Lana Del Rey is edging ever closer to the release of her ninth studio album Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd, sharing its latest single with the release of the sprawlingly enigmatic “A&W.” The last few years have seen her engaging a fit of prolific creation as she’s released back-to-back albums, beginning with Chemtrails Over the Country Club and followed by Blue Bannisters. Each subsequent album has seen an evolution in the sardonic singer/songwriter as she injects a zeitgeist’s worth of material into her ever more ambitious compositions.
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“A&W” stands as the flashpoint of that growth — a seven-minute track that opens in a quintessential manner for Del Rey. The dreary echo of piano keys is caressed by lilting acoustic tones and textures that swell alongside her resonantly warm vocals. Encased in her dutiful melancholy she continues the arduous act of demystifying and collapsing the varying myths of Americana her early music was once made so glamorously rapt by.
“It’s not about having someone to love me anymorе,” she coos dryly. “This is the experience of being an American whore.” Across the first half of the track, Del Rey traverses unflinchingly a landscape of dark moments that have attached themselves to her sexuality. From the shock of being found a “side piece at thirty-three” to sexual violence (“If I told you that I was raped, do you really think that anybody would think I didn’t ask for it, didn’t ask for it? / Didn’t testify, already fucked up my story”).
But about halfway through the track producer Jack Antonoff gives one of his unique switch-ups as the song breaks down into groovy chastisement of a reoccurring character in Del Rey’s music: Jimmy. “Your mom called, I told her, you’re fucking up big time,” she sings to this man who seems to only love her when he wants to get high. A further dive into Del Rey’s attempts to both understand and underscore the finely abused line between love and unhealthy dependencies.
See Lana Del Rey at the Youtube Theater in Los Angeles on Mar. 1.
Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd arrives on Mar. 24, pre-order it here.
Visit Lana Del Rey on their website to stay updated on new releases and tour announcements.
Words: Steven Ward
Listen to “A&W” the new single from Lana Del Rey below!