REVIEW: Lana Del Rey’s “Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd” explores self-identity


Courtesy of Google Images

Del Rey’s latest album captures spirituality, family and self-acceptance in her distinctive style.

Indie rock singer Lana Del Rey released her ninth album, “Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd” on March 24. Lasting one hour and 17 minutes, Del Rey’s 16 tracks capture a theme of spirituality and fear of being forgotten, like the tunnel under Ocean Blvd. 

Del Rey kicks off her album with a heartfelt song, “The Grants.” Expressing appreciation and gratitude for her life surrounded by her family. The title of the track references her family name, Grant. The song starts with a beautiful gospel harmony, continuing with piano as Del Rey sings about cherishing moments with her family, even when she passes away.

“My pastor told me when you leave, all you take / Oh-oh, is your memory / My sister’s first-born child / I’m gonna take that too with me / My grandmother’s last smile (Ah) / I’m gonna take that too with me / It’s a beautiful life (Ah),” Del Rey sings.

“A&W” is the fourth track on the album, along with being the second single Del Rey released prior to the album’s official drop. This track drew attention with its sudden change during the middle of the song. It switches from a quiet, saddening tone about Del Rey’s experiences as a child growing up into an EDM beat with addicting lyrics.

“It’s not about havin’ someone to love me anymore / No, this is the experience of bein’ an American (expletive) / Jimmy only love me when he wanna get high / Your mom called, I told her, you’re (expletive) up big time,” Del Rey sings. 

A track that received a great deal of criticism, “Judah Smith Interlude,” has a deeper meaning being placed after “A&W” as it contains a lot of explicit lyrics. Judah Smith, a pastor with controversial opinions, rants for four minutes about God and family, though Del Rey’s laughs and commentary can be heard in the background. The end of the sermon explains the reasoning behind the entire track as Smith and Del Rey are focused on telling their story.

“I used to think my preaching was mostly about You / And you’re not gonna like this, but I’m gonna to tell you the truth / I’ve discovered my preaching is mostly about me,” Smith says.

“Grandfather please stand on the shoulders of my father while he’s deep-sea fishing” emphasizes Del Rey’s angelic voice combined with the recurring piano that is bound to capture listeners’ attention. 

“God, if you’re near me, send mе three white butterflies / Or an owl to know you’re listening, sitting while I’m drinking,” Del Rey sings.

White butterflies often symbolize prosperity, and it has been speculated that this album is all about Del Rey’s stories. She is known for her alternative style of music, but the album has shown her wide range of genres. The bridge of “Grandfather please stand on the shoulders of my father while he’s deep-sea fishing” hints at Del Rey’s struggle of self-identity. 

“I’m folk, I’m jazz, I’m blue, I’m green / Regrettably, also a white woman / But I have good intentions even if I’m one of the last ones,” Del Rey sings.

“Peppers (feat. Tommy Genesis)” was highly anticipated to be a rap song, and it does not disappoint with its groovy beat and addicting lyrics. Samples from Tommy Genesis’ song “Angelina” provide the song with a perfect chorus.

“My boyfriend tested positive for COVID, it don’t matter / We’ve been kissing, so whatever he has, I have, I can’t cry / Hands on your knees, I’m Angelina Jolie / Hands on your knees, Angelina Jolie,” Del Rey sings.

A rollercoaster of emotions, “Paris, Texas (feat. SYML)” hits fans emotionally as Del Rey sings about leaving an environment that no longer elevates her growth as a person. The instrumental starts the track gracefully like a lullaby. Her delicate vocals create a solemn mood with the lyrics bringing not only Del Rey to reflect on herself but others as well.  

“When you know, you know / That it’s time to leave / Like the summer breeze / When everyone’s star is bright / Brighter than you are / It’s time to go / It seems everything’s the same (Venice, California) / Except that you weren’t home,” Del Rey sings.

“Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd” has the potential to top the rest of Del Rey’s albums with its show-stopping tracks. There are close to zero skips on this album, giving listeners an album to dance, sob and scream to.