Del Rey cuts deep on Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd


Manasa Borra

Lana Del Rey’s new album Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd is about her personal struggles expressed through music. Read The Sidekick staff writer Anvita Bondada’s review to learn more about the various unique songs in her newest set of musical masterpieces.

Anvita Bondada, Staff Writer

Through a long, harrowing tunnel of heartbreak, loss, desperation, love and euphoria, is a dim light at the end, one that singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey struggles to let in.

Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd released March 23, marking Del Rey’s ninth album release. All 77 minutes of the album serve as a simultaneous self-exploration and exposé of  the calamitous inner workings of Del Rey’s mind.

Del Rey puts her vulnerability on full display more than ever before. In contrast to the fantasy world she has crooned about in past albums, she comes face-to-face with the raw, human experience, described through keen and picturesque lyricism. 

Del Rey’s latest album can be described as an interpolation of components from her past albums such as Chemtrails Over the Country Club. A similar melody in “Taco truck X VB” and “Chemtrails over the Country Club”   familiarize the listener with her past musical styles while introducing a new side of her artistic prowess. 

One key aspect of Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd is the predominant use of piano as the main instrumental agent in the album. This attributes to the haunting, introspective energy of the album, and complements seamlessly with Del Rey’s smooth lower register. She utilizes the piano in different ways throughout the album with a faster solo in “Candy Necklaces” and a slower, softer tune in “Sweet”accompanying her signature drawl.

On lead single “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd?” Del Rey grapples with the idea of being lost to the test of time. She references the Jergins Tunnel, the forgotten tunnel under Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach, Calif. which was closed to the public in 1967. Del Rey relates this to her life in the lyrics “Don’t forget me / like the tunnel under Ocean Boulevard” and “When’s it gonna be my turn?” This contemplation turns into desperation in the bridge as she screams the previous lyric with more urgency and a choir accompanying her as opposed to her normal tone earlier in the song.

Del Rey also processes pain in “Kintsugi,” a track grieving the loss of close people in her life.  Named after the Japanese art of fixing broken things with gold or silver, Del Rey uses the track as an allegory for how she recovers from her heartbreak by facing it and embracing the good things around her. The slow, somber feeling creates a funeral-esque tone to the song, with whistles in the chorus to add to the quaint, homely feel.

She further recalls her emotional baggage with “Fingertips,” opening with Del Rey’s classic breathy singing in a pondering tone with an enchanting violin background. She balances her detached delivery with higher, clear vocals later in the chorus as she switches from a wistful tone to a pleading one. She reverts to a reflective mood at the end of the song, perfectly encapsulating the human experience of grieving in one song: wonder to desperation to reminiscence.

Alongside poignant, striking lyricism, Del Rey’s airy vocals balance the melancholic notes of the piano instrumentals throughout the album. This is well represented on “Paris, Texas,” where she reflects on a past love, she sings in a longing yet contemplative tone paired with the haunting piano background. The rise and fall of the instrumentals in the background mesh together with Del Rey’s breathy notes to create a cryptic sense of intrigue to the album.

Del Rey faces the progression of her romances in “Fishtail” and “Peppers ft. Tommy Genesis.” “Fishtail” is an enigmatic track about when a partner starts to care less and less about a relationship. “Peppers ft. Tommy Genesis” describes her new romance and the excitement of love through rose colored lenses. The two songs are cleverly put next to each other to exemplify the different sides of relationships, giving the listener a three dimensional perspective of Del Rey’s love life.  These neighboring tracks contrast each other further with the ethereal synth production in the “Fishtail” chorus and the R&B influence coupled with Tommy Genesis’s rapping in the “Peppers” chorus. 

Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd intricately displays the tumultuous emotions of Del Rey’s psyche by telling a story of fleeting loss and growth. Her newly shown vulnerability should not be forgotten, like the tunnel under Ocean Boulevard.

Follow Anvita Bondada @anvita_bondada and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.