On her latest track, ‘Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd?’ Lana Del Rey strikes a perfect balance between her new, deeply confessional style and the grandiosity of her early career.
With 2021’s albums Chemtrails Over the Country Club and Blue Bannisters, Del Rey sought a retreat from fame that led her to the Midwest, to Arkansas, to Tulsa and then, eventually, to home and to sisterhood. Here, though, on the title track of her upcoming album, she returns to her adoptive home of California, and urges the listener not to “forget” her.
The track’s production is the grandest we’ve had from a Lana Del Rey song in some time. Where the albums mentioned previously did have tracks with sweeping orchestras, such as the title track on Chemtrails, and Blue Bannisters standout ‘Thunder’, both of these albums found a home within a more stripped-down acoustic, piano palate.
Here though, Del Rey revives the strings and choral sounds of her early work to deliver a truly emotional song. She sings effortlessly in time with the backing orchestra – the master, as ever, of dramatic flair.
Lyrically, Del Rey writes in her unrestrictive, confessional form. She compares herself to the “tunnel under Ocean Boulevard”, and details how she fears she has become, like the tunnel, a “handmade beauty sealed up by two man-made walls.” The song is filled with allusions to Americana, with her referencing of Harry Nilsson’s song ‘Don’t Tell Me’ and how his “voice breaks at 2:05”. She wonders if she’ll be forgotten as the tunnel has and longs for a friend like Harry Nilsson. It’s an interesting extended metaphor and some of Del Rey’s tightest, most controlled lyricism.
If Lana Del Rey’s upcoming album is like ‘Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd?’, there’s a lot to look forward to. Clearly at the top of her game with her song writing and production, Lana Del Rey seems set to deliver another strong album, the third within two years.
Check out more on Lana Del Rey on her website here and you can listen to her latest track here: