Del Rey first teased the lyrics of the song on March 5, 2018. She posted a snippet of the song on March 29, 2018 to her Instagram profile. After a while, she deleted the snippet from her Instagram profile. On September 11, 2018, the snippet was unarchived and was again available on her profile.
On October 6, 2018, Del Rey posted another snippet of the song on her Instagram profile, but was later archived and subsequently restored again. Del Rey shared an extended snippet on January 11, 2019 on Instagram.
The song was made discoverable on Shazam on July 30, 2019.
The song title is a direct reference to the famous quote "Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp", falsely attributed to both Nathaniel Hawtorne and Henry David Thoreau.
On October 2, 2019, Del Rey performed an a cappella version of the song per audience request during the Norman Fucking Rockwell Tour at WaMu Theater, in Seattle, Washington.
|Released||December 20, 2019|
|Producer||Chuck Grant, Lana Del Rey|
|Location||Los Angeles, California|
|Vevo views||14+ Million views|
Background and description
On January 11, 2019, Del Rey posted a snippet of the songs official music video on Instagram. It stars backup dancers Ashley Rodriguez and Alexandria Kaye, and was shot and directed by Chuck Grant. Del Rey revealed the track would form part of a 3-part music video with "Norman Fucking Rockwell" and "Bartender" on September 3, 2019. It was originally scheduled to be released in October 2019.
- Getting high is a theme of many songs, such as "Born to Die", "High by the Beach" and "Us Against the World".
- Direct reference to "Serial Killer".
- The canyon is also mentioned in "Bartender".
- Del Rey's truck is also mentioned in "Bartender", and "Violets for Roses".
- Being crazy is referred to in many of Del Rey's songs such as "Cruel World" and "Ride".
- Being hurt is also a theme relevant in many songs such as "Ultraviolence" and "Body Electric".
- Hollywood and Vine is also mentioned in "Burning Desire" and "Every Man Gets His Wish".
- The phrase "I'll pick you up" also appears in "California".
- Lightning is also mentioned in "Mariners Apartment Complex", "Carmen", "Blue Banisters" and "White Mustang".
- Lullabies are also mentioned in "Big Eyes".
- A bar is also mentioned in "Video Games", "Groupie Love", "Bartender", "For K (Part 2)", "Oh Say Can You See" and "The Greatest".
- Album version — 4:32
- Instrumental version — 4:31
- Lana Del Rey — songwriting, production, vocals
- Jack Antonoff — songwriting, production, engineering, mixing, programming, guitar, keyboards, piano
- Rick Nowels — songwriting, additional production
- Laura Sisk — engineering, mixing
- Jonathan Sher — assistant engineering
- Chris Gehringer — mastering
- Will Quinnell — assistant mastering
- Mastered at Sterling Sound
- Recorded at Conway Recording Studios, Los Angeles, United States / Rough Customer Studio, New York, United States
- Mixed at Rough Customer Studio, New York, United States
- Lana Del Rey (@lanadelrey). Lana Del Rey teases new song "Happiness Is a Butterfly". (March 29, 2018). Instagram. [Accessed: March 30, 2018]
- Lana Del Rey (@lanadelrey). "Filmingwmysweethearts 💕". (October 6, 2018). Instagram. [Accessed: January 8, 2019]
- Lana Del Rey (@lanadelrey). "Norman Fucking Rockwell @yourgirlchuck @follow_ashley @missalexkaye". (January 11, 2019). Instagram. [Access date: January 11, 2019]