June 3, 2023
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Life & Culture

Review: Lana Del Rey embraces her distinctive sound

Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd


Lana Del Rey has always been known for her dreamy, melancholy sound with cinematic influences that make listeners want to take a ride on a nice summer day with the top down — perhaps while crying their eyes out on the way. Her latest album, “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd,” is no different. Yet, it may be her most vulnerable and honest album to date. In this record, Del Rey pulls back the curtain and reveals very intimate details about her life within her introspective lyrics and beautiful melodies.

The album contains themes concerning family, death, love and religion. She references her family members, sometimes even by name, like in the tracks “The Grants,” “Kintsugi” and “Fingertips.”

Fingertips” is by far her most revealing, and perhaps devastating, song out of her entire discography. Just over five minutes long, Del Rey sings about her past like she is telling listeners a story. The heavy track explores the people she has lost, her trauma as a young girl and even her thoughts of suicide. She repeats the line, “two seconds to cry,” implying that she has felt obligated to cover up her sadness, especially for fame. By the end of the song, the listener realizes that she has been hiding these dark thoughts and feelings for her fans, “I give myself two seconds to breathe, then go back to being a serene queen.”

Elements of religion linger prominently throughout the tracks, including the “Judah Smith Interlude” where listeners hear a recording of one of the controversial pastors, Smith, over a beautiful piano instrumental. It also comes out most notably in the song “Grandfather please stand on the shoulders of my father while he’s deep-sea fishing,” where she repeatedly asks God to send her a sign with three white butterflies.

Most of the album sounds very dark and sad, but throughout there is a repeated motif of “letting the light in,” meaning hope is near. In “Kintsugi,” she references the Japanese process of repairing broken ceramic with gold, relating this to her broken heart. She expresses that it must break for the light to shine in, a more optimistic look on grief. On the track, “Let The Light In (feat. Father John Misty),” Del Rey continues to play with hopefulness, yet still over a melancholic melody.

Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd” is a tunnel in itself. The listeners begin by entering the tunnel and the darkness with tracks like “Sweet,” “Candy Necklace (feat. Jon Batiste)” and “A&W” that have fun elements while still containing an underlying feeling of sadness. After the second interlude, the audience enters the darkest part of the tunnel and of Del Rey’s mind. Then, by “Let The Light In,” the album’s passengers begin to exit and see the light, feeling her hope for the future.

The last two tracks of the album, “Peppers (feat. Tommy Genesis)” and “Taco Truck x VB,” feel the happiest, leaving listeners content after an emotional rollercoaster. “Taco Truck x VB” also contains a remixed version of her song “Venice B*itch” from her album “Norman F*cking Rockwell,” (2019) which was previously deemed her magnum opus. There are other influences from this album throughout the other songs, making fans claim that they could be “sister” albums.

In addition to the brilliant songwriting, Lana Del Rey sounds beautiful and haunting throughout the one hour and 17 minutes of the record. She experiments with new sounds but does not stray from the distinctive, lush and emotional sound that she is known for. In fact, she may embrace it on this album more than ever before.