Review: Lana Del Rey’s “Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd?”

Review: Lana Del Reys Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd?

Charisa Russell, Staff Reporter

Lana Del Rey’s ninth official studio album titled, ‘Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd?’ is a nearly perfect album. Del Rey’s main focus throughout the album is her legacy, family, and life. She also explore themes such as suicide, sexual assault, grief, and heartbreak which can make it hard to listen to for some people.

While it’s a rollercoaster of an album, Del Rey did a fantastic job of making her real experiences into a breathtaking piece of art. Each track is a story that only Lana Del Rey could tell and it comes together to form a cohesive story that captures her life.

Track 1: The grants

‘The grants’ is a brilliant gospel opener with intro vocals from Melodye Perry, Pattie Howard, and Shikena Jones. Del Rey’s inspiration was her late uncle who tragically passed in the Rocky Mountains. This track is centered around remembrance of life and family and the bridge talks about the future of her family and times worth remembering.

“A sister’s first-born child

I’m gonna take that too with me

My grandmother’s last smile

I’m gonna take that too with me

It’s a beautiful life

Remember that too for me”

It’s overall a beautiful song and is clearly extremely personal to Lana.This is a song only she could write and there’s always something so special about those types of songs.

Track 2: Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd?

The title track and first single that was released on December 7 2022, ‘Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd?’ begins by describing Jergins Tunnel, an underground, abandoned transit center in Long Beach, California.

Lana compares her fears with legacy to the abandoned landmark being closed off.

“When’s it gonna be my turn? Open me up, tell me you like it.” Del Rey feels lonely and forgotten and longs for love and validation.

“Don’t forget me
Like the tunnel under Ocean Boulevard”

Track 3: Sweet

Track 3, ‘Sweet’ sounds exactly like its name. Lana talks about her philosophy and is explaining to a man who she really is.

“I’m a different kind of woman”

Del Rey is making known she is different from how society perceives her. She is asking this man if he wants her for who she really is or if he loves the idea of her.

“Do you want children? Do you wanna marry me?

Do you wanna run marathons in Long Beach by the sea?

I’ve got things to do like nothing at all

I wanna do them with you

Do you wanna do them with me?”

‘Sweet’ is vulnerable and reveals Lana wants to be fully embraced for who she really is by who she loves.

Track 4: A&W *TW*

The second single, ‘A&W’ is an intense depiction of Lana’s childhood and her sexuality. While the production says otherwise, I personally believe this is one of the darkest songs on the album. This song exposes how Del Rey felt like she grew up too quickly and refers to her broken relationship with her mother which is continually referenced in many of her other songs.

Lana writes about the triggering reality of SA that is disturbing but so real in our world. These lyrics describe the public reaction when dealing with those issues.

“I mean, look at my hair

Look at the length of it and the shape of my body

If I told you that I was raped

Do you really think that anybody would think I didn’t ask for it?

I didn’t ask for it”

The second half of the song represents a abusive relationship with a man named “Jimmy”

“Love me, if you love enough, you can be my light

Jimmy only love me when he wanna get high”

This song is very catchy and if you didn’t listen to the lyrics you would never realize how emotional it is. It is a heartbreaking and cruel representation of her love life and her broken childhood.

Track 5: Judah Smith Interlude

This interlude is a 4:37 long clip from a sermon Del rey recorded on her phone during a service accompanied with piano from producer Jack Antonoff. Judah Smith is one of the lead pastors of what is described as a “celebrity mega church” called Hillsong. He is known as being very controversial so fans were not too happy about him being featured in `Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd?’.

Lana has never alluded to being religious despite the many religious references in her music. So, many don’t understand why Lana would include this into her album. Lana could be attempting to share a message that is important to her, mocking the sermon, or trying to reveal some sort of meaning behind her music. I’m very curious what Lanas reasoning for this interlude is.

Track 6: Candy Necklace (feat. Jon Batiste)

Track 6, ‘Candy Necklace’ featuring co writer Jon Batiste, represents the chaos and recklessness of Lana’s relationship in the form of a love song. She uses candy necklaces to symbolize a toxic relationship that she’s obsessed with.

