Lana Del Rey’s album titles have typically proven to be thought-provoking—from 2014’s Ultraviolence to 2019’s cheeky (and Grammy nominated) Norman Fucking Rockwell! and 2021’s conspiracy-minded Chemtrails Over The Country Club. But her latest release may have the most complex meaning yet.
Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd, announced on December 7th and out March 10th via Interscope, asks a very specific question that indeed has an answer. The query is also the title of the first single, as well as the first line of that song. It’s a reference to the historical Jergins Tunnel, on Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach, California. Built in 1927, the tunnel connected the then-famous Jergins Trust Building with the beach. Closed to the public since 1967, the tunnel still exists today, spookily preserved in time—much like the abandoned subway stations of New York City.
Then-councilman Alexander Beck created the tunnel in 1927—which still exists—that went under Ocean and connected to the building. At the time, businesses existed in the tunnel selling goods to travelers on their way to the beach. It was built because, at its peak, Pine & Ocean was seeing some 4,000 people crossing the intersection per hour on the weekend—a number we could only hope for in a single day in 2018.
Del Rey posted a photo of the entrance to the tunnel to her @honeymoon Instagram stories:
The Long Beach Post writes that the tunnel was built to provide extra passage for the massive foot traffic the intersection of Pine and Ocean received at the time — with a staggering 4,000 people crossing the intersection per hour on the weekend.
On the album’s title track, Del Rey croons, “Did you know that there's a tunnel under Ocean Boulevard?/Mosaic ceilings, painted tiles on the wall/I can't help but feel somewhat like my body marred my soul/Handmade beauty sealed up by two man-made walls.” It seems that like the tunnel, she hopes not to be forgotten. Given that this marks Del Rey’s third album in under two years — each more critically acclaimed than many of her earlier, more misunderstood projects — it seems unlikely.
In her March W cover story, Del Rey told Alessandro Michele, “People often ask why I sing about California. But I usually sing about wherever I am.” Listen to “Did you know that there’s a tunnel under ocean blvd,” below: