“Tulsa Jesus Freak” by Lana Del Rey

A “Jesus freak” is a term made even more famous by Denzel Washington’s 2001 masterpiece “Training Day”. And what it points to is someone who is overzealous in his or her adherence to Christianity. And apparently such is the case with the guy who Lana Del Rey is addressing in “Tulsa Jesus Freak”, who also happens to be her romantic interest. 

Moreover based on the title, we can presume that he is from or is somehow associated with the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma. And the way the situation reads is that his sexual relationship with the singer is testing or going against his religious convictions.

So the first verse centers on Lana entreating him ‘not be afraid of their love’ and accordingly coming to spend the night with her. The second verse is sort of the same, only this time around she rather wants to come and visit him. 

In fact she “had to get away for a while”, probably because her relationship with such a conflicted individual was testing her own patience. But at the end of the day, this is someone she is feeling, and it is apparent that it is him and no other whom she prefers in her bed.

Addressee appears to be a Hypocrite

And yes, the addressee is in fact a conflicted individual, as least as implied by the chorus. For it is in the said passage that it is alluded to, twice, that dude may have a strong affinity for alcohol. Now partaking of alcohol in and of itself isn’t necessarily against the Biblical teachings. But ideologically speaking, someone like a “Jesus freak” would definitely have issues with such a practice.

Also there is the fact that he is engaged in a sexual relationship with the singer in the first place. For as you likely already know, premarital sex is in fact frowned upon by hardcore Christians. 

But it isn’t like Lana is trying to make him forsake his beliefs. Rather it’s more like she has her own belief system – or needs if you will. Or put alternatively, she kinda views her lover as a hypocrite. And why?

On one hand, he is indeed a “Jesus freak”. But on the other, ‘God knows that they’re white hot forever’. And that latter statement can be deemed as alluding to the idea that they are in fact in love, and giving in to the related amorous feelings is akin to heeding nature’s call. 

The vocalist on the other hand doesn’t feel that God sees anything wrong with their relationship since it is, under her estimation, true love. But concerning the addressee’s hypocrisy he is caught in the middle, on one hand adhering to what he, as a “Jesus freak”, deems righteous and on the other being subject to his afore-referenced animal instincts.

So conclusively, it seems what the singer is desiring for her man to be just as committed to her as he is to his religion. Or stated more plainly, his “Jesus freak” ways, from her perspective, are negatively affecting their relationship.

Lyrics of "Tulsa Jesus Freak"

Release of “Tulsa Jesus Freak”

This is a song which Lana Del Rey first teased on 7 August 2020. Indeed fans had known about her “Chemtrails Over the Country Club” project (which this track ultimately came out as part of) for a while before it was actually released. But it wasn’t until the entirety of it came out via Interscope Records and Polydor Records on 19 March 2021 that “Tulsa Jesus Freak” was also made public in whole.

Originally, the working title “Chemtrails Over the Country Club” was “White Hot Forever”. And as noted earlier, that is a phrase that is featured prominently in “Tulsa Jesus Freak”, especially in the post-chorus.

Tulsa Jesus Freak

Writing and Production of “Tulsa Jesus Freak”

Lana Del Rey wrote this song with Jack Antonoff, her steady music-composition partner. And it is Antonoff who also produced the track.

Is Lana Del Rey a Religious Person?

As far as Lana’s own religious leanings go, she was raised as a Roman Catholic. In fact according to Newsday, “she often cites Jesus in her music”. Moreover her true musical beginnings, as with many a pop musician, dates back to Del Rey singing in a church choir in her youth. 

However, also like many pop musicians, in her adulthood she is hesitant to subscribe to one religion or the other. But that being said, the songstress is reportedly a strong believer in God nonetheless. 

Or as the songstress put it, she understand God through ‘her own personal experiences’. And what her personal experiences entail is escaping “trouble so many times in New York” that if you were Lana, “you would believe in God too”.

3 Responses

  1. Volume says:

    “A ‘Jesus freak’ is a term made famous by Denzel Washington’s 2001 masterpiece ‘Training Day’. ”

    The first sentence is factually wrong. “Jesus freak” is a term that rose out of the 1960s counterculture and has been in common usage since.

    • SMF says:

      If you read carefully, you’d notice that the writer used the phrase: “made even more famous”. The writer never said it originated from the said film.

      • Tracy H says:

        Volume’s point is that the expression was “famous” long before 2001, and she or he is correct. The Jesus freaks of the 60s grew up to either get over it or become the current crop of ageing evangelicals. They often started communes and preached on the street. Bernie Taupin references them in Tiny Dancer, written in 1972. Young people often think that history didn’t begin until they were around to witness it.

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