Lana Del Rey’s “Did you know there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd” Attracts Praise and Confusion

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Lana Del Rey at Billboard Women In Music held at YouTube Theater on March 1, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
Gilbert Flores/Billboard/Getty Images

Lana Del Rey released her ninth studio album, “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd” today, and listeners are having strong reactions. Del Rey has been known for her ability to craft unique concept albums that showcase the seedy underbelly of the Americana aesthetic of the 50s and 60s, and this album showcases a more unique level of self-awareness as an artist, similar to the themes that Taylor Swift took on with her “Reputation” album. Del Rey has been praised for the artistic references present throughout her extensive catalogue of songwriting, but has also faced criticism. Notably, some listeners felt that her early work was anti-feminist and that she was turning Catholicism into an “aesthetic.”

Lana has long since cleared up her controversies, and the new album continues Lana’s path to clarifying her artistic narrative. One of the tracks, titled “Judah Smith Interlude” is an audio of controversial megachurch pastor Judah Smith of Churchome (formerly of Hillsong) delivering a sermon, with Lana Del Rey lightly snickering at his commentary in the background. The interlude is set to a lilting piano melody played by producer Jack Antonoff. This was one of the first tracks to turn heads, as Smith is notoriously homophobic and anti-abortion in his sermons, and Del Rey has amassed a sizable LGBTQ+ fanbase. Fans were quick to turn the interlude into a meme, understanding that Del Rey likely made the choice to include it in sequence with tracks “Sweet” and “A&W” to address the assumptions made about her personal life during each of her prior album eras.

Lana Del Rey frequently makes references to different American cultural archetypes, including 50s house wives and old Hollywood starlets. Some of this album’s lyrics were a bit more vague in their references, which left fans a bit confused at times. The track references the constant questions surrounding Del Rey’s true self and her childhood, as much of her artistic presentation is an artistic persona.

One TikTok user named Dylan (@dylandeltwink) noticed a clever Soulja Boy sample in what is rapidly rising as a fan-favorite on the album, “Taco Truck x VB.” Del Rey surprisingly interpolated several songs with trap music for this album, a new production choice when compared to her previously more orchestra and piano-dominated music.


album so good omg. #lanadelrey #didyouknowthattheresatunelunderoceanblvd #lizzygrant

♬ Taco Truck x VB – Lana Del Rey


Fans appreciated the album’s slower melancholy tracks as well, as they are a staple of Del Rey’s style. Twitter was quick to produce countless viral reaction memes to the album’s earlier tracks, including “Paris, Texas.”

“Peppers” on the other hand was easily deemed the most danceable track on the creatively ambitious album.

On a personal note, Del Rey’s song “Margaret” was written in honor of her longtime collaborator Jack Antonoff’s fianceé, actress Margaret Qualley. The song pays a sweet homage to Qualley, and her relationship with Antonoff, who produced the album, and provides backing vocals on the track. Qualley and Del Rey are close personal friends, and listeners liked the soft personal element the track brought the album as a whole.


The metaphorical and layered look at the controversies of her career is attracting widespread praise from critics. Del Rey was recently awarded the Visionary Award at the 2023 Billboard Women in Music Awards.

“Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd.” is available on streaming services today.

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