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"High by the Beach" (originally titled "Get High") is a song written by Lana Del Rey, Rick Nowels, and Kieron Menzies that is featured on Del Rey's third major-label full-length album Honeymoon. It serves as the record's first single and was officially released on August 10, 2015.
Background and writing
Three weeks following the release of the title track from Honeymoon (via Del Rey's personal YouTube channel), Del Rey announced "High by the Beach" as the record's official lead single. The cover art was shot on the balcony of Del Rey's home in Malibu, California, by Del Rey's sister, Chuck Grant.
The song was one of the last tracks recorded for Honeymoon. The song's lyrical content expresses Del Rey's distaste for the paparazzi, and her need for privacy (so she can get "high by the beach").
In 2020, the song was deconstructed and discussed in an episode of Mix with the Masters by Kieron Menzies. He elaborated on his creative process and walked the viewer through his production, writing, and mixing techniques, showcasing various stems from the song.
"High by the Beach" is a trap influenced pop song running at 4 minutes 17 seconds in length. The song is composed in the key of B minor with a tempo of 132 beats per minute. It features a stripped back synth-heavy production and layered vocals. Del Rey's vocals are heavily edited at points to add to the instrumentation. The outro of the track is a spoken word verse by Del Rey.
On August 4, 2015, Del Rey announced on her Instagram that the track would be released on August 10, of the same year. The track leaked on August 7, 2015 onto YouTube and the social media platform Tumblr before the official release on the promised date of August 10.
"High by the Beach" received universal acclaim from music critics. Jason Lipshutz of Billboard deemed it "perhaps the most radio-friendly song of [Del Rey's] entire career", and praised the "gloriously whiny bounce" of its chorus and "sparkling Lana wisdom" in its lyrics.
Similarly, Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani said, "Though it's an understated single by today's pop standards, [...], it's handily Del Rey's catchiest single since 'Summertime Sadness', or at least 'National Anthem'".
Jessica Goodman of Entertainment Weekly deemed it Del Rey's catchiest single yet, praising its "surprising" hip hop elements. Writing in Time, Nolan Feeney said that "High by the Beach" was Del Rey's "poppiest song in a while" and highlighted its "skittering beat and dizzying hook".
Rolling Stone ranked "High by the Beach" at number 18 on its year-end list to find the 50 best songs of 2015.
"High by the Beach" became a success for Del Rey, managing to become her first appearance on the US Billboard Hot 100 since her 2014 single "Ultraviolence". "High by the Beach" also became her best-performing single on the chart since "West Coast". However, due to an error in calculation by Nielsen, "High by the Beach" was originally reported to have debuted on the chart at number 7 with 248,000 copies sold. The error was corrected on the issue dated August 29, 2015, and the song was revealed to have debuted and peaked at number 51 on the Hot 100, and number 10 on the Digital Songs chart with 67,000 copies. The song dropped 14 places to number 65 during in its second week, and fell to number 97 by its third week.
|Released||August 13, 2015|
|Vevo views||119+ Million views|
The music video for "High by the Beach" was shot at Del Rey's home in Malibu, California. It was not personally directed by Del Rey, but the themes occurring in the video are mainly her ideas.
The video begins with Del Rey wearing a low-cut white sundress over a black bra and a sea glass blue robe entering a beach house as a helicopter hovers above her. After entering the house, the camera follows Del Rey from behind as she walks upstairs, posing in front of a mirror and collapsing on her bed, randomly rolling on it. The camera continues to follow her downstairs where she begins flipping through the pages of a tabloid. As the camera comes in front of her, the helicopter reappears closer to the house, hovering in front of the windows. In the helicopter is a photographer, who has been taking pictures of Del Rey the entire time and she dances with her hair, robe and dress blowing in the wind created by his helicopter. Del Rey then runs outside onto the beach and pulls out a guitar case from beneath a pile of rocks. When she returns to the balcony, she opens the case and removes a large firearm from it. She turns toward the photographer and fires the gun at the helicopter, destroying it, which resulted in killing him. In the aftermath of the explosion, flaming pieces of tabloid articles flutter through the air as Del Rey lowers the gun and reenters the beach house.
Photoshoot by Chuck Grant (April, 2015)
Behind the scenes
|Pitchfork||Best 20 Music Videos of 2015||10|
|Stereogum||The 50 Best Music Videos of 2015||12|
|Teen Vogue||The 11 Best Music Videos of 2015||N/A|
|Popcrush||Best Music Videos of 2015||N/A|
|Time||Top 10 Pop Music Videos of 2015||10|
|Cosmopolitan||Best Plot Twist: High by the Beach||N/A|
- "Lights, camera, acción" is lifted from "Put Me in a Movie". The following lyric "I'll do it on my own" is a contrast to the lyric "you know I can’t make it on my own" which follows in the earlier song, making out that she's grown, changed and stronger than she was before.
- Direct reference to "High".
- Reference to "Peace" which also appears in "Yes to Heaven".
