Lana Del Rey’s “Ocean Blvd” exceeds expectations



One week after its release, “Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd” reached the number three spot on the Billboard 200 chart.

Bianca Dishmon, Reporter

At 11 p.m. on Thursday, March 24, 2023, I sat on my bed, prepared to spend the next hour and 17 minutes listening to Lana Del Rey’s newest album. However, what I was not prepared for was how dramatically the album would exceed my expectations. 

I’ve been a dedicated Lana Del Rey fan for about three years now, so in the weeks leading up to the release of “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd,” I had been counting down days, stalking numerous Instagram and TikTok pages and forming my own opinions on what the album would sound like. More importantly, I wondered how it would compare to Del Rey’s two most recent albums: “Chemtrails Over the Country Club” and “Blue Banisters.” 

While I adored the two preceding albums, there is something special about “Ocean Blvd” that makes it stand out when compared to all of the others. To me, “Ocean Blvd” has been a culmination of all of Del Rey’s previous albums, creating a truly unique sound and acaptivating listening experience. Since the album’s release, I have found it near impossible to listen to anything else, and I play the album on a constant loop everywhere I go. 

Something I truly admire about “Ocean Blvd” is how vulnerable and emotionally raw it is. While Del Rey has never been one to shy away from vulnerability, “Ocean Blvd” allows us listeners to further explore Del Rey’s personal life. 

For example, the extensively named “Grandfather please stand on the shoulders of my father while he’s deep-sea fishing” as well as “The Grants” explore Del Rey’s relationship with her siblings, father and grandparents. Similarly, “Fingertips” explores both Del Rey’s familial relationships as well as her own childhood experiences. 

Being allowed to gain further insight into Del Rey’s life throughout this album in particular was an integral part to the album’s story and makes the listening experience that much more remarkable. 

Another aspect of “Ocean Blvd” that makes it stand out from its predecessors is the number of featured artists. 

In the past, Del Rey has collaborated with artists such as The Weeknd, A$AP Rocky and Stevie Nicks. However, the last time Del Rey had a collaboration-heavy album was in 2017 on “Lust for Life.” 

When I learned there would be five collaborators on “Ocean Blvd,” I was pleasantly surprised, even more so after finally getting to hear them.  

For me, the most notable collaboration on the album was “Let the Light In,” featuring Father John Misty. In the summer of 2022, Del Rey released her first collaboration with Father John Misty on “Buddy’s Rendezvous,” which quickly became one of my all-time favorite Lana songs. “Let The Light In” is my favorite song on the album. Other features from artists like Grammy-winner Jon Batiste and American band, Bleachers, spearheaded by Grammy-winner and frequent Del Rey collaborator Jack Antonoff blew my expectations out of the water. The features on the album played an integral role in continuing the story introduced by Del Rey. 

While I believe “Ocean Blvd” to be a top three Lana Del Rey album out of her nine, it fell short with “Judah Smith Interlude.” 

“Judah Smith Interlude,”which consisted of a four and a half minute excerpt of a sermon given by Churchome Pastor Judah Smith, unnecessarily interrupted the listening experience and ultimately served no purpose to the greater vision of the album in my eyes. 

Even with an interlude’s presence in one song, the album’s calming yet powerful features and its vulnerability made it one of my favorites. Seeing as Del Rey is returning to performing this summer, it is my biggest wish that some of these “Ocean Blvd” songs make it on her setlist, and that I might even be able to see them live.