Lana Del Rey Disappoints Again
After 2019’s Norman Fucking Rockwell, Lana Del Rey’s music (and career) have been like a car coming down the last big hill on a roller coaster; downhill, fast, and with a sudden stop at the very bottom. Her two 2021 albums, Blue Bannister and Chemtrails over the Country Club, abandoned her signature trip hop beats for gimmicks, pretense, and tedium. I desperately hoped that her next album would right the ship and get her back in the flow. I’m sad (to the core) to say, that’s not what happened.
I knew there was trouble when I saw the long pretentious name of the album, Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd. Named after a song on the album, it’s so unwieldy that it’s prog rock level silly. Right from the start, she leads off with gimmicks such as the pseudo-live bobbling of the first track “The Grant”. I guess it’s supposed to make listeners feel as if they are hearing the track being made. It’s so contrived that it comes across disingenuous.
Things don’t get better after that. At her worst, Del Rey comes across like a Tori Amos tribute band trying to do their own originals that no one wants to hear. This is especially apparent on the song “A&W”. The rest of the time, the album is plain uninteresting. For the most part, the album lacks the soul sucking dullness of her previous two albums. It’s dull but not as bad as the previous levels of tedium.
The Lana Del Rey level sadness comes from the fact that there is none of her old intensity left anymore. I do think artists should evolve their art. It’s what they evolve into that matters. In this case, Lana Del Rey’s evolution is into a boring lounge singer who puts patrons to sleep before they can order a second drink.
Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd is not a terrible album like Blue Bannister or Chemtrails over the Country Club. It is, however, not exciting, interesting, or engaging. Lana Del Rey used to be better than this. I’m sorry to say, this is an album you just don’t need to listen to. If forced on you it won’t kill you, but it’s won’t make your life better in any way.