I’m Always Write: Lana’s newest album is a work of personal, poetic art

By mixing soft vocals and poetic lyrics, artist Lana Del Rey’s newest album titled “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd” continues the themes of reflection and familial importance first distinguished in her 2021 album “Chemtrails Over the Country Club.”


Continuing to break away from her “sad girl” persona, artist Lana Del Rey released her new album on March 24, featuring artists like Jon Batiste and an interlude by priest Judah Smith.
Rey, often characterized as the figurehead of the “sad girls” —girls and young women that connect over deep feelings of sadness, often through romanticized means of unhealthy coping— seems to be growing out of this image often projected on her as her audience matures as well.
This sincere portrayal of healing that comes from surrounding yourself with loved ones shown through Rey’s recent albums is refreshing and hopefully shows her young fanbase that the “sad girl” state should not be desired or permanent.
Even in the 14th track titled “Fishtail,” Rey sings “you wanted me sadder,” expressing the need of others for her to be controlled so they can project their own version of her while simultaneously erasing who she really is.
The song “A&W” particularly reflects on how her image has been contorted and colored to fit a character, rather than a person, throughout her career: “…I’m invisible / I’m a ghost now, look how you hold me now” Rey sings, perhaps to the music industry.
The album’s premier song, “The Grants,” pays homage to her family, a common theme in this album.
The song begins with casual but strong background vocals from Melodye Perry, Pattie Howard and Shikena Jones, creating a sense that they’re supporting Rey as she tells her story.
Rey repeats the lyric with a relaxed voice, “I’m going to take mine of you with me,” implying how she is moving into a more stable, content future but also using and appreciating past memories and experiences as she grows.
Reflection on her past continues to play an important role throughout the album- with stand out songs being “Sweet,” “Kintsugi” and “Fingertips.”
The beautifully sung and personal “Fingertips” almost feels like a letter Rey wrote to her family.
Rey discusses her internal conflict of having children after her sister had her first child, her strained relationship with her mother and grief she still holds for certain relatives.
Powerfully, at the end of the song, Rey sings “I give myself two seconds to breathe” and “I just needed two seconds to be me.”
These ending lines capture Rey’s rightful need to blossom once again after all of the hardships she’s been through.
Another unique characteristic of “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd,” compared to her other albums, are the multiple songs featuring other artists. However, I think these songs tend to be the weakest in the album.
While the song “Candy Necklace (feat. Jon Batiste)” gifts listeners with the natural-sounding mesh of Rey’s light voice with Batiste’s deep, yet tranquil voice, the song itself isn’t strong and has an awkward rhythm.
“Maragaret (feat. Bleachers)” also feels a bit unwieldy while “Peppers (feat. Tommy Genesis)” is just confusing and almost unlistenable due to its commercialized beats and strange lyrics.
Although, it would be unfair to group “Paris, Texas (feat. SYML)” with these other collaborated songs.
This song is truly one of the best tracks on the album.
The instrumentals are reminiscent of ballet waltz music and are accompanied by Rey’s striking vocals.
She manages to create a sense of airy dreaminess while instilling poignant emotion.