Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A summary of “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd”

An analysis of Lana Del Rey’s new album
Photo courtesy of the official Lana Del Rey Facebook page.
Photo courtesy of the official Lana Del Rey Facebook page.

Last Friday, Lana Del Rey released her ninth studio album, “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd.” The first single to be released off the album was the title track on Dec. 7, 2022. The single was released as a surprise to fans along with an album announcement. The song has a slow-paced and piano-heavy backing track. The lyrics of the song refer to 1970’s musicians, locations in North America, loneliness and low self-esteem.

The next single that was released was “A&W” on Feb. 14, 2023. The song’s title is an abbreviation of “American Whore.” The track is a seven-minute rant by Del Rey where she talks about the innocence that she had in her childhood, which turned into promiscuous behavior in her adulthood. One of the song’s producers, Jack Antonoff, called this song his favorite from the album. Antonoff is known for producing for artists like Taylor Swift, the 1975 and the Bleachers.

The last single to be released before the full album was “The Grants” on March 14, 2023. Del Rey sings about the memories of loved ones that will remain even after she passes away and leaves the Earth.

The third track of the album is entitled “Sweet.” Del Rey samples the melody from “Wait for Life” by Emile Haynie. Throughout the song, Del Rey expresses her emotions about herself, her identity and her romantic relationship.

The controversy of this album begins with track five, which is entitled “Judah Smith Interlude.” The interlude features a sermon by Judah Smith, a celebrity pastor who co-founded Churchome with his wife, Chelsea. The sermon focuses on the differences between love and lust. Smith describes love as an ideal that is tied to spirituality and family. The ending lyrics, “I used to think my preaching was mostly about you / And you’re not going to like this, but I’m going to tell you the truth / I’ve discovered my preaching is mostly about me,” could refer to Del Rey’s experience with songwriting and how she might use it as “self-therapy.”

While the criticism is not directed at Del Rey’s self-expression, it is directed at her choice to feature Judah Smith on her album. Smith has received hate for sharing anti-choice and anti-LGBTQIA+ opinions and claimed that an unmarried couple living together is a sin. Churchome is also known for rehiring a pastor who sexually assaulted a member of the church. The choice to include Smith on the album is seen as a shock since a huge demographic of Del Rey’s fans are members of the LGBTQIA+ community and young women who typically hold values like the right to an abortion and not having to marry.

The sixth track, “Candy Necklace” is a very literal song. The majority of the lyrics are “candy necklaces,” sung by Jon Batiste and Lana Del Rey. Batiste is known for songs such as, “It’s Alright” and “FREEDOM,” and won the 2022 Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

The eighth song of the album is called “Kintsugi.” Kintsugi refers to the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery by gluing the pieces together with lacquer and powdered gold, silver or

platinum. The song exposes that people should not hide the trauma that they have endured; they should embrace what they have learned from it and thrive off the repair.

Similar to “A&W” and “Kintsugi,” the ninth track, “Fingertips,” reflects on emotional baggage from past experiences and past relationships while at the same time questioning the future. Emotional lyrics include, “When I was fifteen, naked, next-door neighbors did a drive-by / Pulled me up by my waist, long hair to the beachside / I wanted to go out like you, swim with the fishes / That he caught on Rhode Island beaches / But, sometimes, it’s not your time.”

“Grandfather please stand on the shoulders of my father while he’s deep-sea fishing” is the 11th track on the album. This song features French pianist RIOPY’s instrumental track, “Flo.” Although the title seems very literal, the content of the track is the exact opposite. The song seems to be about seeking spiritual guidance, something that is a new theme in Del Rey’s music.

The 12th song, “Let The Light In,” features Father John Misty, who worked with Del Rey in 2014 and 2015. This song can be interpreted simply as a girl who wants to be loved by her partner. Lyrics that suggest this theme include, “I can never stop, wanna have fun / Don’t be actin like I’m the kinda girl who can sleep,” and “Oh, let the light in / At your back door yelling ‘cause I wanna come in / Oh, turn your light on / Look at us, you and I, back at it again.”

“Fishtail” is the 14th song of the album. “Fishtail” is about a partner that is slowly caring less and less about a relationship. The lyrics, “Don’t you dare say that you’ll braid my hair, babe / If you don’t really care.” Del Rey wants her partner to be honest with her. She wants her partner to do these little things for her, like braiding hair, out of love and not to convince her that he still loves her when he really doesn’t.

The last song of “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd” is entitled “Taco Truck x VB.” This track is split into two segments. Del Rey has been receiving some backlash for “Taco Truck,” since she is representing herself as a Latina woman in the lyrics. The chorus lyrics of the song include, “Oh, that’s why they call me Lanita / When I get down, I’m bonita / Don’t come find me in Reseda / I’ll go crazy / Read my gold chain, says ‘Lanita’ / When I’m violent, it’s Carlito’s Way / Blood on my feet, on the street / I’m dancin’ crazy.”

The second segment, “VB,” samples Del Rey’s 2018 track “Venice Beach” from her album, Norman F***ing Rockwell! This sample shows off the “grimy, heavy, original and unheard version” of “Venice Beach.”

For this diverse track list exploring themes of loneliness, longing, and spirituality, Lana Del Rey has received both praise and criticism.

Paige Hanson can be reached at [email protected].

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