“I think that we should address this

Actin’ like the young and restless

I’m obsessed with this

All his candy necklaces”

Just like their love, candy necklaces are sweet but addictive and ultimately not good for you.
Track 7: Jon Batiste Interlude

This interlude is Jon Batiste’s second appearance on `Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd?’. Just like ‘Judah Smith Interlude’, this track captures some sort of spiritual experience. I can just tell by this song that Del Rey and Batiste had a lot of fun working together while improvising in the studio. I think this interlude is a big contribution to the creativeness and uniqueness to this album.

Track 8: Kintsugi

Continuing with one of the main themes of this album, ‘Kintsugi’ is a song about grief and family. Lana sings about how deaths in her family have affected her, similar to track 1, ‘The grants’.

“When you see someone dyin’

You see all your days flash in front of you”

Kintusgi is the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold. Del Rey uses this as a metaphor for her life falling apart and her piecing it back together beautifully.

“Think by the third of March, I was cracked open

Finally the ground was cold, they wouldn’t open

Brought by the sunlight of the spirit to pour into rain

There’s a name for it in Japanese, it’s kintsugi”

This song is entirely personal to Lana but still any fan who’s experienced loss can relate to this track.

Track 9: Fingertips

Track 9, ‘Fingertips’ is in my opinion the most real and heart wrenching song on the whole album, and there’s a lot to cover in it. It’s full of wonder of what could’ve been and what will be.

“Caroline, will you be with me?

Will the baby be alright?

Will I have one of mine?

Can I handle it even if I do?
You said that I might

It’s not fair or so they said

To carry a child

I guess I’ll be fine”

Del Rey is curious about her niece, her sister Caroline’s future. She wonders if her niece will have a good life and if she will have children of her own.

Lana also remembers her uncle, Dave who committed suicide at the Rocky Mountain National Park.

“Give me a mausoleum in Rhode Island with Dad, Grandma, Grandpa and Dave

Who hung himself real high

In the National Park sky, it’s a shame and I’m crying right now”

Another one of Lana’s uncle’s passed when she was in Monaco on tour. She got the news 2 hours before she had to perform for the prince.

“I couldn’t handle it, I was in Monaco

I couldn’t hear what they said on the telephone

I had to sing for the prince in two hours

Sat in the shower

Gave myself two seconds to cry

It’s a shame that we die”

Lana as well has come close to death herself. When she was 15 she nearly drowned, she now wonders what if no one saved her that day.

“When I was fifteen, naked, next-door neighbors did a drive-by

Pulled me up by my waist, long hair to the beach side

I wanted to go out like you, swim with the fishes

That he caught on Rhode Island beaches

But, sometimes, it’s just not your time”

Del Rey does not have a good relationship with her mother which inspired this next lyric about something she said that stuck with her.

“What kind of mother was she to say I’d end up in institutions?”

Lana repeatedly says that she gives herself “two seconds to cry” or “two seconds to breathe”. ‘Fingertips’ is a delicate but painful ballad that takes the listeners on a journey through her life and what she’s gone through.

Track 10: Paris, Texas (feat. SYML)

Paris, Texas’ featuring SYML is a story about desire and freedom. It takes listeners on a trip through places she’s been and her mental state while she was there.

“I went to Paris (Texas)

With a suitcase in my hand

I had to leave

Knew they wouldn’t understand

When you know, you know

When you know, you know

It’s time, it’s time to go””

She sings about her desire to escape her current situation and knows that many wouldn’t understand why she was doing that.

“When you’re home, you’re home (Venice, California)

When you’re home, you’re home (Venice, California)

When you’re home, when you’re alone”
Even when she’s physically home in Venice, California, Lana says that when she’s alone, she’s also “home”.

‘Paris, Texas’ explains her self acceptance and new found self discovery.

Track 11: Grandfather please stand on the shoulders of my father while he’s deep-sea fishing (feat RIOPY)

Regardless of the title, ‘Grandfather please stand on the shoulders of my father while he’s deep-sea fishing’ has more to do with Lanas spirituality rather than her grandfather or father.

