April 17, 2023 Lana Del Rey – Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd (Album Review)
Award-winning Singer-Songwriter Lana Del Rey has built a career on crafting melancholic moodscapes. Taking the plunge into her professional career all the way back in 2005, in the years to follow, she would make a major splash with albums such as 2012’s Born to Die. An album that produced perhaps her most known hit “Summertime Sadness,” Del Rey continued to sustain her individuality as she grew as an artist, from 2013’s Ultraviolence all the way through to 2021’s Blue Banisters. Each an effort reminding us that Del Rey is her own and uncompromised, in 2023 she returns with her ninth studio album, Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd.
Released on March 24th through Interscope Records, the new collection is sixteen tracks lasting well over an hour. A bold move, considering people’s abbreviated attention span in the modern world, hopefully this will be a practice in stretching one’s ability to focus. Nonetheless, the exhibition is well worth it because it not only lengthy, but it also has a sense of humanity the modern world seems to be lacking. How so? Well, like always, Del Rey keeps it real, and this is evident from the opening track “The Grants” which opens casually, taking you to the recording studio to hear a warmup. Rather refreshing and a fun way to begin, you then are taken into the full blown track before the bittersweet piano laden title-track, “Sweet,” before being led into “A&W” which offers a touch of Hip Hop in the final minutes.
With a lot more to dig into, the “Judah Smith Interlude” offers a sermon that acts as a bridge between “A&W” and “Candy Necklace.” Shifting the mood, “Candy Necklace” is another soft piano ballad that wanders down memory lane and keeps drifting off into a dream world. Simply beautiful, the inclusion of Jon Batiste adds a little something extra before the “Jon Batiste Interlude“ which gives you a moment to gather your thoughts before “Kintsugi” tells another sentimental story about the past.
At this point pretty deep in, “Fingertips” is filled with self-pity, reflection, and takes you on a journey through the depths of Del Rey’s soul. This is while “Paris, Texas” continues with a waltz type vibe before the lullable-like “Grandfather please stand on the shoulders of my father while he’s deep-sea fishing” and the hopeful guitar-driven “Let the Light In” featuring a fitting duet with Father John Misty. From here Del Rey mixes it up some with tear-jerking “Margaret,” mesmerizing “Fishtail,” Hip Hop laden “Peppers” featuring the Canadian Rapper Tommy Genesis, and slowly layered closer “Taco Truck x VB.”
Extremely thoughtful, Lana Del Rey has created a great album filled with music that is soaked in strong emotions that walks the thin line between love and despair. Blanketing you, you can feel the heartache and bittersweet love with each word. All deep, heartfelt expressions, Del Rey tells stories, relives memories and lets her mind wander. Overall, she sets a heavy mood with Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd that is inescapable and that is why Cryptic Rock gives this album 4 out of 5 stars.