By Caitlin Rattan
Lana Del Rey has become what some would describe as a musical revolution. The American singer-songwriter who released her ninth studio album on March 24th of this year has encapsulated her listeners with her distinctive and experimental sound and raw, intense lyrics incorporated into songs which range from encompassing a poetic and ethereal lightness to desperate, pained ballads in which the listener becomes interwoven in Del Rey’s anguish and grief.
‘Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd’ is an album which flows coherently with the rest of Del Rey’s work but holds its own beauty and power, separate to anything she has ever recorded before. The album begins with ‘The Grants’ a reference to her family (Lana Del Rey being a stage name- her original name is Elizabeth Grant) and starts with a mistake from the background singers. They sing ‘mind’ instead of ‘mine’ and are corrected, and Del Rey chose to include this on the record. It sets the tone for the rest of the album, these are a collection of songs which are not perfect. They are messy and disarmingly honest, and focus not on what is perfect but what is real; this album is personal to Del Rey and that is what makes it so beautiful.
The album features artists such as Father John Misty who Del Rey collaborated with on the song, ‘Let The Light In’, a song listeners have expressed their appreciation for on social media platforms such as Tik Tok. As the title depicts, ‘Let The Light In’ is about longing and hope and Del Rey sings that she wants to ‘Let the Light In’ on her relationship, which could be interpreted as an affair with a married man, suggested by the secrecy of them meeting up in the middle of the night. The song is a mix of most notably guitar and Del Rey and Father John Misty’s vocals which weave together in the chorus to emphasise the longing and yearning that the lyrics hold; they are singing to each other and echoing what the other one says, easily making it one of the most fragile yet meaningful songs on the album. Another song which sticks out on the album is Paris Texas on which Del Rey took the instrumental piano track ‘I Wanted To Leave’ by musician SYML, renamed it and added her own lyrics to it, creating an ethereal paradise in which the listener is transported to as soon as the song begins. Paris, Texas is somewhat like floating, it is so gentle and fragile, but so meaningful at the same time. The lyric ‘…You know/That it’s time to leave/Like the summer breeze.’ Gives the song a gentle fleeting quality that makes the song so original to the album.
Del Rey concludes the album with Taco Truck x VB a mix of a new song and the nine minute third track of her sixth studio album which she has added layers of synthetic beats to make it more dramatic and impactful, creating a daring and encapsulating rawness. It concludes the album with a more upbeat tone and a sentimentality, reminding us of her previous work and exudes a kind of confidence in her imperfections we don’t see from Del Rey often. She sings, ‘I know, I know that you hate me.’ She is unfazed by this in the song, however, and continues into the verse of VB after a short instrumental break, however it is a reference to a lot of the criticism Del Rey has faced, often for being ‘too sad’ and ‘too depressing’.
The album is a beautiful collection of songs encompassing a new and more personal side to Del Rey, however it still flows coherently with her eight other studio albums. In addition to the songs mentioned previously, it holds more moderate ballads including ‘Sweet’ and ‘Candy Necklace’, with a more love struck and longing quality but also tracks such as ‘Peppers’ and ‘Fishtail’ exuding more upbeat, confident tone creating what I would call one of the most notable albums released not just this year, but this decade.