A release day ranking of every song on Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd, Lana Del Rey’s new album
How is Margaret managing to break and heal my heart at the same time?
Before I am a human being, I am a Lana Del Rey fan. We’re talking the kind of fan who was sneaking off from sixth form early so I could rush to the Manchester Apollo and queue to get to the front off the Paradise tour – a feat which I achieved. It was a spiritual awakening for me, and in the years that followed my stanning has never wavered. Nearly all Lana Del Rey albums are family to me, and with the singles released for her ninth major label LP Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd being so exciting and of such interesting, high quality – my excitement for this album was palpable to say the least. This era has made me feel 16 again. I’ve listened four times all the way through now, and it is time. Here’s my release day ranking of all the songs on Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd – the new album by Lana Del Rey.
16. Judah Smith Interlude
Not to start this off miserably, but my GOD… I hate this.
15. Jon Batiste Interlude
A lot better than the preacher interlude ranked before it, but this one is still a bit too bloody long considering it’s just a bit of a vibe. This album runs at an hour and 17 minutes, and I think almost nine minutes of interlude could be left on the cutting room floor.
I would like to preface everything that comes next by saying I don’t think there’s a bad song left to talk about on this album. Everything is beautifully written and eternally special – but Sweet falls short due to its placement between three HEAVY HITTERS. It doesn’t quite hit the same heights.
13. Candy Necklace
This one seems primed to be the next single if the music video teasers are anything to go by. I love how the chorus vocal and piano melody come together but I do think it’s one of the safer and more filler sounding moments on Ocean Blvd.
It’s killing me to rank this so low, but its wow factor is just getting outwowed. Lana described this and Fingertips as two songs are a trail of thought rather than songs – and I think Fingertips does it better. I love the metaphor of Kintsugi, the Japanese art of filling smashed plates and bowls with gold to put them back together and create something new and beautiful from the broken.
In the immortal words of Kelly Rowland, who knew you were doing uptempo owwwww! Sampling a 2015 Tommy Genesis track with lyrics singing of not giving a shite about her fella having Covid because she’s got it if she’s been snogging him anyway and a streaming session of the Chilli Peppers, the banger is a nice lighthearted slapper that feels like a Lana we haven’t heard in a while. Summer vibes are here!
It’s giving Tulsa Jesus Freak: The Sequel. And that’s what we ALL needed.
Fingertips feels like it was never meant to be heard by us, but thank god Lana Del Rey let us in to a stream of consciousness that exists between her songwriting and her poetry. It’s messy, wordy, personal, complex and endlessly fascinating. No other artist making music right now could record this.
8. Let The Light In
A fully fledged collaboration between Lana Del Rey and Father John Misty that is so overdue it feels like it happened years ago, when all we’ve had is him in her video and a cover. This duet takes me right back to that cosy Chemtrails sound that I love so much and I’d be over the moon if the two of them recorded a full duet album together. Wowing.
7. Grandfather please stand on the shoulders of my father while he’s deep-sea fishing
So much of Ocean Blvd is centred on the Grants, and Lana Del Rey reflecting on the legacy of her family – having so much of the album be existential and personal simultaneously makes ranking things so intimate hard, but this song is just beautiful. Sweeping vocals over the top of a sampled piano melody makes any naysayers of the long title shut up once they press play. “I know they think that it took somebody else to make me beautiful…”
6. Paris, Texas
Lana fully samples SYML’s I Wanted To Leave on her geographical tour of locations that share names with big European cities, Paris, Florence and Venice, but are small American towns. The way her vocals roll so lusciously over the piano here is timeless – no wonder it’s been trending on Twitter all day.
The impact on Lana Del Rey and the way she makes music that Jack Antonoff has had, despite the naysayers who have decided they no longer like him because he works prolifically with a lot of artists and makes great music with them, is unparalleled. Lana’s pre and post Jack Antonoff career feels like two different artists at times. Margaret, written for Jack and his wife who the song is named after, is the song “that could hypothetically be played at their wedding.” To me, it sounds like a gorgeous thank you to a friend she holds dear – and it’s great to hear Jack on vocals after his presence has been in the background since 2019.
This is the kind of song that makes jaded single people like me believe in love again. “When you know you know.”
4. Taco Truck x VB
I feel like this song was written with me in mind. Not just because I’m annoyingly main character, but because it hits every hallmark of the Lana sounds I love. The Ultraviolence-y Taco Truck is all guitar and woozy attitude, it feels like a song I’m going to be blasting for the rest of my life. And that’s before we flip to the latter half, the outdo of the album – a trap reworking of Venice Bitch – her 2018 single, the highlight of Norman fucking Rockwell and, in my opinion, the best Lana song of all time.
There’s an epicness to Venice Bitch that makes it feel like a closer to a record, and giving it a second life here to finish up her best album since Norman Fucking Rockwell is absolutely sensational. Euphoric. Listening to a new album and having a finale you can sing out loud to like a familiar hug is so special.
3. The Grants
The Grants, and the whole record, starts with a beautiful mistake. Lana’s backing singers make an error and then correct themselves – and she shoved it at the start of the record. It’s a very human and honest way to start an album – and one that throws you off with its unexpectedness and then makes you feel comfortable. Ocean Blvd often sounds like you’re with Lana in the studio as she pours her heart into these songs.
The Grants is a reflection on those who’ve came before – your family’s legacy and everything that means as we go through our lives It’s just beautiful. She chose the singles for this album perfectly. Ranking this as one of the most gorgeous Lana Del Rey songs ever, not just out of Ocean Blvd.
2. Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd?
The lead single. The title track. The centrepiece of the record.
An instant classic as soon as I heard it. From her little exhale in the opening seconds, you just know you’re in for something special. How it took until album nine to get a chorus with the lyrics “Open me up, tell me you like it, fuck me to death, love me until I love myself” I’ll never know.
When the huge backing vocals come in it’s literally over for everyone. A 10/10 stone cold masterpiece. “When’s it gonna be my turn?”
I mean this with the highest level of respect, but A&W listens kind of like if Lana Del Rey decided she wanted to do her own version of The Saturdays Megamix. By that I mean its seven minute runtime plays out like you’re listening to a CliffsNotes brief of the entire history of Lana Del Rey, and I am ranking it at the top of Ocean Blvd as an album because it’s a celebration of everything that makes Lana Del Rey special to me. It celebrates the past, the present and pushes her career into somewhere new.
Both halves celebrate everything I love about Lana’s music. I love that Jack Antonoff said it’s his favourite song he and Lana have ever made together – one listen of this and I knew it would be one of mine too. Instant classic. What an artist, what an album.
Disagree with the ranking of every song on Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd by Lana Del Rey? DM me below for heated Del Rey debate.
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