“God, if you’re near me, send me three white butterflies

Or an owl to know know you’re listening, sitting while I’m drinking”

Lana continues to ask God to send her a sign that he’s with her and is working in her life. I think Del Rey’s faith and vulnerability is best expressed in this track.

Track 12: Let The Light In (feat. Father John Misty)

This track featuring John Misty coveys romance and conflict in an on and off relationship.

“Ooh, let the light in

At your back door yelling ’cause I wanna come in

Ooh, turn your light on

Look at us, you and I, back at it again”

The lyric, “Let the light in” represents the fighting in her relationship is always resolved because they love each other.

“’Cause I like to love, to love, to love, to love you

I hate to hate, to hate, to hate, to hate you”

Track 13: Margaret (feat. Bleachers)
‘Margaret’ is a love song about Lanas producer, Jack Antonoff’s fiance Margaret Qualley. This track features Bleachers, which is Antonoff’s band. ‘Margaret’ is a celebration of love and companionship.

“When you know, you know

When you know, you know”

The lyrics communicate that when you know someone is the right person for you, it’s a good feeling.

Track 14: Fishtail

Track 14, ‘Fishtail’ is one of my personal favorites. The production is amazing but the lyrics are extremely deep and important. The topic is mainly about Lana’s well-being in an unhealthy relationship.

“Don’t you dare say

That you’ll braid my hair, babe

If you don’t really care

You wanted me sadder”

“I like how you talk, how you speak, how you look at me

But lately, I can’t see”

Del Rey doesn’t feel like she’s being loved, taken care of, or seen in the relationship she’s singing about. She feels like her partner wants her to be sad.

Track 15: Peppers (feat. Tommy Genesis)

This love song featuring Tommy Genesis depicts Lana as a “bad girl” in a way.

“My boyfriend tested positive for COVID, it don’t matter

We’ve been kissing, so whatever he has, I have, I can’t cry”

This lyric is sort of funny to me. She shows how she doesnt care about anything because she’s in love.

“I’m in love

I’m in love

(I’m in love)”

Lana also references actress Angelina Jolie, who was seen as a wild, bad girl in Hollywood. She uses her to represent her free spirit and bad side in this relationship.

“Hands on your knees, I’m Angelina Jolie

Hands on your knees, Angelina Jolie

Let me put my hands on your knees, you can braid my hair

Do a fat criss-cross in the back somewhere, ha”

Del Rey uses this song to show listeners the type of life she lives with her partner when not in the public eye.

Track 16: Taco Truck x VB

Finally, track 16, ‘Taco Truck x VB’. This song is the perfect closing track for this rollercoaster of an album. Lana combines several aspects of this album into this one song, like being young, dealing with relationships, and vulnerability. It starts with her reflecting on her current relationship.

“Met my boyfriend down at the taco truck”

Just like in the previous track, ‘Peppers’, Lana uses lyrics to describe her wild side.

“That’s why they call me Lanita

When I get down like bonita

Don’t come find me in Reseda

I’ll go crazy”
Next the song takes a nostalgic turn. When I first heard the words, “Soundin’ off, bang bang, kiss kiss” in the background, I freaked out!

The second part of the song is from track 3 of her 6th official studio album, “NFR”. “VB” is the abbreviation of that track’s name. Fans, including myself, were ecstatic over this mashup. ‘Taco Truck x VB’ is a story of passionate young love.

My final thoughts:

Here’s my current ranking of all the songs on the album.

Paris, Texas (feat. SYML)
Taco Truck x VB
Let The Light In
Grandfather please stand on the shoulders of my father while he’s deep-sea fishing (feat RIOPY)
Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd?
The grants
Margaret (feat. Bleachers)
Peppers (feat. Tommy Genesis)
Candy Necklace (feat. Jon Batiste)
Jon Batiste interlude
Judah Smith Interlude

‘Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd?’ is altogether one of Del Rey’s most impactful and intimate albums to date, and you can clearly see her creative vision when she was making it. I absolutely loved this album and I think it’s a staple in Lana Del Rey’s discography and evolving career.