“Judah Smith Interlude” by Lana Del Rey

This is one of two interludes to be found on “Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd”, the Lana Del Rey album that hit store shelves on 24 March 2023. And even though he is not credited as a featured artist per se, lyrically this track primarily consists of a sermon delivered by Judah Smith, who is indeed a professional pastor.


More specifically, he is one of the leaders of an institution known as Churchome which ranks amongst the most-popularity celebrity churches in America. Del Ray herself is known to have attended Churchome at least once, besides being sort of a Christian in general, but she isn’t the type of artist who is known to promote Christianity through song. 

In fact quite the contrary is truer, to the point Lana suffered backlash for featuring Smith so prominently on her album. And this is despite the fact that her vocalist contribution to the track consists of basically mocking what the Judah is saying.

Celebrity churches aren’t particularly known for being hardcore Christian to begin with. However, Smith has made a reputation for himself in part by not being afraid to voice his opinions, which includes the likes of being against homosexuality and abortion. 

Meanwhile, prominent Western musicians – and especially females like Lana Del Rey – are generally understood or known to espouse liberal ideologies which are often in opposition to established religious norms. So with all of that in mind, it’s understandable why some of her fans had adverse reactions to hearing this track.


That said, it isn’t as if the pastor touches upon any controversial topics in this excerpt. Popular religious leaders like Judah Smith, even if they do retain some old world views, aren’t particularly known to unwaveringly resort to the Bible themselves. 

And as such, what he’s putting forth is by and large ideological, reflecting Judah’s personal vision as to what it means to live a proper Christian life, complete with referencing his own thoughts and practices, such as making use of the “the [Churchome] Bible app”,  as an example for the congregation to follow.

Interestingly, the sermon eventually ends with the pastor proclaiming that whereas he “used to think (his) preaching was mostly about (God)”, now he has discovered that it’s rather “mostly about (himself)”. 

He makes this statement after seemingly comparing God to a music “artist”. And considering that such is the note upon which the track concludes, we have to presume that those particular musings, with Lana very much being a music artist herself, must be something that Del Ray relates to personally.

But ultimately, it can be argued that the “Judah Smith Interlude” is one of those types of pieces where the deeper you dive you, the more confused you’re likely to become. Or put more euphemistically, let’s say that what Pastor Smith is putting forth would be most appreciated by those who are into the likes of Churchome.

“‘I don’t understand what that means’
It means quit lusting after your neighbor
That’s a heck of a life
You get to love your children in front of you
You get to love, you have to talk to somebody”

But to note, earlier on he does ruminate on what it means to be a loving family man. This includes not only having an appreciation for your wife and kids but also your friends and city. Furthermore he espouses doing away with lust, which appears to be just about the only thing Judah puts forth that is readily verifiable through Biblical canon. 

And it may be that another reason Lana was attracted to this sermon is because a recurring subtheme in her romantic songs tends to be lack of commitment on the part of men.

And to reiterate, as for her own contributions to “Judah Smith Interlude”, Del Ray plays the role of a listener who is obviously skeptical of what the pastor is saying. But considering that Lana gave him over four minutes of airtime on her album, you have to believe that she finds some unspecified value or validity to what he is saying.

In other words, it’s not particular clear what type of message this track is meant to convey within the context of the entire album. Maybe it’s just Lana’s way of showing Judah love without coming off as being too religious and risking further alienating certain segments of her fanbase. 

And thus far, this is the only track from “Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd” we’ve come across that can be deemed overtly Christian. So it remains to be seen how this all will develop, if maybe Del Rey is leaning towards immersing herself in the religious circuit as her career forges on.


This track was produced by Lana Del Rey and Jack Antonoff, with the latter playing the instruments found therein. And the two of them are also credited as the writers of Judah Smith Interlude alongside the titular pastor himself.

Meanwhile this track, as well as the others found on the album, is a product of Polydor Records in conjunction Interscope Records.

“It’s amazing how Lana has been able to convey her personal connection to religion through ‘Judah Smith Interlude’. Even though I am not religious and I don’t attend any church, it’s fascinating how deeply the preaching touched me, leaving me feeling thoughtful.

This just goes to show that we can all find common ground in our shared beliefs and values, regardless of our individual paths.”

– Kojo Enoch

1 Response

  1. Tom says:

    Made me think De Ray is like Marina Del Rey in LA , and since i KNOW there IS a tunnel UNDER Ocean Blvd because Ive seen it and driven over it while in Long Beach.

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