Photo credit: Lana Del Rey
Release Date: 03/24/2023
Label: Interscope (USA), Polydor (UK)
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Lana Del Rey has released her eighth record Did you know there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd and we are… speechless. I have said before that Lana essentially releases expansion packs to her albums, and that is not a bad thing. I cannot think of another artist who was able to own a sound and carry it through, sonically, 8 records straight. That’s not to say there haven’t been some not-so-favorable spin-offs (looking at, Lust for Life), but overall this is a journey that I am excited I am able to witness.
The albums’ life started in quite an interesting way… through a singular billboard placed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, her ex-boyfriend’s hometown. I have never thought about it, but now I am upset I do not have a billboard fund to get back at all of my exes. But, what to follow was even greater. This record is the epitome of Lana Del Rey, it feels authentic and grounded. The Jack Antonoff produced album doesn’t feel like some of his other projects do.
If you’ve been a Lana fan since the beginning, you will feel right at home. Me? It took me a moment. I normally don’t like an artist until they release their “flop” record and everyone talks crap. I’m, admittedly, obnoxious. Once there was a lot of noise about how fans were not loving “Ultraviolence” I decided it was time to give it ago. 11 years later… here we are.
From the start, the album gives you what you wouldn’t expect, but in a Lana way. The Grants starting off like a ’60s duo getting ready for a live performance that bleeds into her now coined melancholy sound. As you get further into the record, you are introduced to sounds we haven’t heard since the original release of “Born to Die.” From the title track to the phenomenal single, A&W, this album feels more like a soundtrack than just an album.
The Judah Smith interlude is … incredible? The sermon on top of the beautiful music… It’s slightly terrifying. It reminds me of a scene from the Pascal Laugier horror film “The Tall Man.” It’s cinematic and again… not something many artists can do. The bleed into Candy Necklaces is something I wish I could listen to for hours, but it is so intense it requires a conscious listen. Candy Necklaces is one of my favorites, it screams “Honeymoon” but tighter, like she finally figured exactly what she was trying to do.
You’ve been actin’ pretty restless
Dancin’ like the young and restless
And I’m obsessed with it
Another favorite is Paris, Texas. There is a very, almost French feeling about this song. It transports you to a bright, sunny day. You’re with your partner, you’re shopping and everything is going exactly as you want it to. But like with any interesting person, you have a secret. You know that no one could fully understand so you keep it to yourself and live one life in front of everyone else, and one on your own.
When you know, you know
When you know, you know
It’s time, it’s time to go
There is another thing that Lana is doing that is, I don’t really know how to describe it. From the title track to Grandfather please stand on the shoulders of my father while he’s deep-sea fishing certainly could have been trimmed, but this fits her aesthetic. The artist is not just a musician, she is a poet. Her book of poems has been received quite well, if you don’t take her music for proof.
A clear standout is Peppers (feat. Tommy Genesis) — It takes me back to Off to the Races but grown up. Angelina Jolie would be proud, I assume. That intro hook? Like… It’s almost too good I fear. Her haunting verses give me Season of the Witch and that is one of the best things she could have done. Overall, this is absolutely one of the tracks that are going to take off.
Ending the album with Taco Truck x VB was brilliant. Venice Bitch was a clear favorite from the critically acclaimed Norman Fucking Rockwell and to throw back to that, in a dope + fresh way made me do a double take once I heard it. I don’t think I can say enough great things about this record, so before I go on… Let me wrap this up.
So, here we are. Over an hour later and I am very tempted to start the journey all over again. Stream the new album today.