Lana Del Rey’s new album features a cameo from a controversial pastor – and fans have thoughts

Lana Del Rey (right) superimposed next to pastor Judah Smith, who appears on her album Did You Know That There's a Tunnel Under ocean Blvd on the track "Judah Smith Interlude".

Lana Del Rey’s highly-anticipated ninth studio album Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd features a bizarre interlude from a controversial pastor.

Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd was released on Friday (24 March) and although the album has received a positive reaction from fans and critics, the fifth track has caught many people off guard.

“Judah Smith Interlude”, which appears in between the previously released single “A&W” and the sixth track, “Candy Necklace”, is a four-and-a-half minute recording of a sermon from a US pastor with questionable views on LGBTQ+ people.

Although fans hailed “A&W” as a return to form for the singer, they’ve not had quite the same reaction to the bizarre musical interlude.

What does Judah Smith say on the interlude track?

The pastor speaking for the majority of the “Judah Smith Interlude” is, unsurprisingly, Judah Smith.

It appears as though the sermon was recorded on Del Rey’s phone or other device during a service, which is why she and friends can be heard giggling throughout.

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Throughout the four-and-a-half minute long track on the album, Smith covers a range of topics in a typical combination of paraphrased Bible verse and his own words.

Particularly spiky points made during the sermon include urging listeners not to live “a life dominated with lust” (“Quit lusting after your neighbour, that’s a heck of a life.”).

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He also claims God spoke to him the morning of the sermon, stating: “This is gonna sound crazy to you, but I’m gonna tell you the absolute truth. It’s gonna make me sound so superior to us all, I’m looking forward to it. I woke up this morning and God said, ‘Check the Bible’.”

A paraphrase of Psalm 8 is also included: “When I look up and I see such wonder and workmanship above… Compared to all this cosmic glory, why would you ever bother with puny, mortal men?”

Throughout the “Judah Smith Interlude”, Del Rey can be heard laughing and occasionally riffing from the phrases.

Who is Judah Smith?

Judah Smith has previously been criticised for leaning more into the role of an influencer than of a pastor, and has had his organisation branded a “celebrity megachurch“. He has over 700,000 Instagram followers and was also featured in Justin Bieber’s 2021 EP Freedom.

According to a 2005 article by Seattle Post-Intelligence, Smith reportedly said of homosexuality: “[It’s] a sin, the same as murder, rape, or living with your girlfriend.” Yet according to a Marie Claire profile, Smith would “welcome people regardless of their beliefs or background.”

Smith has previously called masturbation “a weapon to resist and fight the urge to sexually engage someone and start crossing lines that not only hurt you but hurt others,” as opposed to a perfectly normal thing to do.

Smith and his partner own ‘Churchome‘, an American ‘Church and home’ that “operates like a family,” according to its website. It identifies as non-denominational Christian.

How have fans reacted to Lana Del Rey’s “Judah Smith Interlude”?

The short answer is: not too well.

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Despite the majority of the album garnering a good reception, fans have branded the track an instant “skip”, although others joking that it had converted them to Christianity.

Aside from general reactions of confusion, many gay fans have shared their discomfort listening to the track. One fan even went so far as to say Smith’s sermon reminded them of a “conversion therapy cult leader“.

Another wrote: “You gotta be a whole other level of gay and religiously traumatised to sit through and enjoy all 4 and a half minutes of this shit.”

Lana Del Rey’s Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd is out now.

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