Lana Del Rey: Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd review – bold and enthralling

Shimmering strings meet trap beats as the songwriter looks back in languor on her richly textured ninth album

For all the lacquer and haze of Lana Del Rey’s heavily stylised albums, they have often been cries of pain that cut near the bone. “Fuck me to death, love me till I love myself,” she sings on the title track of this sprawling ninth album. On the extraordinary A&W, she despairs of ever being loved: “This is the experience of being an American whore,” she offers, almost offhand. At 16 tracks, …Ocean Blvd leans heavily on a combination of muted piano, hovering strings and Del Rey’s voice. That instantly recognisable instrument is by turns ghostly or Joni Mitchell-pristine, often multitracked, or accompanied by the backing vocalists whose first take opens the album (The Grants; Grant is Del Rey’s real family name).

But although one mood is uppermost, spine-tingling stylistic swerves happen too, where the songwriter’s old-timey atmospheres abruptly turn digital (Fishtail is just one example). Del Rey appears to have recorded a sermon from a pew and put it straight on the record (Judah Smith Interlude), while on closer Taco Truck x VB she reuses great swathes of her old song Venice Bitch, with added textures and trap beats. Elsewhere, the act of remembering, family and metacommentaries on her own fame enliven this engrossing, audacious record.

Listen to the title track of Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd by Lana Del Rey.


Kitty Empire

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Lana Del Rey: Chemtrails Over the Country Club review – bold and beautiful
On this strikingly assured seventh album, Del Rey reflects on fame, love, loneliness and the solidarity of fellow female songwriters

Kitty Empire

20, Mar, 2021 @2:00 PM

Article image
Lana Del Rey: Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd review – arresting introspection
The songwriter’s ninth album is heavy and disarmingly truthful, yet expands its close lens thanks to her wide-ranging, alluring aesthetic looseness

Shaad D'Souza

20, Mar, 2023 @12:00 AM

Article image
Lana Del Rey: Norman Fucking Rockwell review – stops you in your tracks
The American’s involving fifth album proves she can do more than merely conjure up a mood

Kitty Empire

31, Aug, 2019 @1:00 PM

Article image
Lana Del Rey: Lust for Life review – topical tunes and retro bombs
The singer looks outward on her fourth album in a state-of-the-nation address peppered with guest stars and pop history flashbacks

Kitty Empire

23, Jul, 2017 @8:00 AM

Article image
Blue Banisters by Lana Del Rey review – a singer looking to her legacy
The singer’s eighth album feels familiar, but also pushes at the edges of her usual themes

Emily Mackay

24, Oct, 2021 @8:00 AM

Article image
Lana Del Rey review – Hyde Park has seen nothing like this
A newly empowered Del Rey delights her fizzing army of fans with an electrifying, gloriously odd set – complete with onstage stylist

Damien Morris

15, Jul, 2023 @1:00 PM

Article image
Lana Del Rey: Violet Bent Backwards over the Grass review – poetry debut with mixed results
The singer’s first poetry collection is skilful but overcooked

Kitty Empire

02, Aug, 2020 @8:00 AM

Article image
Lana Del Rey – review

Lana Del Rey sails through a tantalisingly brief set, but questions persist, says Kitty Empire

Kitty Empire

20, Nov, 2011 @12:05 AM

Article image
Lana Del Rey: Born to Die – review

Lana Del Rey is just about weird enough to remain compelling, writes Kitty Empire

Kitty Empire

29, Jan, 2012 @12:05 AM

Article image
Ultraviolence review: Lana Del Ray delivers more of the same

Lana Del Rey turns in a stylish but musically – and lyrically – unsurprising follow-up, writes Kitty Empire

Kitty Empire

15, Jun, 2014 @8:00 AM