Lana Del Rey drops a surprise


courtesy Polydor Records

Tune in to Lana’s “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under ocean blvd”

Now that you know there’s a tunnel under Ocean Boulevard, let’s jump right in. Early last December, Grammy-nominated singer Lana Del Rey surprise-dropped this poetic new song. She then announced her next album of the same title will be coming out this March. 

The dreamy ballad sings of Jergins Tunnel, an abandoned passageway under, you guessed it, Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach, California. The tunnel was closed down in the 1960s, previously used as a passageway to access the beach. Today it is just an eerie memory. If we aren’t counting her minor feature on Taylor Swift’s “Snow on the Beach,” this is her newest single since “Watercolor Eyes,” which was written for HBO’s Euphoria that came out last January. 

The song begins with a deep breath being released. It sets the serious and personal tone of the song. In the first verse, Lana paints a picture of the forgotten Jergins Tunnel with the lyrics: “Mosaic ceilings / Painted tiles on the wall.” 

The tunnel sounds very alluring and lovely. Lana then describes the sad ending of the tunnel, singing “Handmade beauty / Sealed up by two man-made walls.” In the chorus, Lana ties the closing of the tunnel back to herself. When is she going to be shunned by the public and forgotten, just like the tunnel? It’s a bleak concept, but it works because many people relate to it regardless of if they are in the public eye or not.

In the next verse, Lana mentions a girl searching for “the door,” which represents a peaceful escape from struggle. The verse represents the way people in Lana’s field of work have difficulty getting away from the stressful toll that they are put under without turning to substances that can eventually kill them.

Following that verse, Lana sings the chorus again. “Open me up, tell me you like me […] love me until I love myself” she sings, getting deep down into her insecurities. The need for her partner’s validation to find herself worthy seems to be a main point throughout the song. These simple lyrics resonate so well with the listener, proving how good of a songwriter Lana is. 

The randomness of this tunnel begs the question: why did Lana choose this specific forgotten place for her metaphor? In past albums the titles have predicted the theme and aesthetic. How could a tunnel be so important to showcase in this severity? How will she manage to aestheticize this? 

The song is classic Lana – it’s reminiscent of the Americana aesthetic of her first album, Born To Die. She recalls Long Beach and California landmarks, similar to her 2019 album, Norman Fucking Rockwell! She also echoes the lyricism and vocals of 1970s musicians, specifically Harry Nilsson and his song “Don’t Forget Me.” 

It also continues the dialed-back sound of her 2021 albums Chemtrails Over the Country Club and Blue Banisters. By combining the best aspects of her music in ways she hasn’t before and using what’s worked for her in the past, her new song showcases what she is capable of: a unique greatness other musicians can only strive for.