Lana Del Rey is back, and she’s got Southern California on her mind once again.
The Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter dropped a new single on Wednesday, “Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd,” the title track from her ninth studio album, which she announced is due March 10.
A mournful, slow-rolling piano ballad lacquered with glossy old-Hollywood strings, the song appears to have been inspired by “a long-forgotten Art Deco pedestrian tunnel,” as The Times described it in 1992, that “lies beneath Ocean Boulevard at Pine Avenue” in Long Beach. According to The Times, the tunnel — which has a vaulted ceiling and runs 181 feet in length — was built in 1927 “so that beach-goers could avoid traffic-clogged streets.”
“Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Boulevard? / Mosaic ceilings, painted tiles on the wall,” Del Rey sings in her signature femme-fatale sigh, “I can’t help but feel somewhat like my body, mind, my soul / Hand-made beauty sealed up by two man-made walls.” She goes on to reference Camarillo, Harry Nilsson and “Hotel California” and pleads with someone to “f— me to death, love me until love myself.”
“Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd” is the follow-up to Del Rey’s pair of 2021 LPs, “Chemtrails Over the Country Club” and “Blue Banisters,” and will arrive almost four years after 2019’s critically adored “Norman F—ing Rockwell!,” which was thick with L.A. iconography related to Laurel Canyon, Long Beach, the Venice boardwalk and a bar where the Beach Boys used to go.
The new album was produced by Del Rey’s frequent collaborator Jack Antonoff, among others, and features contributions by Jon Batiste, Father John Misty and Antonoff’s band Bleachers. Earlier this year Del Rey released a cover of Father John Misty’s song “Buddy’s Rendezvous” and appeared on “Snow on the Beach,” a track from Taylor Swift’s “Midnights” album.