Lana Del Rey exudes growth with “Did You Know There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd”

Lana Del Rey opens up about deeply personal experiences with the relase of Did You Know Theres a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd.

Interscope Records Target Exclusive

Lana Del Rey opens up about deeply personal experiences with the relase of “Did You Know There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd.”

by Alexa Waser, Editor In Cheif

Singer-Songwriter Lana Del Rey sent fans into a spiral when she announced the release of her ninth studio album, “Did You Know There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd.” 

The highly-anticipated record was announced with the release of the lead single and title track on December 7, 2022. The album was originally set to be released on March 10 but was later moved to March  24, furthering the anticipation. 

The release of the album sparked Del Rey’s return to the stage, as she had not performed since 2019. Del Rey will be headlining Lollapalooza and Glastonbury festivals, among other up-coming music festivals.

Del Rey recently joined Jack Antonoff, who produced the majority of the album, on the Coachella stage to perform “Margaret” off her new record. 

Del Rey is known for her music about romance and messy relationships. On  this album, there are a few songs tackling romance, such as “Let The Light In” and “Margaret.” However, themes such as family, self reflection, discovery and faith are much more prominent in this album, as they would be in the 37-year-old’s life.

This album really shows how far Del Rey has come as an artist and as a person. When comparing sound, lyrics and themes in this album compared to past works, it is very clear that Del Rey has grown up.

When many artists take a different direction in their music, it is often met with a lot of criticism and fans begging for similar music to previous projects.

Del Rey has had a career lasting over a decade, and her music is bound to change along with her life. Certain themes become more important to people as they grow, and it is really beautiful to see that difference in life experience portrayed through music. 

Dedicated Del Rey fans have generally really enjoyed the album and supported Lana through every stylistic change. Other casual listeners have expressed that though they enjoy the album, it does not live up to past projects. 

The album opens with “The Grants,” the most recent single as an ode to Del Rey’s family (since Del Rey’s given name is Elizabeth Grant). This theme continues throughout the album. Lana frequently references her family throughout the album, while reflecting on her past and philosophically contemplating the future.

“Kintsugi” is such a standout track for those reasons. Del Rey talks about memories with her family and how she witnessed a family member’s death. Kintsugi is the Japanese art of filling cracks in pottery with gold to make them even more beautiful. In this song, she talks about how this painful experience “cracked her open,” but coming back from that experience helped her grow as a person, therefore “letting the light in,” referencing Leonard Cohen’s “Anthems.” 

“Kintsugi” and “Fingertips” have very similar qualities to them. In “Fingertips,” Lana takes the listener through a complete story. She lays out each character including her family members, quotes them, and includes her inner thought process throughout. The song is an explicit walkthrough of some of Lana’s most painful experiences, sung over cinematic strings, making the song feel very full.

The track contains no chorus, as it takes the listener on a ride through a story. If there  were one “must listen to” track from the album for people who are unfamiliar with Del Rey’s work, it would be “Fingertips”. It is incredibly beautiful, sad and does an amazing job showcasing Del Rey’s picture-painting lyricism. 

Another stand out track that keeps the family and faith theme alive is “Grandfather please stand on the shoulders of my father while he’s deep sea fishing.” This long title is done in true Del Rey fashion, capturing the attention of fans even before its release. 

Del Rey opens and closes the track by singing “three white butterflies to know you’re near,” which she repeats through the song, asking God to send them to her. The white butterflies signify peace, trust, and wisdom. Del Rey asks God to send them to her and “impart on his wisdom.” She wants this sign of peace from God to know her late Grandfather is safe and asks that her grandfather watch over her father, her family.   

Some of the deeply lyrical tracks make it difficult for casual listening, which fans may find a problem with. However, having a couple tracks that are so hard hitting that you have to really sit down with it is a great display of Del Rey’s writing chops.

The album keeps a steady concept, and only really switches up the sound drastically in a couple tracks, making it very cohesive.

The few upbeat tracks make for a good change of pace, but the majority are mellow tracks which are a great set up for great storytelling and cheeky lines.

“Pass me my vape; I’m feeling sick; I need to take a puff,” is a line only Del Rey could get away with. Her audience laughs at the combination of that line with the serious, breathy delivery and posts to the song claiming that Del Rey is “so real” for that. 

By most accounts, the album would not be considered Del Rey’s magnum opus, yet it is the most personal and special of her releases. After the surprise and unpromoted release of 2021’s “Blue Banisters,” Del Rey fans are just happy to see her actively engaging with her work and audience. 

Del Rey really seems to have done a lot of growing and healing since past releases, making each change to her sound more exciting. 

The overall sound on “Ocean Blvd” was not mind blowing. Though very well done, this record was just one in which crazy production was not at the forefront. However, there are definitely moments in which the production shines.

The deeper message and personability Del Rey displays on this album makes for pleasing, thought provoking and gorgeous tracks regardless of sound; This is what really makes this record special. 

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