beach Boys’ odes to chasing fun, waves and California girls, on “High by the Beach” Del Rey focuses on running away, on abandoning her man for the ocean breeze. “Now you’re just another one of my problems because you got out of hand,” she sings. “We won’t survive, we’re sinking in the sand.” The hazy truth arrives with the chorus: “All I wanna do is get high by the beach.”

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Del Ray is a native East Coaster, but here she exudes West Coast cool and unless she’s dreaming of smoking on Rockaway Beach, the spark that ignited “High by the Beach” sounds Southern California-born. Which is to say, it’d work well on a playlist alongside downtempo tracks by kindred stoners Cypress Hill, Chet Baker, Snoop and Ty Dolla Sign. Toss in some Dusty Springfield, ASAP Rocky and Angelo Badalamenti, arrange your beach blanket and recline.

The artist, who rose to fame through the success of her major label debut, “Born to Die” and successfully transcended the hype through an assured follow-up, “Ultraviolence,” described to Beats 1 radio’s Zane Lowe process of crafting “High by the Beach” and its whispery beat. “It’s a little like a hip-hop record. It started with the chorus. I was driving by the beach a lot,” she said. “Even with the harmonies, it almost sounded monotone. But with the beat, it has this trap [music] influence.”

The new track contains cussing, so if you want to hear it, it’ll cost you an extra click here.

Follow Randall Roberts on Twitter: @liledit