There actually is a tunnel under Ocean Boulevard, a million reviews have rejoiced in telling the world over the past couple of days. It’s named Jergins Tunnel, leading to Long Beach, California, and having looked at a few pictures it’s a fair bit grubbier these days than the LA songstress would have us believe. But we’re sure that Lana Del Rey’s intention for the song wasn’t to be a lesson in urban geography.
Having almost created her own sub-culture of downbeat female pop starlets that artists like Phoebe Bridgers and Lorde have picked up and legged it away with, Del Rey’s more recent albums, since 2021’s ‘Chemtrails Over The Country Club’, have gone on to develop a cool, cinematic, 1920s Hollywood glamour sheen, first hinted at on third longplayer ‘Honeymoon’. Coupled with her fledgling poetry career (have a listen to her low-key spoken word LP ‘Violet Bent Backwards Over The Grass’, if you weren’t aware it existed) and closer ties to folk legends Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell, ‘Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd’ finds our favourite American chanteuse more lyrically daring and timelessly credible than ever before.
With her unmistakable, serenely ethereal vocals backed by reverberant piano and plaintive violins all cast off with a robustly deliberate exhalation of vape smoke, the singer airily considers the notion of hiding your own lamp under a bushel through the imagery of a much romanticised early 20th century construction bricked up by luddite latter generations. Yet rather than bemoan her destined-to-be-overlooked charm, our narrator seeks out oblique hope in Harry Nilsson’s 1974 single ‘Don’t Forget Me’, imagining the record’s producer, one John Lennon, coaxing some genius all the way out of the classic American songwriter, proffering her faith to finding her own similar muse who’ll tell her a heartening “Baby, you can thrive!” in order to soothe a self-doubt riddled internal voice-over that would block in her mosaic ceilinged masterpiece of architecture forever.
‘Did you know that there’s a tunnel over Ocean Blvd’ is the first glimpse Lana Del Rey has given us of her newly announced ninth 16 track album of the same name, due to be released on 10th March on Interscope records. You can pre-order the record in loads of exclusive colours over on the artist’s website.
You can hear the track on YouTube below: