"The Next Best American Record" (also known as "Best American Record" and "Architecture") is a song by Lana Del Rey from her album Norman Fucking Rockwell!. It was first recorded sometime between early 2016 and November 26, 2016. On February 27, 2017, an early version of the song leaked. The song is an outtake from Lust for Life and presumably did not make the final tracklist due to it surfacing prematurely. A reworked version of the song later appeared on Norman Fucking Rockwell! as the tenth track on the album.
An early version of the song leaked under the title "Best American Record," and the title "Architecture" was suggested by copyright infringement claims that certain fans received after uploading the song to platforms such as YouTube and SoundCloud, though this alternate title is unregistered on any music publishing sites.
In an interview with Beats 1 Radio on July 12, 2017, Del Rey was asked about the song, under the title "Architecture," and she described it as the "yin to the yang" to "Yosemite," another outtake from Lust for Life. She described the relationship between the songs as "brother and sister" tracks, comparing the relationship to that of"Groupie Love" and "Summer Bummer."
On July 26, 2017 at her Amoeba Hollywood show, Del Rey responded to a fan question asking if she would ever release any of her leaked or unreleased songs. She referred to the song as "The Next Best American Record" and expressed her desire to potentially release the song along with "Yosemite" as "folk singles" as they would not "start the new record." She went on to add that she has thought about releasing a record of her 25 favorite "leaked songs," but wasn't sure if it would be a good idea. The song's title was confirmed to be "The Next Best American Record" when Del Rey revealed the tracklist for Norman Fucking Rockwell! on July 31, 2019.
After the release of the music video for "White Mustang" on September 13, 2017, many fans came to the conclusion that the footage from the video was originally intended for a "The Next Best American Record" music video. This theory is supported by the fact that many of the visuals and themes used in the "White Mustang" music video seem to be strongly connected to lyrics found in the original version of "The Next Best American Record." Throughout the music video, no lyrics are lipped by Del Rey and unsubtle transitions, such as slowed down footage, are featured, possibly suggesting that the original "The Next Best American Record" video was re-edited to accommodate the lyrics and run time of "White Mustang." Del Rey even posted a video that was taken behind the scenes of "White Mustang" where she can be heard singing lyrics of "The Next Best American Record," further supporting this theory. Del Rey has also mentioned that "White Mustang" was one of the last songs written for Lust for Life, and since the first behind the scenes clip of the "White Mustang" video were posted during February 2017, this heavily implies that the video was shot before "White Mustang" was written. For now, this is all fan speculation and has not been confirmed by Del Rey or her team.
Del Rey performed "The Next Best American Record" live for the first time during her show at Sioux Falls, North Dakota on November 6, 2019. She only sang a part of it a cappella, as part of the Norman Fucking Rockwell Tour.
- Del Rey mentions Bill, a prominent figure in her past works such as "Trash Magic," "Driving in Cars with Boys," and "Super Movie."
- Fame is a prominent theme in "God Knows I Tried" & "Noir."
- The lyric "you know what I'm talking about" also appears in "Because of You."
- Cigarettes are mentioned in "You Can Be the Boss, "1949," and "Girl That Got Away," among many other songs.
- Del Rey similarly calls her lover cool in "Brooklyn Baby," "Lust for Life," "Ridin'," "Push Me Down," "Heavy Hitter," and alludes to it in "National Anthem."
- Houses of the Holy is the title of a Led Zeppelin album
- The melody of the verses is similar to that of "Hangin' Around."
- "Topanga's hot tonight" is a phrase first used in "Heroin."
- Album version — 5:49
- Early version — 6:05
- Lana Del Rey — songwriting, vocals
- Rick Nowels — songwriting, production, acoustic guitar, piano
- Kieron Menzies — production, engineering, mixing, programming, drums, sound effects
- Dean Reid — production, engineering, mixing, programming, keyboards, electric guitar, sound effects
- Mighty Mike — additional production, programming, drums
- Trevor Yasuda — engineering
- David Levita — electric guitar
- Zac Rae — keyboards
- John Christopher Fee — assistant engineering
- Chris Rockwell — assistant engineering
- Chris Gehringer — mastering
- Published by R-Rated Music (GMR) administered by Universal Music Works
- Mastered at Sterling Sound