“If you’re good, it’s gold,” Lana Del Rey reminds us on the observe “Margaret” from her ninth studio album Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Underneath Ocean Blvd, launched on Friday, March 24. The singer-songwriter Del Rey’s capability to transform singular, diaristic tales into stunning folk-pop melodies — and a few shock hip-hop-influenced tracks harkening again to her Born to Die period — underwrites this proposition: When Lana is nice, emotionally and spiritually, she’s gold.
Del Rey’s early albums, too, felt like a storybook, however one which was in the end a deliberate creation. Listeners grew to become accustomed to her tales of “facin’ time once more at Rikers Island” in Born to Die (2012) and “dying by the arms of a international man” on Honeymoon (2015). But, since her critically acclaimed 2019 album Norman F*****g Rockwell, there has more and more been a convergence between “Lana Del Rey” and Elizabeth (Lizzy) Grant, the actual life New York-raised artist who caught fame on the daybreak of the Instagram period.
Her newest launch marks their long-awaited unification. She instantly addresses her now decade-long battle of managing each the general public’s and her personal notion of herself on tracks corresponding to “A&W” and “Grandfather Please Stand on the Shoulders of my Father Whereas He’s Deep-Sea Fishing” (sure, that’s the total title). She steadily name-drops her brother and sister, and all of the integral figures in her life, from her father to her fortune-teller, discover a place on Ocean Blvd. At factors, it even seems like we’re current with Del Rey, eavesdropping on on a regular basis galavants along with her lover via Southern California. Second by second she describes, “[I] Choose you up at dwelling, quarter to a few / Ask you if you need somethin’ to eat” on “Let the Mild In,” a young duet with folks rocker Father John Misty that’s excellent for belting out on a late-night journey.
Nevertheless, even with all this tough soul looking out, Lana finds time for enjoyable. “A&W” opens with the robust acknowledgement that she “hasn’t seen her mom in an extended, very long time.” But, we sense a frank, daring model of Lana is approaching when she states plainly within the observe’s preliminary refrain, “No, that is the expertise of bein’ an American whore.” As this line ominously fades out, an digital beat floods in, and the bass kicks up. The music’s distinct second half, peppered with playful, hypnotic chants of “Jimmy, Jimmy, cocoa puff” returns a hip-hop-inspired Del Rey that has solely sometimes resurfaced since her 2012 mainstream debut. For individuals who have develop into disenchanted with the artist as she has more and more oriented herself in an alternate folk-pop route in her post-NFR releases, the final three songs on this 78-minute report are certain to alleviate a few of this discontent. Rapper Tommy Genesis’s function on “Pepper” delivers a summer-ready punch, and Del Rey peps up previous single “Venice Bitch” with an digital remix that concludes the album.
Though Del Rey’s work may need superior additional right into a illustration of her genuine actuality, defiantly unaffected by others’ wishes to border it in another way, these entranced by her mystique of imperfect love and vice might be reassured that these themes haven’t gone away along with her subversion of previous (mis)representations. She’s nonetheless there with the boys who’re “actin’ fairly reckless / dancin’ just like the younger and stressed” in “Sweet Necklace” and beckoning her lover to the membership in “A&W.” But, we now get the total image: she’s additionally live-streaming her pastor’s sermon in “Judas Smith Interlude” and expressing her love for her niece in “The Grants.” Lana Del Rey, in all her glamor and fame, has at all times been the actual particular person Lizzy Grant, and Lizzy Grant, as she penned her charming narratives that put her within the highlight of world fame (and critique), is Lana Del Rey.
“I simply wanted two seconds to be me,” she explains on the album’s observe “Fingertips.” Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Underneath Ocean Blvd is these two seconds. Now could be your probability to unseal the tunnel’s hidden glory — and the tumult and pleasure that comes with being each Lizzy Grant and Lana Del Rey.
Jackson Feldman is a sophomore within the Faculty of Structure, Artwork & Planning. He might be reached at [email protected]