- Getting high is a common subject in songs such as "Florida Kilos", "Hollywood", "Carmen", among others.
- "I never bought into your bullshit" is similar to "do you really think I’ll buy your bullshit?" from "Break My Fall".
- "Loving you is hard" is similar to the line "Loving you was really hard" from "Ultraviolence".
- "Bye-bye" is sung in several previous songs such as "Summer of Sam" or "Delicious", but the full lyric "baby, baby, bye-bye" seems most related to "Starry Eyed", wherein she sings "bye, bye, baby", and "Criminals Run the World", wherein she sings "bye, bye, baby, bye, bye".
- "We're sinking into the sand" is similar to the lyric "I'm in love, lying in the sand" from "Kill Kill".
- Del Rey visiting the beach and needing privacy from paparazzi is also a significant theme in "13 Beaches", while trying to escape from them is also a topic in "Bartender".
- Money is also mentioned in "Money Power Glory" and "Money Hunny", among some other songs.
- Fire is also mentioned in "West Coast", "Freak" and "Off to the Races".
- Album version — 4:17
- Instrumental version — 4:25
- Clean version — 4:23
- Radio edit — 4:21
- Music video version — 4:58
High by the Beach CD by Universal Music in Netherlands
High by the Beach CD by Universal Music in Germany
High by the Beach CD by Universal Music in Poland
High by the Beach CD by Polydor in UK
High by the Beach CD by Vertigo/Capitol in Germany
High by the Beach CD by Polydor in France
High by the Beach CD by Universal Music Colombia in Colombia
High by the Beach CD by Universal Music in Japan
- Lana Del Rey — vocals, songwriting, production
- Rick Nowels — songwriting, production, organ, synth, keyboards
- Kieron Menzies — songwriting, production, recording, mixing, drums, bass, samples, synth, effects
- Patrick Warren — orchestrations, harmonium, piano
- Leon Michels — synth pad, Juno lead, flute
- Adam Ayan — mastering
- Published by Cosmic Lime (ASCAP) / R-Rated Music, administered by EMI April Music Inc. (Global Music Rights) / Sony / ATV Music Publishing
- Recorded and mixed at The Green Building, Santa Monica, United States
- Mastered at Gateway Mastering, Portland, Maine
|Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)||56|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)||46|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)||16|
|Canada (Canadian Hot 100)||39|
|Germany (Official German Charts)||75|
|Hungary (Single Top 40)||23|
|Israel International Songs (Media Forest)||4|
|Russian Top Radio Hits (Tophit)||130|
|Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)||58|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||60|
|US Billboard Hot 100||51|
|Belgium||August 10, 2015||Digital download||Universal Music|||
|Germany||Vertigo • Capitol|||
- "Pitchfork". http://pitchfork.com/features/staff-lists/9763-the-best-music-videos-of-2015/2/.
- "Stereogum". http://www.stereogum.com/1847314/the-50-best-music-videos-of-2015/franchises/2015-in-review/.
- "Teen Vogue". http://www.teenvogue.com/story/best-music-videos-2015.
- "Popcrush". http://popcrush.com/best-music-videos-2015/.
- "TIME". http://time.com/4139171/top-10-pop-music-videos/.
- "Cosmopolitan". http://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/music/a49753/best-music-videos-2015/.
- "High By The Beach (Explicit) (2015)" (in French). 7digital (FR-BE). http://fr-be.7digital.com/artist/lana-del-rey/release/high-by-the-beach-explicit/. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
- "High By the Beach – Single by Lana Del Rey". iTunes Store (CA). Archived from the original on August 12, 2015. http://web.archive.org/web/20150812080858/https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/high-by-the-beach-single/id1027992887.
- "High By The Beach (Explicit): Lana Del Rey" (in French). Amazon.fr. http://www.amazon.fr/High-Beach-Explicit-Lana-Del/dp/B013HAC430. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
- "High By The Beach (Explicit): Lana Del Rey" (in German). Amazon.de. http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B013I9N3BW. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
- "High By The Beach (Explicit): Lana Del Rey" (in Italian). Amazon.it. http://www.amazon.it/gp/product/B013H46TVY. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
- "High By The Beach (Explicit) (2015)" (in Luxembourgish). 7digital (LU). https://lu.7digital.com/artist/lana-del-rey/release/high-by-the-beach-explicit/. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
- "High By The Beach (Explicit) (2015)" (in Portuguese). 7digital (PT). https://pt.7digital.com/artist/lana-del-rey/release/high-by-the-beach-explicit/. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
- "High By The Beach (Explicit): Lana Del Rey" (in Spanish). Amazon.es. http://www.amazon.es/High-Beach-Explicit-Lana-Del/dp/B013H9KJK6. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
- "High By The Beach (Explicit) (2015)" (in German). 7digital (DE-CH). https://de-ch.7digital.com/artist/lana-del-rey/release/high-by-the-beach-explicit-4669593/. Retrieved August 12, 2015.