Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd?

Lana wants to feel the validation she has never gotten. A “she is the moment” kind of feeling.

Neil Krug

Lana wants to feel the validation she has never gotten. A “she is the moment” kind of feeling.

Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd.? Well, I didn’t, and I’m from California. Lana Del Rey’s new single dropped last Wednesday, announcing a new album coming in March 2023. Luckily for me, I was out sick (so not really lucky), so I got to hear it the second it dropped.

“Mosaic ceilings, painted tiles on the wall” (Courtesy of the Los Angeles County Public Library)

The song draws imagery from the Jergins Tunnel, under, yes Ocean Blvd. (who told you?) The tunnel, located in Long Beach, CA, was opened in 1928 but closed permanently to the public in 1967. The line: “Mosaic ceilings, painted tiles on the wall.” alludes to the beautiful imagery of the tunnel which does have mosaic ceilings and painted tiles. The singer also references the closure of the bridge with:

“Handmade beauty, sealed up by two man-made walls.” The beautiful tunnel, under the well-known Ocean Blvd, remains unknown to a majority of the public. Lana (in my opinion) compares her music and her career to the tunnel. Although having a large fan base and technically being in the music industry, she feels overlooked and is frustrated by this fact. She continues with the chorus of the song: “When’s it gonna be my turn? When’s it gonna be my turn? Open me up, tell me you like it F— me to death, love me until I love myself.”

In these lines she’s frustrated. She’s crying out for help. She’s waiting for her big break for when she’s number one; her 15 minutes of fame. She feels that over the years she’s worked in the industry, she’s never been that number one big artist like others in her industry. She’s respected by many and has great success like many of them, but she hasn’t quite been adored and fanned over like the others. She wants it to be “her turn” when the world and the industry praise her for her lyrics and when they tell her they “like it.” She wants to feel the validation she has never gotten. A “she is the moment” kind of feeling.

She continues the song with “There’s a girl that sings Hotel California, ​​Not because she loves the notes or sounds that sound like Florida, It’s because she’s in a world preserved, only a few have found the door,” referencing The Eagles’ Hotel California. American Songwriter offers an interpretation of the song: “The same narrative arc found in The Magus, going from sincere idealism and earnest curiosity to a sense of darkness and despondence, runs parallel to so much. Like coming of age and the loss of innocence. Or the sparkling allure of the golden age of California’s dashing but dangerous lifestyle of cash and drugs. Or the energetically revolutionary but eventually fleeting spirit of the 1960s. And maybe even the entire American experience. You start with nothing. It all looks so good! Then you get everything. And you get crushed under the weight of everything’s excess. What was it all for to begin with?  So ‘Hotel California’ is a sort of broad allegory for rising and falling?”

Lana’s stuck in a world that she had dreamt of for so long, yet she feels she cannot find the root of it– that she is still chasing it. She keeps coming back to the industry, hoping that it will finally praise her for her songs and lyricism and be the biggest Pop Star in the world, but she keeps coming to the door and leaving in desperation.

Lana finally cries out: “When’s it gonna be my turn? Don’t forget me, When’s it gonna be my turn?” To be remembered with a legacy means you made it in Hollywood. She wants to make it; to feel she has made it. 

“Harry Nilsson has a song, his voice breaks at 2:05” is indeed true. She follows it with “Something about the way he says, ‘Don’t forget me.’” She relates to Harry Nilsson. “Makes me feel like, I just wish I had a friend like him, someone to give me fire, Leaning in my back, whispering in my ear, ‘Come on, baby, you can thrive’ But I can’t.” Lana’s frustration and heartache truly come out through these lines. She wants someone she can relate to. To feel how she feels the music industry has dejected her. She’s flown to the horizon, but she feels she can never reach the end. 

She begins to end the song with a repetition of: “Don’t forget me Like the tunnel under Ocean Boulevard.” She uses the tunnel once again as a metaphor. Ocean Blvd is like the music industry, famous and known by many. The tunnel is there too; however, no one seems to remember it even though it has beautiful mosaic tiles and walls. She doesn’t want her music, beautiful and deserving to be seen, to be forgotten like the tunnel under Ocean Blvd like so many artists before her. 

Dear Lana Del Rey: I will remember you…

For her lyricism, her creation of the aesthetic, and her impact on modern-day pop in a way of making it sad, but yet beautiful- a bittersweet tragedy. Lana Del Rey’s music and lyricism are more than just notes and words in songs, it’s her expression through art. I hope Lana gets the satisfaction she desires as modern-day music wouldn’t be the same without her, and the imagery behind her work is masterful. Her work deserves to be remembered and loved, for the art. 

by Abbie Lindblad ’24, Arts and Entertainment Editor and Managing Copy Editor