The long-awaited 9th album from Lana Del Rey, ‘Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd’, was released now a week ago and since then I have been listening to it on repeat to give an honest review. The soft melody and the intensity of the power of her voice is very compelling and made this an easy task. Lana is on the way to receive yet another #1 album alongside her other five.
Lana has always explored life and death in her songs and does so in this album in a more personal way. ‘Ocean Blvd’ is a very personal album and her poetic way with lyrics made it very subtle of how heavily emotional they were. The album is filled with collaborations with her ex-boyfriend as well as many other people. The songs are about people from her life, including her family, as she reflects on her past and healing throughout the years, as well as her close-knit relationship with God.
The album starts off with ‘The Grants’ which beings with a voice saying “One, two, ready”. This makes the song very raw and reminded me of a chorus in a church. Lana’s soft voice starts off with an angelic chorus in the background as she sings about dying and promising to take her memories of people, including her niece and grandmother’s last smile, to heaven when she passes.
The second song, ‘Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd’, keeps similar tones and style to ‘The Grants’ as she sings about being forgotten and questioning when that will happen to her and asking to not forget her.
The soft singing of hers in ‘Sweet’, alongside the organ and cello, makes the listener feel at ease and almost go into a sense of daydreaming. She talks about love and the ideas of wanting to have the conventional marriage and kids with whoever she sings about. It’s a song dedicated to someone she loves, wishing to settle down with them.
‘A&W’ is a 7-minute track, split into two parts. The first half starts off with slow rhythmic piano and electric guitar, where she sings about the media and how they view her appearance, being the other woman as well as her being raped and not believing the media would believe her due to her past. The second half has more of an upbeat rhythm with louder drums and bells and the tempo becomes faster as she sings about drugs and the “experience of being an American Whore”.
Next, an Interlude plays, splitting the album up. I wasn’t a huge fan of these interludes and often skipped them ‘Judah Smith Interlude’ sounds like a preacher with chatter and giggling in the background. Its religious tones contrasts the song before, ‘A&W’. This dynamic fit the album but was surprising when I first listened to it.
‘Candy Necklace (ft. Jon Batiste)’ is mainly led by the piano in the background by Jon Batiste. Lana shows off her vocal range as she sings about her past failed relationship, with the title itself suggesting that the relationship was childish and not as serious as she wished it to be.
‘Kintsugi’ works as a metaphor. Kintsugi is Japanese art where broken pottery is put back together and the cracks painted in gold. Lana holds longer notes and hikes her voice up on some notes, with her sad life experiences making her like a cracked pot while the ‘light getting in’ is the golden paint and also growth and healing. This song is truly relatable to personal growth and going through tough times, dealing with the death of loved ones and healing from them.
To me ‘Fingertips’ felt like the most personal song about Lana’s life as she mentions her broken relationship with her mother, her depression and her attempt to end her life when she was younger through a metaphor of ‘swimming with the fishes’. Her melodies echo the sadness of her voice and it brings the tears as the aching lyrics pour out in such a motherly soft tone.
The whimsical style to ‘Paris, Texas (ft, SYML)’ holds almost a mellow childlike tone to the song as she sings about having to move around and indulges in escapism of having to go when you know you do. The instrumental taps on the right points of your brain as the higher notes of the piano match her hushed voice.
On ‘Grandfather please stand on the shoulders of my father while he’s deep-sea fishing (ft. RIOPY)’, Lana references white butterflies, which tend to be symbolic towards hope, as she sings about the wrongful image that the media portrays of her. This theme is found across the album to reflect on her healing through seeking advice from her belief in God.
The strumming of the guitar in ‘Let the Light In (ft. Father John Misty)’ gives the song a campfire vibe as Lana sings about the love-hate relationship she had for another artist. The song emphasises the secrecy of the relationship while Lana and Father John Misty‘s soft and deep tones meld together
‘Fishtail’ sounds like classic Lana with a melancholic melody and a nostalgic tone, similar to her previous album, ‘Chemtrails over the Country Club’. The whispered voice of Lana echoes as the beat picks up, giving you a head high as the sound effects beat in your eardrums, twist, and even glitter.
With ‘Peppers (ft. Tommy Genesis)’, Lana shakes up her style a little bit with more of a dancey tempo. The tempo builds and Lana sings in a gaspy, lowered tone about her current boyfriend: it’s a pro love song. The second verse becomes more electronic and captures the feelings that you get when you first fall for somebody.
‘Taco Truck x VB’ is split into two parts. The first half talks about when she met her fiancé and the criticism she has faced on the pages of magazines. This section builds into the second part: a remixed, heavy, grimier and unheard version of ‘Venice Bitch’, from, ‘Norman Fucking Rockwell’. This section hints at a kind of love she would be jealous of.
Overall, the whole album is a good mix of slow and up-tempo, with Lana Del Rey’s compelling soft voice guiding us throughout. We can all relate to this project with its themes of healing and personal growth as well as the conflicting ideals of love and having a family that we experience throughout our lives.
Listen to the album here:
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