Lana Del Rey’s “Ocean Blvd” Shows Moments of Brilliance, But It Overstays Its Welcome

Lana Del Rey at the Billboard Women in Music Awards in March 2023
Lana Del Rey at the Billboard Women in Music Awards in March 2023. Photo by Chelsea Lauren/Shutterstock (13787358na)

Lana Del Rey established herself as one of the great songwriters of the 21st century over the course of the last decade, and she’s showing no signs of stopping. Her latest album Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd is finally here, but how does it rank in comparison to the rest of her discography?

Ocean Blvd opens on a safe note, with several songs we’ve already got to hear before.  “The Grants” serves as its opener and it’s followed by “Ocean Blvd”, “Sweet”, and “A&W”. Four of these songs were previously released as singles, and this turns out to be a good choice on Del Rey’s side since they happen to be some of its best tracks.

The singer’s vocals are as good as ever, and the lyrics often serve as an ode to the singer’s family, with “The Grants” and “Grandfather Please Stand on the Shoulders of My Father While He’s Deep-Sea Fishing” being the most notable examples.

Two interludes feel a little bit unnecessary, but we appreciate other collaborations on this record. In addition to bringing Jack Antonoff back on board as the album’s producer, Del Rey joined forces with Jon Batiste and Father John Misty, but “Paris, Texas” featuring SYML is definitely one of its standout collaborations.

The breaks between Del Rey’s albums have always been short, and it seems she hasn’t caught a break in recent years. That’s turning out to be a problem because she’s rolling out so much new music that it doesn’t seem like she’s even filtering through new material.

This is the biggest problem with Ocean Blvd, her longest—but far from strongest—album to date. Despite showing moments of poetic brilliance, with a runtime of almost 80 minutes, this record overstays its welcome and it feels more like a placeholder than a magnum opus in the singer’s discography.

Our Rating: 3/5