The singer’s ninth album features and intriguing mix of songs – but it feels by the end that it comes across as too long.

Lana Del Rey is certainly a singer whose music we have to come to expect the unexpected – it never feels as though it conforms to a particular genre and is extremely fluid and easy to listen to.

Her distinctiveness is something that is once again on display throughout ‘Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd’ – a collection of songs which seem to be deep and meaningful, while telling very different stories. Yes, many of the tracks such as ;The Grants’ the album titled track come across as very sombre, but equally there is a bittersweet feeling to them as well which makes them intriguing to listen to.

The way in which she is able to use her voice so effectively to capture attention, as heard on highlight tracks such as ‘Sweet’ and ‘Candy Necklace’ – both of which have beautiful melodies that are really hypnotic to listen to – reveals a singer who is constantly re-evaluating herself through her music, making it come across as a deeply personal album. On the other side of this, each song feels as though they have been naturally conceived – there is nothing forced about them, giving the album a beautiful fluidity to it.

However, this being said there are a couple of moments in which the album becomes heavier in atmosphere and weigh it down unnecessarily. The ‘Jon Batiste Interlude’ and ‘Judah Smith Interlude’ while break the album up effectively, feel oddly placed in the wider context of the record overall, particularly in contrast with the delicate nature of other tracks included. It also has to be said that by the end, you can’t help but wonder if it is slightly self-indulgent, given the length of a number of songs. Yes it is wonderful to hear Del Rey being extremely open emotionally but equally, some of the songs could have been tightened up slightly to make more of an impact.

This aside, there is still a wonderful sense of understated drama that weaves its way through the record. Songs such as ‘Paris,Texas’ has a poetic charm about it, while ‘A & W’ has an element of darkness to it that makes it intriguing to listen to. You never exactly know where the stories that emerge through the songs are going to end up. All of the lyrics are direct in a way that makes the listener really sit up and pay attention.

This was never going to be an album that was creating something that people can sing along to, it is much deeper than that and takes listeners on an emotional journey. ‘Kintsugi’ and ‘Fingertips’ are two prime examples of how each song jumps from topic to topic effortlessly and blended together to take listeners on this journey in a powerful way.

As an album it is impressively ambitious and raw emotionally. It has plenty to intrigue throughout – even if by the end the length of the album is slightly overwhelming.

By Emma Clarendon

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


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