Lana Del Rey is back in all her glory on her latest album, Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd, a 16-track victory lap around a remarkable career apex that’s lasted for years and doesn’t seem to be coming to an end any time soon.
It’s been said before, but the March 24-released record is peak Lana: sprawling melodies, caustic lyrics perfumed with wilted roses and cigarette smoke, and most importantly, little regard for pop music’s rules. It’s her ninth studio album and third solo LP in two years — a feat she chose to create with seasoned collaborators Jack Antonoff, Mike Hermosa and Drew Erickson — unshakeable proof that while a generation of aspiring anti-pop stars may try to mimic her complexity, Del Rey will always be inimitable.
“Eleven years ago I wanted it to be so good,” this year’s Women in Music Visionary Award honoree told Billboard earlier this year. “Now, I just sing exactly what I’m thinking. I’m thinking a little less big and bombastic. Maybe at some point I can have fun creating a world again, but right now, I would say there’s no world building. This music is about thought processing. It’s very, very wordy. I’m definitely living from the neck up.”
She really wasn’t kidding when she said she’s leaning wordier than ever, by the way. The tracks on Ocean Blvd often stretch longer than five minutes, no trace of a filler lyric in sight, packed with vulnerable lamentations on family, legacy and duty, in addition to her usual noir musings on love and sex.
Keep reading to see Billboard‘s 10 favorite lyrics from Lana Del Rey’s new record below, in no particular order.
Lyric: “My pastor told me when you leave, all you take is your memory/ And I’m gonna take minе of you with me”
Why It’s So Great: Not only is this lyric just a simple, beautiful way of saying “I love you,” it’s also a sweet evolution of one of the lines in Lana’s 2013 Great Gatsby hit “Young and Beautiful”: “Dear Lord, when I get to heaven/ Please let me take my man.”
“The Grants,” however, isn’t just about romantic love — it’s about family, friends and lineage, something that makes the sentiment even more layered and meaningful. This Lana also sounds more self-assured than the 2013 version who begs and barters with God, this time staring her maker in the face without so much as a blink of fear.
"Did You Know That There's a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd"
Lyric: “I can’t help but feel somewhat like my body marred my soul/ Handmade beauty sealed up by two manmade walls”
Why It’s So Great: Lana’s ninth record may have earned some chuckles when its atypically lengthy name was first announced, but the title track really does pull together the entire album with one simple metaphor, explained by this lyric. It’s her, she’s the bridge under Ocean Blvd — tarnished by trauma, insecure spots in the overall structure, but standing strong nonetheless.
Lyric: “If you wanna go where nobody goes/ That’s where you’ll find me/ In the sweet north country”
Why It’s So Great: It’s an effortless reference to Bob Dylan’s “Girl from the North Country,” but it’s also a romantic, picturesque way for the singer-songwriter to take pride in who she really is: a beautifully misunderstood loner who won’t compromise herself for the basic trappings of a humdrum life. You either meet her where she’s at, or lose her for good.
Lyric: “Your mom called, I told her, you’re f–kin’ up big time”
Why It’s So Great: “A&W,” which stands, yes, for “American whore,” is one of Lana’s greatest feats of innovation, marked by two distinct halves. The grim, lyrical first section deteriorates into a devilish, hedonistic free-for-all, guided by this simple, repeating, wonderfully bratty lyric.
Lyric: “Find your astral body, put it into my arms/ Give you two seconds to cry/ Take you home, I’ll give you a blanket/ Your spirit can sit and watch TV by my side”
Why It’s So Great: This six-minute stream of consciousness touches on grief, family, heartbreak and trauma. There’s plenty of great lines, but the most beautiful one has to be this one. Lana brilliantly illustrates the pain of longing to simply sit next to a loved one who’s passed away by juxtaposing the spiritual with the ordinary.
"Grandfather Please Stand on the Shoulders of My Father While He’s Deep‐Sea Fishing"
Lyric: “I know they think that it took thousands of people/ To put me together again like an experiment/ Some big men behind the scenes/ Sewing Frankenstein black dreams into my songs/ But they’re wrong”
Why It’s So Great: She’s has spoken at length before about the criticisms she’s received since the very beginning of her career, many of which questioned her artistic authenticity and message. With this lyric, she asserts her power and influence with all the confidence she deserves.
Lyric: “I see in technicolor/ Maybe I’ll take my glasses off so I stop painting red flags green”
Why It’s So Great: The artist often plays with color in her songs — “You’re just a man … head in your hands as you color me blue” on Norman F–king Rockwell, for instance — this song being no exception. On “Fishtail,” she cleverly and calmly confronts her own tendency to romanticize people who don’t deserve it.
Lyric: “I can’t say I run when things get hard/ It’s just that I don’t trust myself with my heart/ But I’ve had to let it break a little more/ ‘Cause they say that’s what it’s for”
Why It’s So Great: This line — and most of the song, for that matter — serves as a beautiful, timeless little metaphor. Like cracked pottery, the breaks in her heart are what “let the light in” despite the pain they initially caused. (Kintsugi is the Japanese practice of repairing broken ceramics in a way that celebrates the flaws.)
Lyric: “Do you want children? Do you wanna marry me?/ Do you wanna run marathons in Long Beach by the sea?/ I’ve got things to do, like nothing at all/ I wanna do them with you/ Do you wanna do them with me?”
Why It’s So Great: This sentimental lyric echoes the heart-shatteringly simple line from Everything Everywhere All At Once: “In another life, I would have really liked just doing laundry and taxes with you.”
Lyric: “Did you know a singer can still be/ Looking like a sidepiece at 33?/ God’s a charlatan, don’t look back, babe”
Why It’s So Great: The greatest, most Lana-esque way ever of saying “I’m super hot.” Cheers.