American singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey’s ninth album, “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd” – dubbed by fans as simply “Ocean Blvd” – has been highly anticipated since its announcement Dec 7. Described by Del Rey as “soulful and beautifully flawed,” the album carries a mature, self-aware tone that contrasts earlier works such as her first, “Born to Die.”
Del Rey begins the album with “The Grants,” a tribute to her family, as she reflects on memories she will cherish even after she dies. In lyrics such as “When you leave, all you take is your memory / and I’m gonna take mine of you with me,” Del Rey sings above a gospel-influenced piano soundtrack.
Her second and title track “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd” introduces the “tunnel” as a metaphor for isolation. The Ocean Blvd tunnel, located in Long Beach, CA, is closed and therefore overlooked and forgotten. This metaphor recurs throughout the album as Del Rey explores the true meaning of being “forgotten.”
“I was spending a lot of time in Long Beach and I had read that there was a tunnel sealed up under the Jergins [Trust] Building. All of the mosaic ceilings were still perfectly preserved, but no one could get in. I had also been listening to a lot of Harry Nilsson. He has this song called “Don’t Forget Me.” That sentiment plus this man-made tunnel that was sealed up but was so beautiful, I liked the idea of putting them together. I knew right off the bat that that was going to be the title,” she revealed in a statement.
“Kintsugi” and “Fingertips”, the album’s respective eighth and ninth tracks, follow a more conversational style, resembling poetry set to music rather than songs. They are among the album’s longest tracks – averaging seven minutes long – and intertwine closely. Both songs explore themes of grief, guilt and learning how to navigate life after loss.
“I’d go on a seven-minute rant with a repetitive melody. It would be exactly what I was thinking about, mostly family and whether everything was going to pan out alright in the end. So much of this album is based on the concerns or hopes in my mind,” Del Rey told Interview Magazine.
Upon the album’s release March 24, Del Rey earned her biggest streaming day of all time, securing “Ocean Blvd” a spot as the most-streamed album in eight countries. “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd,” in its entirety, is now available on all music platforms as well as on YouTube.