Del Rey makes waves on Ocean Blvd


In the singer-songwriter’s ninth studio album Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd, featuring collaborations with the likes of John Batiste and Bleachers, Lana Del Rey gets up-close and personal, describing the story of her life, afterlife and the difficult family dynamics she’s had to battle.

“The Grants,” a title that pays homage to her family name, offers the listener insight on what she’s doing in the afterlife, which she has previously discussed on her many albums as an escape hatch from the burdens of 21st century life.

In “The Grants,” after opening with choral singing, Del Rey tells the listener that “[her] pastor [said], ‘When you leave, all you take… is your memories’” and discusses the idea of death on a brighter note, one that she is finally content with. 

Bringing back the chamber-esque Melodye Perry, Pattie Howard and Shikena Jones who appeared at the beginning of the track, the phrase “And I wanna take mine of you with me” resonates deeply, signifying her want and need for a relationship with her family that is eternal.

One such family member Lana repeatedly mentions throughout the song is her late uncle David Grant, who died climbing the Rocky Mountains. With the background vocals harmonizing, creating a beautiful and stunning chord, Del Rey honors Grant in the lyric “Like Rocky Mountain High.”

Lana has taken us to church with her incredible hymn-like vocals, and continues to take us back and forth between church and a more realistic, unfortunate view on the life of the singer.

Moving towards a more unfortunate view on Del Rey’s life, she tells the listener the story of how her past has left a permanent scar on her soul, and how she is worried about the future of her career in the title track. 

The lyrics “Don’t forget me,” repeated throughout the chorus is a reference as to the treatment of aging stars in the music industry, and a letter to Del Rey’s past lovers. 

The treatment of aging pop stars in the music industry has recently come under scrutiny, with artists such as Taylor Swift in her Miss Americana documentary released onto Netflix in 2019 criticizing it. Female artists, specifically, who are past a certain age are often forced or expected to switch up their style more often to keep up with society, “or else you’re out of a job,” Swift said. 

Lana Del Rey has continued to deliver grand, emotional tracks that touch the soul of the listener, and continues to do so throughout the album.

However, one song that stood out above them all was the deeply harrowing and emotional track nine, “Fingertips.” It may be the most depressing song on the album, but it is also the best. Del Rey continues to discuss the turmoil that she experiences with her family, and her internal turmoil that have led to dark thoughts by telling the listener about the heart-breaking events that happened during her childhood. 

She also discusses with the listener her mental health, and revisits ideas previously sang about on her 2021 album Blue Banisters, and on “The Grants,” such as having children. “Will I have one of mine?” asks Del Rey to her sister, Caroline, better known as Chuck to fans of the artist, who had a child in 2021. 

“Sat in the shower, gave myself two seconds to cry. It’s a shame that we die,” sang Del Rey referencing her uncle once again. 

“Fingertips” has mastered powerful movements and vocals that can only bring forth emotions that only few other artists have done, such as Taylor Swift and Michael Jackson.

Overall, Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd is definitely one of the top contenders for next year’s Grammy Album of the Year award, and it is highly deserving of it, especially after her 2019 album NFR! was snubbed by the Grammy committee at the 2020 award show.

Ocean Blvd is a solid, strong, emotional, and powerful album that everyone should listen to, with its ratings of 8.3 on Pitchfork and 4 stars according to The Guardian. While it may not be seen as her strongest album, Ocean Blvd is a masterpiece, and a massive step up from her previous two albums.