By Erin Patterson
She’s back! Last week, Lana Del Rey released her ninth studio album titled, Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd? Quite a mouthful, I know. Fans eagerly awaited the album release after “Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd?,” “A&W,” and “The Grants” were released as singles, leaving thirteen new songs on the track list. Overall, I was nervous for the sound of this album. While I appreciate a slower and delicate sound, part of me notices the absence of the grungy guitar and percussion from her first two albums “Born to Die” and “Ultraviolence.” However, this album really surprised me and reminded me of the masterpiece that is Norman F****** Rockwell. I think this album is absolutely stunning, but one that I won’t be able to spin often as a whole, due to how somber it is. That is not to say that I dislike it, in fact, I think it is one of her best. Many songs jumped out to me, but if I were to talk about all of them, we would be here all day.
First on my favorite’s list is the title track, “Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd?” The first single released from this album, this track set the stage for the mood and tone of the album. This song grabbed me by the ears, immersing me right back into her unique storytelling. A song about the fear of being forgotten and waiting for something special, this song really resonates with me. The orchestral swells and gentle vocal cadence on this song hooked me right in, I knew I would be a sucker for this album.
After hearing “Kintsugi,” I knew my life would never be the same. Dramatic, I know, but this song is so simple, yet carries so much depth. “Kintsugi” is a type of Japanese art that entails mending broken pottery with lacquer, dusted with gold. Instead of making the breaks invisible, they work with them to make them beautiful. An album about grief, one could say that this album is “Kintsugi.” Del Rey uses a beautiful artform to explain her journey with grief. Clever, elegant and melancholic, this track is perfect in my eyes.
“Paris, Texas” took my breath away. Thanks to Jack Antonoff, the production on this song is insanely pleasing to the ear. If you want to feel like you’re in a Tim Burton film, this is the tune for you. A song about intuition and knowing when to walk away from a person or a situation, this track is much lighter compared to the previous songs on the track list. The amount of times I have listened to “Paris, Texas” in the past week is ridiculous, but this track is an easy listen and a breath of fresh air.
When Father John Misty is featured on a Lana song or vice versa, you know it’s going to be good. “Let The Light In” is a perfect example of this. The way Father John Misty and Del Rey’s voices blend together on this track is just pure magic. In addition to the vocals, the production on this song can only be described as yearning. Yearning for someone that perhaps you shouldn’t. This song is about being in an on and off relationship with someone that is emotionally unavailable. She wants to be let in, but she knows that she will never be and she can’t help but accept it. While this song is less heavy sounding than previous tracks, the subject matter of the lyrics still brings forth a melancholic feeling, and I’m not complaining.
When I heard the “Venice B****” sample in “Taco Truck x VB,” my body was littered with goosebumps. The first half of this track is smooth and groovy, and then fades into a mumbled story, leaving you wondering where she’s taking us. We then fall into a trap sounding remix of the single “Venice B****” from her album Norman F****** Rockwell. This song is so interesting to me because it is so random. It makes me question why she chose to remix “Venice B****” and why she chose to put it as the final track on this particular album. A somber album about one’s journey with grief, “Taco Truck x VB” doesn’t seem to fit in with the mold this album has created. Again, I am not complaining, I love this track so much that I can overlook the harsh change in tone.
I am so pleased with the sound and songwriting on this album. Lana Del Rey’s voice and lyrics are experts at storytelling, I will happily listen to anything she gives us. Personally, I think this album will become one of her most critically acclaimed, if it hasn’t already. How blessed I am to be alive at the same time as an artist like Lana Del Rey.
Anonymous on April 12, 2023
Article is well written, but does Lana Del Rey represent the “Other Side of Radio?”