Lana Del Rey | Next Wave

Lana Del Rey Next Wave

Her greatest record yet.

It’s taken over ten years to get to this point, but this is arguably the record that it’s all been building to.

‘Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd’ is her most immersive and atmospheric work to date. It’s a crown jewel in her discography thus far, and one of the best records of 2023. Whilst the Americana aesthetic has always been a cornerstone of her work, it hasn’t ever really been expanded on.

‘Ocean Blvd’ has Lana showing her hand and delving deep to present a complex character study which meditates on family, heritage, god and intimacy which sees her finding meaning in the pain blatantly displayed on prior records. The result is something far more powerful and transcendent than anything previously heard.

The songwriting and production is stellar, but this has the layers and sophistication that many of her contemporaries lack. It’s extremely bold of Lana to be this vulnerable and open at this point in her career and in this much detail. The core body of songs here take an arc of family, god and love and works towards a wider notion of self-acceptance and actualisation. It’s spiritual music in a way as Lana herself has confirmed the album was largely recorded as apart of a natural process with some songs being written as they were recorded.

The choir elements of opener ‘The Grants’  sets the stage perfectly to balance the religious/familial elements, with the segue into the title track serving as the grand mission statement regarding the layers, secrets and emotions that’ll be revealed. ‘A&W’ sees the first leg of the record out with a seven minute, beat-switched hyper-sexualised exploration of the need for intimacy and the dark places this has taken Lana.

The second half reconciles these themes with an outstanding run of songs that find a deep sense of self in their exploration. The recurring light motifs come heavily into play with ‘Kintsugi’ (Japanese ceramic repair) and ‘Let The Light In’ (with FJM), which serves an illumination of the figurative darkness but also in a holier sense.

It rounds off the first half of the record which refines the cornerstone themes of Lana Del Rey to their most articulate and passionate they’ve been, but allows a sense of the ethereal to flow as everything comes together beautifully for ‘Fishtail’. Then the final two tracks serve as almost bonus material due to their conceptual distance, but they’re both fun nevertheless, and end things off on a lighter note.

Of course, we have to address the influence of Jack Antonoff as a key songwriter as we’d argue he’s largely responsible for guiding Lana in this key shift in her music as things have been of incredible quality since he stepped in on 2019’s ‘NFR!’. He also gives his feature on the record to a ballad for his fiancé ‘Margaret’, which makes for a gorgeous overlap between the Bleachers and LDR canon.

This is an immersive, beautiful, intimate and spiritual record that defines Lana Del Rey and cements her as one of the greatest American songwriters of our generation. A masterpiece and essential listening for all.

Available in the Store now alongside ‘Born to Die’ and ‘NFR!’.


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