Not long ago, Lana Del Rey released a video that mixed the three tracks off Ultraviolence, Shades of Cool and Brooklyn Baby. The latest track, Brooklyn Baby, is Lana’s latest offering, a slow jazzy jam with the same theme – undying love for the bad boy, only this time, he is in a band. After being slammed as being anti-feminist by her peers, Lana Del Rey’s latest offering is a play on classic Americana mixed with a dose of gender equality.
The singer first released a snippet of the track with a tweet about its release on June 8. Brooklyn Baby, first released in New Zealand, is the fourth offering from Lana and is just as slow and dark as the rest. The track begins with a Lana classic musical cue – her love for older men – a regular theme. Cola, Paris, Off To The Races, Lolita and so many other songs talk about that, but Brooklyn Baby is trying to answer why Lana loves older men. Ride, Tropico, and West Coast visually paint Lana with older men, but this track is the first time Lana tries to voice what most of us want to hear.
The six-minute track, begins with references to why people judge her and the men she loves. With lyrics like I don’t know what I need, Lana references Marilyn Monroe, another classic American figure, a person who struggled with getting her peers to take her seriously. Elvis Presley, the King of the 70s also is subtly mentioned with Freedomland, a popular entertainment center in that decade. Contrasting natures intertwine like the yin and yang in their relationship, while she refers to the 70s and poetry written on drugs.
True to her claims of producing an “unlistenable” album, the refrain I’m free melds into the chorus of the track. The chorus is typically Lana’s domain, drums and guitars with her voice layered on it. Singing about her boyfriend who is in a band, after all her real-life boyfriend Barrie-James O’Neill, was with Kassidy, Lou Reed finds his first mention in the track. Poetry, feathers, jazz collections are mentioned too with the chorus ending in her cooing that she is a Brooklyn Baby. With her latest release Brooklyn Baby, Lana brings Lou Reed to life, just like she does Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe in most of her music.
Lana Del Rey and Marilyn Monroe share an intimate bond, the iconic actress is constantly referred to in most of her work. “They say I’m too dumb to see, they judge me like a picture book. By the colors, like they forgot to read,” Lana paraphrases the late Monroe, who noted the same in her diaries. Love, Marilyn, a documentary that focuses on the starlet’s life is a tell-all on the storms that raged in her mind. Lana then goes back to sing about how she and her man are chalk and cheese, an ode to the oddities of love and life. A refrain later the chorus comes back to haunt the listener with its new take on slow jazzy jams.
Just as we settle into the chorus Lana talks about generations and nations. Lana, like Lady Gaga, seems to identify with the past, the former in love with the 70s while the latter feels like an 80s pop star stuck in 2014. Although Lana has claimed that it is always difficult to love her man she goes on to sing the chorus mentioning hydroponic weed in the final rendition. Just like Lady Gaga’s G.U.Y., Brooklyn Baby, its indie equivalent advocates passive feminism. Most fans who know Lana for her vocal tricks on records, something she cannot replicate in her live shows, will find a male voice layered with her’s in the last chorus, presumably her boyfriend Barrie.
Lana Del Rey releases Brooklyn Baby with hopes that the track is appreciated for its indie music value. Fans of the polarizing star will find her collaborative effort with Barrie-James O’Neill interesting. This is the second effort for the pair who collaborated earlier on a cover of Summer Wine, a track Lee Hazelwood wrote but made popular by Nancy Sinatra. It is clear that Lana drew inspiration the West Coast and Brooklyn, but the rest of the album will reveal what the sultry voiced singer has in store.
Opinion by Rathan Paul Harshavardan