Lana Del Rey’s latest album takes listeners on a journey of love, family, and loneliness across a 16-song long tale that lets her fans take a peek behind the iconic Americana character.
Family is explored in its entirety as she peers into her life as both an external onlooker and as someone witnessing the memories in real-time.
“Love me until I love myself,” Del Rey exclaims in “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd,” the album’s title track. The song is laced with nostalgia alongside a cry to be remembered and a longing for depth in her relationships.
The tunnel itself does exist: the underground path in question leading to the beach was only in operation for 40 years and closed in 1967. Del Rey told Interview Magazine that while writing the album, she spent most of her time in Long Beach, California, where she read about a tunnel under the Jergins Building with mosaic ceilings, perfectly preserved yet with no way in.
Dedicating the album to this forgotten tunnel signifies what’s left beneath the surface when sealed over with pain. Del Rey’s intimacy uncovered in her latest lyrical effort is an ode to the vulnerability she so often cements over.
The haunting “A&W” marks a shift in the narrative; the fourth song in the album is simultaneously numbing and laced with emotion. The two-part track’s melody is best enjoyed with a cigarette and make-up from the night before—”A&W” standing for American whore, of course.
“Your mom called, I told her you’re f–king up big time,” Del Rey says on the chorus of the second half of the song as it becomes an anthem revolving on the premise that he ain’t it.
Two interludes are scattered in Del Rey’s ninth album. The first appears right after a dedication to the American whore and takes viewers straight to church with a four-minute sermon from Beverly Hills pastor Judah Smith.
While largely forgettable and a little too long, the most interesting takeaway comes in the last few lines: “I used to think my preaching was mostly about you… I’ve discovered that [it] is mostly about me.”
“Fingertips” delves into motherhood and self-doubt through references to an unborn offspring. Del Rey’s lack of confidence in the potential of her maternal instincts derives from a past filled with misunderstanding and longing as she asks her sister, “Caroline, what kind of mother was she to say I’d end up in institutions?”
Here, Del Ray only gives herself two seconds to cry, two seconds to breathe, and two seconds to be herself in an effort to keep moving forward. The song’s lack of structure is enticing; fans are sure to take away another piece of the Del Rey puzzle with them on every listen.
The following track marks Del Rey’s departure from home, knowing it was time for her to go in a melody resembling musical jewelry boxes. Her entrancing words melt with the nostalgic instrumental decrying a wistful lullaby-like ode to “Paris, Texas.”
The following combination of songs—“Let the light in,” “Peppers,” and “Taco Truck X VB”—are laced with teenage rebellion and are reminiscent of a chaotic, fast-paced lifestyle with a keen sense of self-awareness from Del Rey and her lasting feelings of loneliness.
Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd is a change in pace for Del Rey, its lyricism is explicit and intentionally wordy. The album tells a story more detailed than what fans have received in nine albums prior yet stays true to the melodic Americana they know and love.
The album is raw and real while being ridden with metaphors and mystical in execution. Del Rey has expressed the release of this album has felt like an unburdening, and to that we should say bravo to having lifted the weight off your shoulders so exquisitely.
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